Fighting Anthrax with a Mutant Toxin

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Science  27 Apr 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5517, pp. 647-648
DOI: 10.1126/science.1060857

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There is an urgent need to develop new therapeutics against the microbe causing anthrax, which has the potential to be used in biological warfare. In their Perspective, Olsnes and Wesche discuss a new therapeutic approach designed by Sellman and colleagues. In this approach, a mutant subunit of the toxin prevents correct assembly of wild-type subunits into a pore in the host cell membrane. In this way, lethal bacterial enzymes are prevented from translocating into the host cell.