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Toxins 2011, 3(3), 172-190; doi:10.3390/toxins3030172
Review

The Biology of the Cytolethal Distending Toxins

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Received: 17 January 2011; in revised form: 14 February 2011 / Accepted: 22 February 2011 / Published: 7 March 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellular Microbiology of Bacterial Toxins)
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Abstract: The cytolethal distending toxins (CDTs), produced by a variety of Gram-negative pathogenic bacteria, are the first bacterial genotoxins described, since they cause DNA damage in the target cells. CDT is an A-B2 toxin, where the CdtA and CdtC subunits are required to mediate the binding on the surface of the target cells, allowing internalization of the active CdtB subunit, which is functionally homologous to the mammalian deoxyribonuclease I. The nature of the surface receptor is still poorly characterized, however binding of CDT requires intact lipid rafts, and its internalization occurs via dynamin-dependent endocytosis. The toxin is retrograde transported through the Golgi complex and the endoplasmic reticulum, and subsequently translocated into the nuclear compartment, where it exerts the toxic activity. Cellular intoxication induces DNA damage and activation of the DNA damage responses, which results in arrest of the target cells in the G1 and/or G2 phases of the cell cycle and activation of DNA repair mechanisms. Cells that fail to repair the damage will senesce or undergo apoptosis. This review will focus on the well-characterized aspects of the CDT biology and discuss the questions that still remain unanswered.
Keywords: cytolethal distending toxin; bacterial genotoxin; toxin internalization; DNA damage; DNA damage response; survival signals; virulence factor; chancroid; periodontitis; colitis/hepatitis cytolethal distending toxin; bacterial genotoxin; toxin internalization; DNA damage; DNA damage response; survival signals; virulence factor; chancroid; periodontitis; colitis/hepatitis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Guerra, L.; Cortes-Bratti, X.; Guidi, R.; Frisan, T. The Biology of the Cytolethal Distending Toxins. Toxins 2011, 3, 172-190.

AMA Style

Guerra L, Cortes-Bratti X, Guidi R, Frisan T. The Biology of the Cytolethal Distending Toxins. Toxins. 2011; 3(3):172-190.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Guerra, Lina; Cortes-Bratti, Ximena; Guidi, Riccardo; Frisan, Teresa. 2011. "The Biology of the Cytolethal Distending Toxins." Toxins 3, no. 3: 172-190.



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