Pertussis toxin and adenylate cyclase toxin: key virulence factors of Bordetella pertussis and cell biology tools

Future Microbiol. 2010 Mar;5(3):455-69. doi: 10.2217/fmb.09.133.


Pertussis toxin and adenylate cyclase toxin are two important virulence factors of Bordetella pertussis, the bacterial cause of the respiratory disease pertussis or whooping cough. In addition to studies on the structure, function and role in pathogenesis of these two toxins, they are both used as cell biology tools for a variety of applications owing to their ability to enter mammalian cells, perform enzymatic activities and modify cell signaling events. In this article, recent data from the research literature that enhance our understanding of the nature of these two toxins, their role in the pathogenesis of B. pertussis infection and disease, particularly in modulating host immune responses, and their use as tools for other areas of research will be outlined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenylate Cyclase Toxin / toxicity*
  • Bordetella pertussis / pathogenicity*
  • Cytological Techniques / methods*
  • Humans
  • Pertussis Toxin / toxicity*
  • Virulence Factors, Bordetella / toxicity*


  • Adenylate Cyclase Toxin
  • Virulence Factors, Bordetella
  • Pertussis Toxin