Addiction modules are toxin-antitoxin systems. Each consists of a pair of genes that specify two components: a stable toxin and an unstable antitoxin that interferes with the lethal action of the toxin. Found first in E. coli on low copy number plasmids, addiction modules are responsible for a process called the postsegregational killing effect. When bacteria lose these plasmid(s) (or other extrachromosomal elements), the cured cells are selectively killed because the unstable antitoxin is degraded faster than the more stable toxin. The term "addiction" is used because the cell depends on the de novo synthesis of the antitoxin for cell survival. Thus, addiction modules are implicated in maintaining the stability of extrachromosomal elements.
Famous quotes containing the word addiction:
“All sin tends to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is what is called damnation.”
—W.H. (Wystan Hugh)