Staphylococcus aureus beta toxin

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Staphylococcus aureus beta toxin is a toxin produced by Staphylococcus aureus.[1] It is a form of sphingomyelinase[2] called sphingomyelinase C. This enzyme is toxic to a variety of cells, including erythrocytes, fibroblasts, leukocytes, and macrophages. Susceptible cells are subject to lysis of exposed sphingomyelin on their membrane surfaces.[3]

The beta toxin exhibits maximum activity at 10 °C, at 37 °C (normal body temperature) seems to be inactive.


  1. ^ Cifrian E, Guidry AJ, Bramley AJ, Norcross NL, Bastida-Corcuera FD, Marquardt WW (February 1996). "Effect of staphylococcal beta toxin on the cytotoxicity, proliferation and adherence of Staphylococcus aureus to bovine mammary epithelial cells". Veterinary microbiology. 48 (3–4): 187–98. doi:10.1016/0378-1135(95)00159-X. PMID 9054116. 
  2. ^ Gaskin DK, Bohach GA, Schlievert PM, Hovde CJ (February 1997). "Purification of Staphylococcus aureus beta-toxin: comparison of three isoelectric focusing methods". Protein expression and purification. 9 (1): 76–82. doi:10.1006/prep.1996.0664. PMID 9116505. 
  3. ^ Patrick R. Murray; Ken S. Rosenthal; Michael A. Pfaller (2009) [1990]. Medical Microbiology (6th ed.). Philadelphia: Mosby. p. 213. ISBN 978-0-323-05470-6.