DR TIM EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR TIM EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Panton-Valentine toxin. Computer artwork of the molecular structure of a sub-unit of the Panton- Valentine leucocidin (PVL) toxin from the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. The alpha-helical (cylinders) and beta-sheet (flat) structure is shown. This is the F sub-unit, it combines with a S sub-unit to form the toxin. PVL targets white blood cells, part of the body's immune system. It makes pores in the white blood cell's membrane, causing the cell contents to leak, thus killing the cell. This destruction of cells leads to skin and soft tissue infections. These are mainly abscesses, but it can also cause pneumonia. The toxin has been found in strains of the antibiotic- resistant MRSA (methicillin-resistant S. Aureus) bacteria.
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