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Toxins 2011, 3(6), 608-625; doi:10.3390/toxins3060608

Shiga Toxin: Expression, Distribution, and Its Role in the Environment

Department of Biological Sciences, Mercyhurst College, Erie, PA 16546, USA
Department of Biological Sciences, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 May 2011 / Revised: 9 June 2011 / Accepted: 9 June 2011 / Published: 14 June 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Shiga Toxin)
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In this review, we highlight recent work that has increased our understanding of the production and distribution of Shiga toxin in the environment. Specifically, we review studies that offer an expanded view of environmental reservoirs for Shiga toxin producing microbes in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. We then relate the abundance of Shiga toxin in the environment to work that demonstrates that the genetic mechanisms underlying the production of Shiga toxin genes are modified and embellished beyond the classical microbial gene regulatory paradigms in a manner that apparently “fine tunes” the trigger to modulate the amount of toxin produced. Last, we highlight several recent studies examining microbe/protist interactions that postulate an answer to the outstanding question of why microbes might harbor and express Shiga toxin genes in the environment.
Keywords: Shiga toxin; bacteriophage; E. coli O157 Shiga toxin; bacteriophage; E. coli O157
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Mauro, S.A.; Koudelka, G.B. Shiga Toxin: Expression, Distribution, and Its Role in the Environment. Toxins 2011, 3, 608-625.

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