Staphylococcal alpha-toxin, streptolysin-O, and Escherichia coli hemolysin: prototypes of pore-forming bacterial cytolysins
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Staphylococcal alpha-toxin, streptolysin-O, and Escherichia coli hemolysin are well-studied prototypes of pore-forming bacterial cytotoxins. Each is produced as a water-soluble single-chain polypeptide that inserts into target membranes to form aqueous transmembrane pores. This review will compare properties of the three toxin prototypes, highlighting the similarities and also the differences in their structure, mode of binding, mechanism of pore formation, and the responses they elicit in target cells. Pore-forming toxins represent the most potent and versatile weapons with which invading microbes damage the host macroorganism.
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