© 1995

Clostridial Neurotoxins

The Molecular Pathogenesis of Tetanus and Botulism

  • Cesare Montecucco

Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 195)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XI
  2. C. L. Hatheway
    Pages 55-75
  3. G. Corradin, C. Watts
    Pages 77-87
  4. F. Cardoso, J. Jankovic
    Pages 123-141
  5. C. C. Shone, H. S. Tranter
    Pages 143-160
  6. F. Benfenati, F. Valtorta
    Pages 195-219
  7. B. Poulain, J. Molgó, S. Thesleff
    Pages 243-255
  8. G. Schiavo, O. Rossetto, F. Tonello, C. Montecucco
    Pages 257-274
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 275-280

About this book


Tetanus has been known from the very beginning of medical literature since it was first described by Hyppocrates of Cos in the fifth century B.C. For 24 centuries it was considered a neuro­ logical disease until the breakthrough of CARLE and RATIONE (1884) who demonstrated its infectious etiology. Following the establishment of purified cultures of Clostridium tetani(KITASATO 1889), FABER (1890), and TIZZONI and CATIANI (1890) demon­ strated that the disease is actually an intoxication caused by a proteic neurotoxin. This toxin was shown by BRUSHCHETIINI (1892) to move retroaxonally and to act at the spinal cord level. Soon thereafter VAN ERMENGEN (1897) demonstrated that botu­ lism is also due to intoxication with a protein toxin produced by bacteria of the genus Clostridium. These bacteria and their spores and ubiquitous, and the majority of them do not produce neurotoxins. The selective advantage of producing such potent toxin is still a matter of speculation (see Popoff, this volume). The next major advance was the discovery that tetanus neurotoxin 1 can be converted by formaldehyde treatment to a nonpathogenic but still fully immunogenic form, and that this can be used successfully as a vaccine to prevent tetanus (RAMON and DESCOMBEY 1925). Similar vaccines (toxoids) can be prepared with botulism neurotoxins (see MiDDLEBROOK and BROWN, this volume). The prevention oftetanus by vaccination (see Galatzka and Gasse, this volume) is one of the great successes of basic research coupled with an efficient public medicine service.


Lebensmittelvergiftung Neurotoxins Syntaxin Wundstarrkrampf cell biology exocytosis genetics growth immunology immunotherapy molecular genetics protein synaptobrevin toxin vaccination

Editors and affiliations

  • Cesare Montecucco
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche SperimentaliUniversità degli Studi di PadovaPadovaItalia

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Clostridial Neurotoxins
  • Book Subtitle The Molecular Pathogenesis of Tetanus and Botulism
  • Editors Cesare Montecucco
  • Series Title Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995
  • Publisher Name Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-540-58452-0
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-642-85175-9
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-642-85173-5
  • Series ISSN 0070-217X
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XI, 280
  • Number of Illustrations 16 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Immunology
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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