Research NewsMicrobiology

New Clue to How Anthrax Kills

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  01 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5364, pp. 676
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5364.676

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

On page 734, a research team reports identifying a possible mechanism of action for "lethal factor" (LF), a toxic protein produced by the anthrax bacillus that is thought to be one of the principal causes of death in infected individuals. The team has found that LF cleaves and inactivates an enzyme in one of the cell's key signaling pathways, the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway, which helps control cell growth, embryonic development, and the maturation of oocytes into eggs. The discovery could someday give doctors a new countermeasure against the disease that is directed against the toxin, thereby reducing the threat of its use as a germ warfare agent.