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Cationic polyamines inhibit anthrax lethal factor protease

Goldman ME, Cregar L, Nguyen D, Simo O, O'Malley S, Humphreys T

Anthrax is a human disease that results from infection by the bacteria, Bacillus anthracis and has recently been used as a bioterrorist agent. Historically, this disease was associated with Bacillus spore exposure from wool or animal carcasses. While current vaccine approaches (targeted against the protective antigen) are effective for prophylaxis, multiple doses must be injected. Common antibiotics that block the germination process are effective but must be administered early in the infection cycle. In addition, new therapeutics are needed to specifically target the proteolytic activity of lethal factor (LF) associated with this bacterial infection.