Definition: the bacterial species that is the causative agent of whooping cough, a respiratory tract infection that in infants and young children may be life threatening; the severe cough, progressing to a paroxysmal form after 7–10 days, is associated with production of pertussis toxin, a protein consisting of 5 B. subunits that bind the molecule to respiratory epithelial cells, and an A subunit, an ADP-ribosyl-transferase that interferes with proteins associated with normal signal transduction; pathology is also associated with heavy secretion of mucus and hypoxia due to paroxysmal coughing and to blockage of air passages with mucus.
Synonym(s): Bordet-Gengou bacillus
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