Role of Mannheimia haemolytica leukotoxin in the pathogenesis of bovine pneumonic pasteurellosis

Anim Health Res Rev. 2002 Dec;3(2):69-82. doi: 10.1079/ahrr200242.


Bovine pneumonic pasteurellosis continues to be a major respiratory disease in feedlot cattle despite the recent advances in our understanding of the underlying complexities of causation. The etiological agent, Mannheimia haemolytica, possesses several virulence factors, including capsule, outer membrane proteins, adhesins, neuraminidase, endotoxin and exotoxic leukotoxin. Accumulating scientific evidence implicates leukotoxin as the primary factor contributing to clinical presentation and lung injury associated with this disease. Unlike other virulence factors, leukotoxin shows cell-type- and species-specific effects on bovine leukocytes. Recent investigations have delineated the mechanisms underlying the target-cell-specificity of leukotoxin and how this contributes to the pathogenesis of lung damage. This review summarizes current understanding of the secretion, regulation, mechanisms of action and evolutionary diversity of leukotoxin of M. haemolytica. Understanding the precise molecular mechanisms of leukotoxin is critical for the development of more effective prophylactic and therapeutic strategies to control this complex disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Exotoxins / biosynthesis
  • Exotoxins / chemistry
  • Exotoxins / genetics
  • Exotoxins / physiology*
  • Leukocytes / microbiology*
  • Mannheimia haemolytica / genetics
  • Mannheimia haemolytica / pathogenicity*
  • Pasteurellosis, Pneumonic / etiology*
  • Pasteurellosis, Pneumonic / immunology
  • Pasteurellosis, Pneumonic / microbiology
  • Species Specificity
  • Virulence


  • Exotoxins
  • leukotoxin