Anthrax Bacterium: Its Etiology and Possible Therapeutics Against Cancer

  • Rekha Khandia
  • Ashok Munjal


Anthrax is an ancient disease caused by Bacillus anthracis and leads to animal and human deaths. It has imparted very important role in history of science by becoming the first bacterium to be observed under microscope, isolated in pure culture and used in attenuated vaccine and became the base of Koch’s famous postulates about germs. The bacterium contains two megaplasmids pXO1 (181 kb), encoding for three secretary toxins named as protective antigen (PA), lethal factor (LF) and edema factor (EF), and pXO2 (96 kb) encoding for anti-phagocytic capsule. The expression of genes is under the control of several cis and trans locating genetic elements and environmental factors. Present chapter provides the detailed insight to the structure and function of different toxins produced by B. anthracis bacterium including their mode of action. The lethal toxin enzymatically cleaves mitogen-activated protein kinases (MEKs), and edema toxin raises the amount of intracellular cAMP. Both toxins have important role in cellular signalling and cell survival pathways, and the same property may be exploited to cure several diseases related to propagation of cells like cancer. How different components of bacterium like toxins and receptors can be manoeuvred to find therapeutics value against cancer is being described. In summary, anthrax is a bacterium which is a life-threatening organism but tactically can be turned into life saviour.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rekha Khandia
    • 1
  • Ashok Munjal
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and GeneticsBarkatullah UniversityBhopalIndia

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