Botulinum Neurotoxins as Biothreat Agents | OMICS International | Abstract
ISSN: 2157-2526

Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense
Open Access

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Review Article

Botulinum Neurotoxins as Biothreat Agents

Theresa J Smith1, Virginia I Roxas-Duncan1 and Leonard A Smith2*

1Integrated Toxicology Division, United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, MD 21702

2Office of the Chief Scientist, United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, MD 21702

*Corresponding Author:
Leonard A Smith
Senior Research Scientist (ST) for Medical Countermeasures Technology
Office of the Chief Scientist
United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases
1425 Porter Street, Fort Detrick, MD 21702
Tel: (301) 619-4238
Fax: (301) 619-2348
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: November 24, 2011; Accepted Date: January 20, 2012; Published Date: January 24, 2012

Citation: Smith TJ, Roxas-Duncan VI, Smith LA (2012) Botulinum Neurotoxins as Biothreat Agents. J Bioterr Biodef S2:003. doi: 10.4172/2157-2526.S2-003

Copyright: © 2012 Smith TJ, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs), a family of proteins produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and other clostridial species, are considered to be the most potent toxin known, and a potential biological weapon. BoNTs cause botulism, a serious and life-threatening illness in humans and animals. There are seven immunologically distinct serotypes of BoNTs, each with multiple unique subtypes/genetic variants. BoNT potency and diversity present challenges for detection, diagnosis, treatment, and development of countermeasures. This article provides an overview of the range, diversity, and potency of BoNTs, and how these features might affect their use as biothreat agents.