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Toxins, Volume 3, Issue 7 (July 2011), Pages 737-931

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Gene Expression Profiling and Identification of Resistance Genes to Aspergillus flavus Infection in Peanut through EST and Microarray Strategies
Toxins 2011, 3(7), 737-753; doi:10.3390/toxins3070737
Received: 27 April 2011 / Revised: 9 June 2011 / Accepted: 14 June 2011 / Published: 24 June 2011
Cited by 21 | PDF Full-text (392 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus infect peanut seeds and produce aflatoxins, which are associated with various diseases in domestic animals and humans throughout the world. The most cost-effective strategy to minimize aflatoxin contamination involves the development of peanut cultivars that are resistant [...] Read more.
Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus infect peanut seeds and produce aflatoxins, which are associated with various diseases in domestic animals and humans throughout the world. The most cost-effective strategy to minimize aflatoxin contamination involves the development of peanut cultivars that are resistant to fungal infection and/or aflatoxin production. To identify peanut Aspergillus-interactive and peanut Aspergillus-resistance genes, we carried out a large scale peanut Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) project which we used to construct a peanut glass slide oligonucleotide microarray. The fabricated microarray represents over 40% of the protein coding genes in the peanut genome. For expression profiling, resistant and susceptible peanut cultivars were infected with a mixture of Aspergillus flavus and parasiticus spores. The subsequent microarray analysis identified 62 genes in resistant cultivars that were up-expressed in response to Aspergillus infection. In addition, we identified 22 putative Aspergillus-resistance genes that were constitutively up-expressed in the resistant cultivar in comparison to the susceptible cultivar. Some of these genes were homologous to peanut, corn, and soybean genes that were previously shown to confer resistance to fungal infection. This study is a first step towards a comprehensive genome-scale platform for developing Aspergillus-resistant peanut cultivars through targeted marker-assisted breeding and genetic engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aflatoxins 2011)
Open AccessArticle A Public Platform for the Verification of the Phenotypic Effect of Candidate Genes for Resistance to Aflatoxin Accumulation and Aspergillus flavus Infection in Maize
Toxins 2011, 3(7), 754-765; doi:10.3390/toxins3070754
Received: 14 May 2011 / Revised: 10 June 2011 / Accepted: 15 June 2011 / Published: 24 June 2011
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (409 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A public candidate gene testing pipeline for resistance to aflatoxin accumulation or Aspergillus flavus infection in maize is presented here. The pipeline consists of steps for identifying, testing, and verifying the association of selected maize gene sequences with resistance under field conditions. [...] Read more.
A public candidate gene testing pipeline for resistance to aflatoxin accumulation or Aspergillus flavus infection in maize is presented here. The pipeline consists of steps for identifying, testing, and verifying the association of selected maize gene sequences with resistance under field conditions. Resources include a database of genetic and protein sequences associated with the reduction in aflatoxin contamination from previous studies; eight diverse inbred maize lines for polymorphism identification within any maize gene sequence; four Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) mapping populations and one association mapping panel, all phenotyped for aflatoxin accumulation resistance and associated phenotypes; and capacity for Insertion/Deletion (InDel) and SNP genotyping in the population(s) for mapping. To date, ten genes have been identified as possible candidate genes and put through the candidate gene testing pipeline, and results are presented here to demonstrate the utility of the pipeline. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aflatoxins 2011)
Open AccessArticle Transcriptional Profiles Uncover Aspergillus flavus-Induced Resistance in Maize Kernels
Toxins 2011, 3(7), 766-786; doi:10.3390/toxins3070766
Received: 15 April 2011 / Revised: 23 June 2011 / Accepted: 23 June 2011 / Published: 29 June 2011
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (398 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Aflatoxin contamination caused by the opportunistic pathogen A. flavus is a major concern in maize production prior to harvest and through storage. Previous studies have highlighted the constitutive production of proteins involved in maize kernel resistance against A. flavus’ infection. However, [...] Read more.
Aflatoxin contamination caused by the opportunistic pathogen A. flavus is a major concern in maize production prior to harvest and through storage. Previous studies have highlighted the constitutive production of proteins involved in maize kernel resistance against A. flavus’ infection. However, little is known about induced resistance nor about defense gene expression and regulation in kernels. In this study, maize oligonucleotide arrays and a pair of closely-related maize lines varying in aflatoxin accumulation were used to reveal the gene expression network in imbibed mature kernels in response to A. flavus’ challenge. Inoculated kernels were incubated 72 h via the laboratory-based Kernel Screening Assay (KSA), which highlights kernel responses to fungal challenge. Gene expression profiling detected 6955 genes in resistant and 6565 genes in susceptible controls; 214 genes induced in resistant and 2159 genes induced in susceptible inoculated kernels. Defense related and regulation related genes were identified in both treatments. Comparisons between the resistant and susceptible lines indicate differences in the gene expression network which may enhance our understanding of the maize-A. flavus interaction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aflatoxins 2011)
Open AccessArticle Ricin Trafficking in Plant and Mammalian Cells
Toxins 2011, 3(7), 787-801; doi:10.3390/toxins3070787
Received: 18 May 2011 / Revised: 21 June 2011 / Accepted: 23 June 2011 / Published: 30 June 2011
Cited by 26 | PDF Full-text (414 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ricin is a heterodimeric plant protein that is potently toxic to mammalian and many other eukaryotic cells. It is synthesized and stored in the endosperm cells of maturing Ricinus communis seeds (castor beans). The ricin family has two major members, both, lectins, [...] Read more.
