Bacterial protein toxins in human cancers

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Abstract

Many bacteria causing persistent infections produce toxins whose mechanisms of action indicate that they could have a role in carcinogenesis. Some toxins, like CDT and colibactin, directly attack the genome by damaging DNA whereas others, as for example CNF1, CagA and BFT, impinge on key eukaryotic processes, such as cellular signalling and cell death. These bacterial toxins, together with other less known toxins, mimic carcinogens and tumour promoters. The aim of this review is to fulfil an up-to-date analysis of toxins with carcinogenic potential that have been already correlated to human cancers. Bacterial toxins-induced carcinogenesis represents an emerging aspect in bacteriology, and its significance is increasingly recognized.

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