Pore-Forming Bacterial Protein Toxins: An Overview

  • J. E. Alouf
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 257)


Among the ca. 325 protein toxins produced by gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria so far identified (Alouf 2000), at least 115 (35%) belong to the group of the so-called membrane-damaging toxins (MDTs). The most characteristic feature of these effectors is to damage or disrupt the cytoplasmic phospholipid bilayer membrane (7–9nm) of appropriate human and (or) animal cells. The impairment of membrane integrity causes osmotic imbalance, reflected by cell swelling due to water influx and dissipation of electrochemical gradients, which may lead to cell lysis and death (Bernheimer 1970; Alouf 1977; Arbuthnott 1982).


Listeria Monocytogenes Cytolytic Toxin Cysteine Scanning Mutagenesis Bacterial Protein Toxin Sublytic Concentration 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. E. Alouf
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut PasteurParis Cedex 15France
  2. 2.Domaine de la RonceVille d’AvrayFrance

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