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Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli infections

James C. Paton, Adrienne W. Paton
From: Science & Medicine: Volume 7 Number 3: Page 28 (June 2000)

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Abstract: Many stereotypes of E. coli, most famously the one designated O157:H7, produce a cytotoxin that is similar in structure and cactivity to the exotoxin of Shigella dysenteriae type 1, the classic Shiga bacillus. Disseminated via the bloodstream, Shiga toxin causes a variety of human diseases, some severe. Because antibiotics can, in theory, increase the release of free toxin when they lyse pathogens, progression of Shiga toxigenic E. coli infection may occur despite, or perhaps even because of, antibiotic therapy. Understanding how the toxin binds to its cell surface glycolipid receptor has stimulated efforts to devise therapeutic agents that can clear the toxin from the gut and from the circulation.

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