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Medical Term:

exotoxin

Pronunciation: ek'so-tok'sin

Definition: 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 exotoxins are proteinaceous (MW 70,000–900,000) and can have the toxic portion of the molecule destroyed by heat, prolonged storage, or chemicals; the nontoxic but antigenic form is a toxoid.

Synonym(s): ectotoxin, extracellular toxin

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