Protein toxins: intracellular trafficking for targeted therapy

Gene Ther. 2005 Sep;12(18):1360-8. doi: 10.1038/


The immunotoxin approach is based on the use of tumor-targeting ligands or antibodies that are linked to the catalytic (toxic) moieties of bacterial or plant protein toxins. In this review, we first discuss the current state of clinical development of immunotoxin approaches describing the results obtained with the two toxins most frequently used: diphtheria and Pseudomonas toxin-derived proteins. In the second part of the review, a novel concept will be presented in which the roles are inverted: nontoxic receptor-binding toxin moieties are used for the targeting of therapeutic and diagnostic compounds to cancer or immune cells. The cell biological basis of these novel types of toxin-based therapeutics will be discussed, and we will summarize ongoing preclinical and clinical testing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Immunotoxins / administration & dosage*
  • Immunotoxins / genetics
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Protein Subunits / genetics
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism
  • Protein Transport
  • Shiga Toxin 2 / genetics
  • Shiga Toxin 2 / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology


  • Immunotoxins
  • Protein Subunits
  • Shiga Toxin 2
  • shiga toxin 2 B subunit