Staphylococcus aureus beta toxin is a toxin produced by Staphylococcus aureus. It is a form of sphingomyelinase called sphingomyelinase C. This enzyme is toxic to a variety of cells, including erythrocytes, fibroblasts, leukocytes, and macrophages. Susceptible cells are subject to lysis of exposed sphingomyelin on their membrane surfaces.
The beta toxin exhibits maximum activity at 10°C, at 37°C (normal body temperature) seems to be inactive.
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