Definition: Toxic proteins produced from the species CLOSTRIDIUM BOTULINUM. The toxins are synthesized as a single peptide chain which is processed into a mature protein consisting of a heavy chain and light chain joined via a disulfide bond. The botulinum toxin light chain is a zinc-dependent protease which is released from the heavy chain upon ENDOCYTOSIS into PRESYNAPTIC NERVE ENDINGS. Once inside the cell the botulinum toxin light chain cleaves specific SNARE proteins which are essential for secretion of ACETYLCHOLINE by SYNAPTIC VESICLES. This inhibition of acetylcholine release results in muscular PARALYSIS.