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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555-0655, USA
Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA
Departments of Pediatrics and Microbiology & Immunology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555-0366, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 June 2010; in revised form: 9 August 2010 / Accepted: 12 August 2010 / Published: 18 August 2010
Abstract: Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a Gram positive bacterium that is carried by about one third of the general population and is responsible for common and serious diseases. These diseases include food poisoning and toxic shock syndrome, which are caused by exotoxins produced by S. aureus. Of the more than 20 Staphylococcal enterotoxins, SEA and SEB are the best characterized and are also regarded as superantigens because of their ability to bind to class II MHC molecules on antigen presenting cells and stimulate large populations of T cells that share variable regions on the b chain of the T cell receptor. The result of this massive T cell activation is a cytokine bolus leading to an acute toxic shock. These proteins are highly resistant to denaturation, which allows them to remain intact in contaminated food and trigger disease outbreaks. A recognized problem is the emergence of multi-drug resistant strains of S. aureus and these are a concern in the clinical setting as they are a common cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhea in hospitalized patients. In this review, we provide an overview of the current understanding of these proteins.
Keywords: Staphylococcus aureus; enterotoxins; superantigens; class II MHC; food-borne poisoning
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Pinchuk, I.V.; Beswick, E.J.; Reyes, V.E. Staphylococcal Enterotoxins. Toxins 2010, 2, 2177-2197.
Pinchuk IV, Beswick EJ, Reyes VE. Staphylococcal Enterotoxins. Toxins. 2010; 2(8):2177-2197.
Pinchuk, Irina V.; Beswick, Ellen J.; Reyes, Victor E. 2010. "Staphylococcal Enterotoxins." Toxins 2, no. 8: 2177-2197.