Unraveling the structures and modes of action of bacterial toxins

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 1998 Dec;8(6):778-84. doi: 10.1016/s0959-440x(98)80098-5.


The mechanism by which a soluble protein converts into a protein that spans a membrane remains a central question in understanding the molecular mechanism of toxicity of bacterial protein toxins. Using crystallographic structures of soluble toxins as templates, the past year has seen a number of experiments that are designed to probe the membrane state using other structural methods. In addition, crystallographic information concerning the clostridial neurotoxins has emerged, suggesting a novel mechanism of pore formation and new relationships between toxin binding domains.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Toxins / chemistry*
  • Bacterial Toxins / metabolism
  • Bacterial Toxins / pharmacology*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface