Type III Toxin-Antitoxin Loci

  • Tim R. Blower
  • Francesca L. Short
  • George P. C. Salmond


The toxIN locus from a cryptic plasmid of the plant pathogen Pectobacterium atrosepticum was the first type III toxin–antitoxin (TA) system to be identified. This new paradigm describes how an RNA antitoxin directly interacts with and inhibits a protein toxin. Within this chapter, we discuss the discovery of toxIN as a potent bacteriophage resistance mechanism and the subsequent genetic, biochemical and structural studies that allowed construction of generalised working models for the activities of these novel systems. Furthermore, the recent identification of three independent families of type III systems, suggests the possibility of wider biological roles. Although type III TA loci had perhaps been initially considered a niche field, it is now clear that these systems are widespread, and thus presumably important in the biology of prokaryotes.


Phage Infection Cryptic Plasmid Phage Resistance Abortive Infection Host Background 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Funding is provided by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (UK), and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (UK) together with the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust (UK).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tim R. Blower
    • 1
  • Francesca L. Short
    • 1
  • George P. C. Salmond
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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