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Molecules 2016, 21(6), 790; doi:10.3390/molecules21060790

Emerging Roles of Toxin-Antitoxin Modules in Bacterial Pathogenesis

1
Department of Molecular Biology, University of Gdańsk, Wita Stwosza 59, Gdańsk 80-308, Poland
2
Faculty of Life Sciences, The University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Mary Fletcher
Received: 3 May 2016 / Revised: 6 June 2016 / Accepted: 13 June 2016 / Published: 17 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Toxins)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1547 KB, uploaded 17 June 2016]   |  

Abstract

Toxin-antitoxin (TA) cassettes are encoded widely by bacteria. The modules typically comprise a protein toxin and protein or RNA antitoxin that sequesters the toxin factor. Toxin activation in response to environmental cues or other stresses promotes a dampening of metabolism, most notably protein translation, which permits survival until conditions improve. Emerging evidence also implicates TAs in bacterial pathogenicity. Bacterial persistence involves entry into a transient semi-dormant state in which cells survive unfavorable conditions including killing by antibiotics, which is a significant clinical problem. TA complexes play a fundamental role in inducing persistence by downregulating cellular metabolism. Bacterial biofilms are important in numerous chronic inflammatory and infectious diseases and cause serious therapeutic problems due to their multidrug tolerance and resistance to host immune system actions. Multiple TAs influence biofilm formation through a network of interactions with other factors that mediate biofilm production and maintenance. Moreover, in view of their emerging contributions to bacterial virulence, TAs are potential targets for novel prophylactic and therapeutic approaches that are required urgently in an era of expanding antibiotic resistance. This review summarizes the emerging evidence that implicates TAs in the virulence profiles of a diverse range of key bacterial pathogens that trigger serious human disease. View Full-Text
Keywords: toxin-antitoxin complexes; biofilm formation; persistence; pathogenesis; virulence; antibiotic resistance toxin-antitoxin complexes; biofilm formation; persistence; pathogenesis; virulence; antibiotic resistance
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Kędzierska, B.; Hayes, F. Emerging Roles of Toxin-Antitoxin Modules in Bacterial Pathogenesis. Molecules 2016, 21, 790.

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