Botulinum and tetanus neurotoxins, products of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum and C. tetani, are extremely specific for target selection (presynaptic membrane), site of action (intracellular), action (blockade of neurotransmitter release), and they are lethal at extremely low concentrations. Notorious as the most poisonous poison found in nature, botulinum neurotoxin, a potential tool for harmful use (scare during January 1991 Gulf War), is paradoxically improving quality of life (clinical use) and may advance our knowledge in neuroscience. The tetanus neurotoxin shares three of these attributes: extreme lethality, worldwide natural scourge (565,000 children dying from neonatal tetanus every year; source: WHO, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland, update May 1991), and pharmacological tool. The first joint appearance of the two prima donnas of the toxin world on stage for 3 days in Madison (May 11–13, 1992) attracted 132 attendees from 13 nations (Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, People’s Republic of China, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States).
KeywordsLight Chain Botulinum Toxin Type Botulinum Neurotoxin Presynaptic Membrane Neonatal Tetanus
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