Toxin-antitoxin pairs in bacteria: killers or stress regulators?

Cell. 2003 Jan 10;112(1):2-4. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(02)01282-5.


Plasmid toxin-antitoxin systems, which kill daughter cells that fail to inherit the plasmid genome, have chromosomal homologs in eubacteria and archaea. In this issue of Cell, Pederson et al. show that the E. coli RelE toxin cleaves mRNA in the ribosomal A site, potentially allowing it to function as a stress regulator during amino acid starvation.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Antitoxins / genetics*
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacterial Toxins / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Genes, Bacterial*
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Operon
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Ribosomes / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Antitoxins
  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RelE protein, E coli