New therapeutics from Nature: The odd case of the bacterial cytotoxic necrotizing factor 1

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Natural products may represent a rich source of new drugs. The enthusiasm toward this topic has recently been fueled by the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, awarded for the discovery of avermectin and artemisinin, natural products from Bacteria and Plantae, respectively, which have targeted one of the major global health issues, the parasitic diseases. Specifically, bacteria either living in the environment or colonizing our body may produce compounds of unexpected biomedical value with the potentiality to be employed as therapeutic drugs. In this review, the fascinating history of CNF1, a protein toxin produced by pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli, is divulged. Even if produced by bacteria responsible for a variety of diseases, CNF1 can behave as a promising benefactor to mankind. By modulating the Rho GTPases, this bacterial product plays a key role in organizing the actin cytoskeleton, enhancing synaptic plasticity and brain energy level, rescuing cognitive deficits, reducing glioma growth in experimental animals. These abilities strongly suggest the need to proceed with the studies on this odd drug in order to pave the way toward clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)929-937
Number of pages9
JournalBiomedicine and Pharmacotherapy
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2018


  • Bacterial products
  • Drug discovery
  • Energy metabolism
  • Memory
  • Neurological disorders
  • Synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'New therapeutics from Nature: The odd case of the bacterial cytotoxic necrotizing factor 1'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this