Tetanus and botulinum neurotoxins are the most poisonous substances known, so much so as to be considered for a possible terrorist use. At the same time, botulinum neurotoxin type A1 is successfully used to treat a variety of human syndromes characterized by hyperactive cholinergic nerve terminals. The extreme toxicity of these neurotoxins is due to their neurospecificity and to their metalloprotease activity, which results in the deadly paralysis of tetanus and botulism. Recently, many novel botulinum neurotoxins and some botulinum-like toxins have been discovered. This large number of toxins differs in terms of toxicity and biological activity, providing a potential goldmine for novel therapeutics and for new molecular tools to dissect vesicular trafficking, fusion, and exocytosis. The scattered data on toxicity present in the literature require a systematic organization to be usable by scientists and clinicians. We have assembled here the data available in the literature on the toxicity of these toxins in different animal species. The internal comparison of these data provides insights on the biological activity of these toxins.
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