ISSN 1214-0287 (on-line), ISSN 1214-021X (printed)
J Appl Biomed
Volume 8 (2010), No 4, p 179-188
DOI 10.2478/v10136-009-0021-9

Bacterial toxin-antitoxin systems targeting translation

Ramon Diaz-Orejas, Elizabeth Diago-Navarro, Ana Maria Hernandez Arriaga, Juan Lopez-Villarejo, Marc Lemonnier, Inma Moreno-Cordoba, Concha Nieto, Manuel Espinosa

Address: Ramon Diaz-Orejas, Centro de Investigaciones Biologicas - CSIC, Ramiro de Maeztu 9, E-28040 Madrid, Spain

Received 5th March 2010.
Revised 30th April 2010.
Published online 17th May 2010.

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Toxin-antitoxin systems (TAS) emerged more than 25 years ago and have since developed as an important field in molecular microbiology. TAS are autoregulated operons coding a stable toxin and an unstable antitoxin found in the plasmids and chromosomes of Bacteria and Archaea. The conditional activation of their toxins interferes with cell growth/viability and, depending on the context, can influence plasmid maintenance, stress management, bacterial persistence, cell differentiation and, it is likely also bacterial virulence. This review summarizes recent results on the parD system of plasmid R1 and on the chromosomal relBE systems found in Escherichia coli and in Streptococcus pneumoniae with a focus on the RNase activity of their toxins, their regulation and their biomedical applications and implications.

toxin-antitoxin systems; plasmid maintenance; cell growth regulation; toxin RNases; protein synthesis inhibition

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