Botulinum Neurotoxins from Clostridium botulinum

Authored by: Janice M. Rusnak , Leonard A. Smith

Manual of Security Sensitive Microbes and Toxins

Print publication date:  April  2014
Online publication date:  April  2014

Print ISBN: 9781466553965
eBook ISBN: 9781466553989
Adobe ISBN:


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Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are produced by gram-positive, anaerobic, spore-forming bacilli known as Clostridium botulinum (and uncommonly by Clostridium baratii and Clostridium butyricum) and may cause a severe neuroparalytic illness known as botulism. 13 BoNTs cause paralysis by preventing the transmission of nerve impulses to muscles by inhibiting acetylcholine release at the presynaptic nerve terminals of voluntary motor and autonomic cholinergic neuromuscular junctions (NMJs). 4,5 There are seven antigenically distinct BoNTs, which have been designated toxin serotypes A through G (BoNT A–G). 1 Most human cases of botulism are due to BoNTs A, B, and E (rarely F), but all seven serotypes may potentially cause disease in humans based on animal studies. 6

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