Prof. Bernard C. Rossier

Ms Marie-Madeleine
+41 22 704 36 41


Chemin Rieu 17
P.O. Box 270
1211 Geneva 17
+41 22 704 36 36
+41 22 704 36 37


Gisou van der Goot

School of Life Sciences, EPFL, Lausanne (Switzerland)

Tuesday, October 23, 15:00 - 15:30

Dissecting the entry route of anthrax toxin

Bacillus anthracis produces 3 polypeptides, which in binary combinations can form 2 toxins: lethal toxin and edema toxin. The protective antigen (PA) which is common to both toxins is responsible for host cell recognition and for escorting the enzymatic subunits, Lethal Factor (LF) and Edema Factor (EF), to their final destination. EF and LF do not have a host surface receptor. They bind to a heptamer of PA that forms at the cell surface. To insure that PA heptamerizes and binds EF and LF before endocytosis occurs, events need to be properly timed. We have dissected this toxin-triggered update route. The unconventional set of endocytic proteins as well as the cytoskeleton that is required for entry will be discussed. Anthrax toxin moreover makes clever use of the multivesicular nature of the endocytic pathway. We will discuss how this pathway allows the toxin to exert its activity for days, while being protected from the various degradation pathways of the cell, a finding that has important therapeutic consequences.


Gisou van der Goot is full Professor in Life Sciences at the Swiss Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne. After an engineering training at the Ecole Centrale in Paris and a PhD from University Paris V, she performed a postdoc at the EMBL in Heidelberg. She started her independent career at the University of Geneva, first in Biochemistry and then at the Faculty of Medicine. She obtained an EMBO Young Investigator Award (2001), an Howard Hughes International Scholar Award (2005), was elected EMBO member (2009) and received the Swiss Prix Marcel Benoist (2009). She is a leader in the molecular and cellular understanding of bacterial toxins.