Toxin-antitoxin genes are ubiquitous in drug-resistant bacterial pathogens, and are used to maintain plasmids in host cells and/or to restrict cellular growth during times of stress. We have postulated that artificial activation of toxin-antitoxin systems (with a small molecule or peptide) could be a selective antibacterial strategy, and we have shown the prevalence and activity of these systems in the most difficult to treat drug-resistant bacterial pathogens.


Related Publications:


Light Activation of Staphylococcus aureus Toxin YoeBSa1 Reveals Guanosine-Specific Endoribonuclease Activity

Larson, A. S.; Hergenrother, P. J.

Biochemistry 2014, 53, 188-201.


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Detection of Endogenous MazF Enzymatic Activity in Staphylococcus aureus

van Rensburg, J. J.; Hergenrother, P. J.

Anal. Biochem. 2013, 443, 81-87.


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Artificial Activation of Toxin-Antitoxin Systems as an Antibacterial Strategy

Williams, J. J.; Hergenrother, P. J.

Trends Microbiol. 2012, 20, 291-298.


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Faculty of 1000 Highlight


Toxin-Antitoxin (TA) Systems are Prevalent and Transcribed in Clinical Isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Williams, J. J.; Halvorsen, E. M.; Dwyer, E. M.; DiFazio, R. M.; Hergenrother, P. J.

FEMS Microbiol. Lett. 2011, 322, 41-50.


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Txe, an Endoribonuclease of the Enterococcal Axe-Txe Toxin-Antitoxin System, cleaves mRNA and inhibits protein synthesis

Halvorsen, E. M.; Williams, J. J.; Bhimani, A. J.; Billings, E. A.; Hergenrother, P. J.

Microbiology 2011, 157, 387-397.


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Exposing Plasmids as the Achilles' Heel of Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Williams, J. J.; Hergenrother, P. J.

Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol. 200812, 389-399.


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A Continuous Fluorometric Assay for the Assessment of MazF Ribonuclease Activity 

Wang, N. R.; Hergenrother, P. J. 

Anal. Biochem. 2007371, 173-183.


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Toxin-Antitoxin System are Ubiquitous and Plasmid Encoded in Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci (VRE)

Moritz, E. M.; Hergenrother, P. J.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 2007104, 311-316.


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The Prevalence of Plasmids and Other Mobile Genetic Elements in Clinically Important Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Moritz, E. M.; Hergenrother, P. J.

Antimicrobial Resistance in Bacteria 2007, 25-53.


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Bacterial Death comes Full Circle: Targeting Plasmid Replication in Drug-Resistant Bacteria

DeNap, J. C. B.; Hergenrother, P. J.

Org. Biomol. Chem. 20053, 959 966.


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Professor Paul J. Hergenrother

261 Roger Adams Lab

600 S. Mathews Avenue

Urbana, IL 61802

The Chemistry Department at the University of Illinois

Copyright © 2014 The Hergenrother Group

Kate Neef

Administrative Assistant

A131 Chemical and Life Sciences Laboratory