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International Journal of Microbiology
Volume 2010, Article ID 781430, 10 pages
Review Article

Recent Advancements in Toxin and Antitoxin Systems Involved in Bacterial Programmed Cell Death

School of Life Science, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100086, China

Received 8 June 2010; Revised 14 October 2010; Accepted 21 November 2010

Academic Editor: Ingolf Figved Nes

Copyright © 2010 Ming-xi Hu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Programmed cell death (PCD) systems have been extensively studied for their significant role in a variety of biological processes in eukaryotic organisms. Recently, more and more researches have revealed the existence of similar systems employed by bacteria in response to various environmental stresses. This paper summarized the recent researching advancements in toxin/antitoxin systems located on plasmids or chromosomes and their regulatory roles in bacterial PCD. The most studied yet disputed mazEF system was discussed in depth, and possible roles and status of such a special bacterial death and TA systems were also reviewed from the ecological and evolutionary perspectives.