Cholera toxin, artwork

Cholera toxin, artwork

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Credit: EQUINOX GRAPHICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cholera toxin, molecular structure. Cholera is an infectious intestinal disease caused by this toxin produced by the Gram-negative bacterium Vibrio cholerae. It is a protein complex made up of an A subunit (blue and red) and five B subunits (green) that form a ring which binds to the intestinal lining. The A subunit consists of a globular enzyme CTA1 (blue) and an alpha helix chain CTA2 (red) that fits in the central pore of the B subunit ring. The action of the A subunit leads to secretion of chloride and water into the intestines, resulting in rapid dehydration. In its most severe forms, cholera is one of the most rapidly fatal illnesses known.

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