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Toxins 2016, 8(2), 49; doi:10.3390/toxins8020049

Heterologous Expression of Toxins from Bacterial Toxin-Antitoxin Systems in Eukaryotic Cells: Strategies and Applications

1
Biomedical Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Medical Campus, Jalan Sultan Mahmud, 20400 Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
2
Centre for Research in Biotechnology for Agriculture (CEBAR) and Institute for Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
3
Molecular Microbiology and Infection Biology, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Ramiro de Maeztu 9, 28040 Madrid, Spain
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Anton Meinhart
Received: 17 January 2016 / Revised: 3 February 2016 / Accepted: 15 February 2016 / Published: 19 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxin-Antitoxin System in Bacteria)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1106 KB, uploaded 19 February 2016]   |  

Abstract

Toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems are found in nearly all prokaryotic genomes and usually consist of a pair of co-transcribed genes, one of which encodes a stable toxin and the other, its cognate labile antitoxin. Certain environmental and physiological cues trigger the degradation of the antitoxin, causing activation of the toxin, leading either to the death or stasis of the host cell. TA systems have a variety of functions in the bacterial cell, including acting as mediators of programmed cell death, the induction of a dormant state known as persistence and the stable maintenance of plasmids and other mobile genetic elements. Some bacterial TA systems are functional when expressed in eukaryotic cells and this has led to several innovative applications, which are the subject of this review. Here, we look at how bacterial TA systems have been utilized for the genetic manipulation of yeasts and other eukaryotes, for the containment of genetically modified organisms, and for the engineering of high expression eukaryotic cell lines. We also examine how TA systems have been adopted as an important tool in developmental biology research for the ablation of specific cells and the potential for utility of TA systems in antiviral and anticancer gene therapies. View Full-Text
Keywords: toxin-antitoxin systems; genetic manipulation; gene containment; cell ablation; high expression cell lines; gene therapy; antiviral therapy; anticancer therapy toxin-antitoxin systems; genetic manipulation; gene containment; cell ablation; high expression cell lines; gene therapy; antiviral therapy; anticancer therapy
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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Yeo, C.C.; Abu Bakar, F.; Chan, W.T.; Espinosa, M.; Harikrishna, J.A. Heterologous Expression of Toxins from Bacterial Toxin-Antitoxin Systems in Eukaryotic Cells: Strategies and Applications. Toxins 2016, 8, 49.

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