Botulinum toxin, computer model. This is a protein that is highly toxic, causing muscle rigidity and death if consumed. It is produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Atoms are shown as balls linked by sticks. The structure of the protein is shown as coloured strips. The chains form regions of spiralling alpha helices (red), flat beta sheets (blue) and linking regions (white). Botulinum toxin is used in cosmetic surgery under the names Botox and Dysport. It is injected directly into muscles to paralyse them, which gives the impression of a younger, tighter skin tone. It can also be used to treat conditions such as a squint.
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