Protective Antigen of Anthrax Toxin

Protective Antigen of Anthrax Toxin

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Credit: KENNETH EWARD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: The anthrax bacillus employs a suite of three proteins, collectively termed anthrax toxin, in a diabolically well-coordinated attack on target organisms. The first of these, protective antigen, works by providing a ready-made pore in its victims cell membrane, through which it delivers the other two proteins (not pictured), edema factor and lethal factor, into its interior. Here, they wreak havoc on the cell's internal signaling mechanisms and quickly cause its demise. Anthrax toxin is quite potent: a single deadly trio of its component proteins can kill an entire cell. The image is a digital computer model based on real molecules. Magnification: 8 million times at 7''x7'' printed size.

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Keywords: anthrax, anthrax toxin, bacillus anthracis, bacteria, bacterium, computer model, digital model, molecule models, protective antigen

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