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Toxins 2014, 6(8), 2310-2335; doi:10.3390/toxins6082310

sRNA Antitoxins: More than One Way to Repress a Toxin

Department of Microbiology, University of Tennessee, M409 Walters Life Sciences, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 June 2014 / Revised: 15 July 2014 / Accepted: 17 July 2014 / Published: 4 August 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxin-Antitoxin System)
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Bacterial toxin-antitoxin loci consist of two genes: one encodes a potentially toxic protein, and the second, an antitoxin to repress its function or expression. The antitoxin can either be an RNA or a protein. For type I and type III loci, the antitoxins are RNAs; however, they have very different modes of action. Type I antitoxins repress toxin protein expression through interacting with the toxin mRNA, thereby targeting the mRNA for degradation or preventing its translation or both; type III antitoxins directly bind to the toxin protein, sequestering it. Along with these two very different modes of action for the antitoxin, there are differences in the functions of the toxin proteins and the mobility of these loci between species. Within this review, we discuss the major differences as to how the RNAs repress toxin activity, the potential consequences for utilizing different regulatory strategies, as well as the confirmed and potential biological roles for these loci across bacterial species.
Keywords: type I toxin-antitoxin; type III toxin-antitoxin; small RNA; small peptide type I toxin-antitoxin; type III toxin-antitoxin; small RNA; small peptide
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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Wen, J.; Fozo, E.M. sRNA Antitoxins: More than One Way to Repress a Toxin. Toxins 2014, 6, 2310-2335.

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