Botulism Neurotoxin

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Botulism Neurotoxin

Botulism is a disease caused by a neurotoxin, produced by the bacteria, Clostridium botulinum, which produces paralysis in muscles

Botulism neurotoxin is listed as a potential biological weapon. 1 gram could kill 1 million people. It is also used for cosmetic purposes to treat wrinkles and frown lines. It's also known as BOTOX.

Botulism NeurotoxinBy: Jenna Bell and Craig Holmes

Signal Mechanism- LigandEach protein molecule has a heavy chain and a light chain of seven A-B toxins, connected by a disulfide bond. The toxin is also a "blocking agent", so it blocks neurotransmitters causing the muscle paralysis.

The heavy chain allows for the protein to bind to the nerve, and enter it.

The light chain acts as a protease, and splits the proteins that would normally let neurotransmitters to leave the cell. This is basically a disruption of exocytosis.

Acetylcholine, the blocked neurotransmitter, would normally send nerve impulses to contract muscles. This is how the toxin causes muscle paralysis.

Botulism neurotoxin uses a dual-receptor mechanism to bind a glycoprotein receptor to a nerve cell.

With Botulism Toxin- In motor neurons, Acetylcholine isn't released, therefore there is no muscle contraction.- In sensory neurons, neurotransmitters cannot be released, therefore the sensitization of pain nerves is inhibited.

Without Botulism Toxin1. Nerve endings release Acetylcholine.2. Fusion of neurotransmitter to the membrane3. Release of Acetylcholine by exocytosis. 4. Acetylcholine binds to receptors on muscles and causes contraction.

Research is being done on the toxin for more than just cosmetics. The use of neurotoxins can relieve migraines and hyperhidrosis. Scientists are also studying ways to fight Botulism's extreme toxicity.

Faulty MechanismIf the toxin is ingested or inhaled, it can enter the general bloodstream. Once it reaches the peripheal nerve endings, it binds to the cell surface and enters the cell through receptor-mediated endocytosis.

Correct MechanismThe toxin must enter the axons of the nerve cells, and spread through the neuron by endocytosis. Once it has reached this part, it can disperse throughout the cytoplasm and cause paralysis to occur.


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