Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 65, Issue 9, pp 1347–1360 | Cite as

Cholera toxin structure, gene regulation and pathophysiological and immunological aspects

  • J. Sánchez
  • J. Holmgren


Many notions regarding the function, structure and regulation of cholera toxin expression have remained essentially unaltered in the last 15 years. At the same time, recent findings have generated additional perspectives. For example, the cholera toxin genes are now known to be carried by a non-lytic bacteriophage, a previously unsuspected condition. Understanding of how the expression of cholera toxin genes is controlled by the bacterium at the molecular level has advanced significantly and relationships with cell-density-associated (quorum-sensing) responses have recently been discovered. Regarding the cell intoxication process, the mode of entry and intracellular transport of cholera toxin are becoming clearer. In the immunological field, the strong oral immunogenicity of the non-toxic B subunit of cholera toxin (CTB) has been exploited in the development of a now widely licensed oral cholera vaccine. Additionally, CTB has been shown to induce tolerance against co-administered (linked) foreign antigens in some autoimmune and allergic diseases.


Cholera toxin phage GM1 binding site virulence gene regulation toxin secretion intracellular toxin traffic immunotolerance induction allergy treatment autoimmune disease oral cholera vaccine 


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Copyright information

© Birkhaueser 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facultad de MedicinaUAEMCol. ChamilpaMexico
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Gothenburg University Vaccine Research Institute (GUVAX)University of GöteborgGothenburgSweden

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