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exotoxin (ek-so-tok´sin)

A specific, soluble, antigenic, usually heat labile, injurious substance elaborated by certain Gram-positive or Gram-negative bacteria; it is formed within the cell, but is released into the environment where it is rapidly active in extremely small amounts; most e.'s are protein in nature (MW 70,000 to 900,000) and can have the toxic portion of the molecule destroyed by heat, prolonged storage, or chemicals; the nontoxic but antigenic form is a toxoid.ectotoxin, extracellular toxin;


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