B anthracis diagram en

Cartoon of Bacillus anthracis bacteria. The rod-shaped bacteria contains two plasmids and the nucleoid. The toxic proteins are synthesized from the information encoded on the pXO1 plasmid. Photo from <>

Cutaneous Infection (least harmful) : Edit

Bacillus anthracis spores can infect abrased skin and is more common for those who garden and interact with farm animals as the spores can exist for years in soil. The spores then germinate and the toxins are synthesized and invade skin cells resulting in formation of painful black ulcers. The toxin can also enter the bloodstream through this mode of infection causing more serious problems.

Ingestion (harmful):Edit

Spores can also be ingested through consumption of infected meat. This leads to a severe gastrointestinal infection as lethal factor and edema factor can enter GI cells. The toxin can also enter the bloodstream through this mode of infection causing more serious problems.

Inhalation (very harmful):

Inhaling anywhere between 10,000 and 50,000 Bacillus anthracis spores can lead to an extremely serious and often deadly infection. Once the spores enter the lungs, they are then taken up by macrophages, germinate, and migrate to lymph nodes. Once in the lymph nodes, the spores invade lymph cells and enter the lymphatic system where they infect other cells. In the bloodstream, LF, EF, and PA are produced where they cause septic shock, activating a severe immune response. The three virulent factors collectively cause edema and cell death.



Synthesis of Lethal Factor ProteinEdit

Genes encoding lethal factor lay on a double-stranded circular plasmid pXO1 contained inside Bacillus anthracis. A 44.8kb section of this plasmid denoted the pathogenicity island encodes all three anthrax proteins as well as a transcription activator AtxA and a repressor PagR which regulate the toxin's genes. 

Project PagesEdit

  1. Patrick: Anthrax Toxin: Introduction 
  2. Patrick: Anthrax Toxin: Biological Function
  3. Patrick: Anthrax Toxin: Biosynthesis
  4. Patrick: Anthrax Toxin: Gene Sequence
  5. Patrick: Anthrax Toxin: Amino Acid Sequence and Composition
  6. Patrick: Anthrax Toxin: Secondary and Tertiary Structure
  7. Patrick: Anthrax Toxin: Domains and Structural Motifs
  8. Patrick: Anthrax Toxin: Interactions with macromolecules and small molecules
  9. Patrick: Anthrax Toxin: Molecular biodiversity and evolution
  10. Patrick: Anthrax Toxin: PyMOL Images
  11. Patrick: Anthrax Toxin: Literature Review
  12. Patrick: Anthrax Toxin: Useful online resources

References Edit

Anthrax Toxin General Overview

Pannifer AD et al. 2001. Crystal Structure of the Anthrax Lethal Factor .Nature. 414 (6860): 229-33. 

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