Toxinome—the bacterial protein toxin database

Aleks Danov, Ofir Segev, Avi Bograd, Yedidya Ben Eliyahu, Noam Dotan, Tommy Kaplan*, Asaf Levy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microbes use protein toxins as important tools to attack neighboring cells, microbial or eukaryotic, and for self-killing when attacked by viruses. These toxins work through different mechanisms to inhibit cell growth or kill cells. Microbes also use antitoxin proteins to neutralize the toxin activities. Here, we developed a comprehensive database called Toxinome of nearly two million toxins and antitoxins that are encoded in 59,475 bacterial genomes. We described the distribution of bacterial toxins and identified that they are depleted by bacteria that live in hot and cold temperatures. We found 5,161 cases in which toxins and antitoxins are densely clustered in bacterial genomes and termed these areas "Toxin Islands." The Toxinome database is a useful resource for anyone interested in toxin biology and evolution, and it can guide the discovery of new toxins.

Original languageAmerican English
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 American Society for Microbiology. All rights reserved.


  • KEYWORDS bacterial toxins
  • database
  • effectors
  • microbial toxins
  • protein toxins
  • toxin-antitoxin
  • toxins


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