Tetanus toxin is a neurotoxin produced by the vegetative spore of Clostridium tetani. The toxin causes tetanus, a disease that is characterised by prolonged contraction of skeletal muscle. World-wide, approximately 1 million cases of tetanus occurs annually, resulting in approximately 300,000 to 500,000 deaths, mostly in developing countries. The tetanus toxin has a molecular weight of approximately 150kDa and consists of a heavy chain (B-chain, 100kDa) and a light chain (A-chain, 50kDa) that are connected by a disulfide bond. The toxin acts by inhibiting neurotransmitter release. It binds to peripheral neuronal synapses, is internalized and moves by retrograde transport up the axon into the spinal cord where it can move between postsynaptic and presynaptic neurons. It inhibits the release of the neurotransmitters GABA and glycine by synaptobrevin-2. This results in overactivity in the muscle. The binding of the toxin to neurons is irreversible.View more
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