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AB Toxins: A Paradigm Switch from Deadly to Desirable

Author(s): Oludare Odumosu | Dequina Nicholas | Hiroshi Yano | William Langridge

Journal: Toxins
ISSN 2072-6651

Volume: 2;
Issue: 7;
Start page: 1612;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: enterotoxins | adjuvants | AB toxins | immunomodulation | ricin | plants | vaccines

To ensure their survival, a number of bacterial and plant species have evolved a common strategy to capture energy from other biological systems. Being imperfect pathogens, organisms synthesizing multi-subunit AB toxins are responsible for the mortality of millions of people and animals annually. Vaccination against these organisms and their toxins has proved rather ineffective in providing long-term protection from disease. In response to the debilitating effects of AB toxins on epithelial cells of the digestive mucosa, mechanisms underlying toxin immunomodulation of immune responses have become the focus of increasing experimentation. The results of these studies reveal that AB toxins may have a beneficial application as adjuvants for the enhancement of immune protection against infection and autoimmunity. Here, we examine similarities and differences in the structure and function of bacterial and plant AB toxins that underlie their toxicity and their exceptional properties as immunomodulators for stimulating immune responses against infectious disease and for immune suppression of organ-specific autoimmunity.
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