Author(s): Olsnes S
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Abstract Ricin, abrin and related plant toxins have played interesting and important roles in the history of clinical medicine and biomedical research. The use of these proteins in medical treatment since ancient times is reviewed. Later the proteins played important roles in the early days of immunological research and some of the fundamental principles of immunology were discovered with toxic proteins of this group. During the last three decades the mechanism of action of the toxins was elucidated. This led to a major effort to target the toxins to malignant cells. Ricin has been used in bioterrorism. Recently, the toxins have played important roles as experimental models to elucidate the intracellular trafficking of endocytosed proteins.
This article was published in Toxicon
and referenced in Biochemistry & Pharmacology: Open Access