Ricin is a heterodimeric plant protein that is potently toxic to mammalian and many other eukaryotic cells. It is synthesized and stored in the endosperm cells of maturing Ricinus communis seeds (castor beans). The ricin family has two major members, both, lectins, collectively known as Ricinus communis agglutinin ll (ricin) and Ricinus communis agglutinin l (RCA). These proteins are stored in vacuoles within the endosperm cells of mature Ricinus seeds and they are rapidly broken down by hydrolysis during the early stages of post-germinative growth. Both ricin and RCA traffic within the plant cell from their site of synthesis to the storage vacuoles, and when they intoxicate mammalian cells they traffic from outside the cell to their site of action. In this review we will consider both of these trafficking routes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ricin Toxin)
Open AccessArticle Comparative 1H NMR Metabolomic Urinalysis of People Diagnosed with Balkan Endemic Nephropathy, and Healthy Subjects, in Romania and Bulgaria: A Pilot Study
Toxins 2011, 3(7), 815-833; doi:10.3390/toxins3070815
Received: 30 May 2011 / Revised: 22 June 2011 / Accepted: 28 June 2011 / Published: 4 July 2011
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (640 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
1H NMR spectroscopy of urine has been applied to exploring metabolomic differences between people diagnosed with Balkan endemic nephropathy (BEN), and treated by haemodialysis, and those without overt renal disease in Romania and Bulgaria. Convenience sampling was made from patients receiving [...] Read more.
1H NMR spectroscopy of urine has been applied to exploring metabolomic differences between people diagnosed with Balkan endemic nephropathy (BEN), and treated by haemodialysis, and those without overt renal disease in Romania and Bulgaria. Convenience sampling was made from patients receiving haemodialysis in hospital and healthy controls in their village. Principal component analysis clustered healthy controls from both countries together. Bulgarian BEN patients clustered separately from controls, though in the same space. However, Romanian BEN patients not only also clustered away from controls but also clustered separately from the BEN patients in Bulgaria. Notably, the urinary metabolomic data of two people sampled as Romanian controls clustered within the Romanian BEN group. One of these had been suspected of incipient symptoms of BEN at the time of selection as a ‘healthy’ control. This implies, at first sight, that metabolomic analysis can be predictive of impending morbidity before conventional criteria can diagnose BEN. Separate clustering of BEN patients from Romania and Bulgaria could indicate difference in aetiology of this particular silent renal atrophy in different geographic foci across the Balkans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Uremic Toxins)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Adapting Yeast as Model to Study Ricin Toxin A Uptake and Trafficking
Toxins 2011, 3(7), 834-847; doi:10.3390/toxins3070834
Received: 7 June 2011 / Revised: 7 June 2011 / Accepted: 28 June 2011 / Published: 5 July 2011
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (708 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The plant A/B toxin ricin represents a heterodimeric glycoprotein belonging to the family of ribosome inactivating proteins, RIPs. Its toxicity towards eukaryotic cells results from the depurination of 28S rRNA due to the N-glycosidic activity of ricin toxin A chain, RTA. [...] Read more.
The plant A/B toxin ricin represents a heterodimeric glycoprotein belonging to the family of ribosome inactivating proteins, RIPs. Its toxicity towards eukaryotic cells results from the depurination of 28S rRNA due to the N-glycosidic activity of ricin toxin A chain, RTA. Since the extention of RTA by a mammalian-specific endoplasmic reticulum (ER) retention signal (KDEL) significantly increases RTA in vivo toxicity against mammalian cells, we here analyzed the phenotypic effect of RTA carrying the yeast-specific ER retention motif HDEL. Interestingly, such a toxin (RTAHDEL) showed a similar cytotoxic effect on yeast as a corresponding RTAKDEL variant on HeLa cells. Furthermore, we established a powerful yeast bioassay for RTA in vivo uptake and trafficking which is based on the measurement of dissolved oxygen in toxin-treated spheroplast cultures of S. cerevisiae. We show that yeast spheroplasts are highly sensitive against external applied RTA and further demonstrate that its toxicity is greatly enhanced by replacing the C-terminal KDEL motif by HDEL. Based on the RTA resistant phenotype seen in yeast knock-out mutants defective in early steps of endocytosis (∆end3) and/or in RTA depurination activity on 28S rRNA (∆rpl12B) we feel that the yeast-based bioassay described in this study is a powerful tool to dissect intracellular A/B toxin transport from the plasma membrane through the endosomal compartment to the ER. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ricin Toxin)
Open AccessArticle Gi/o Protein-Dependent and -Independent Actions of Pertussis Toxin (PTX)
Toxins 2011, 3(7), 884-899; doi:10.3390/toxins3070884
Received: 13 April 2011 / Revised: 14 June 2011 / Accepted: 16 June 2011 / Published: 15 July 2011
Cited by 24 | PDF Full-text (425 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pertussis toxin (PTX) is a typical A-B toxin. The A-protomer (S1 subunit) exhibits ADP-ribosyltransferase activity. The B-oligomer consists of four subunits (S2 to S5) and binds extracellular molecules that allow the toxin to enter the cells. The A-protomer ADP-ribosylates the α subunits [...] Read more.
Pertussis toxin (PTX) is a typical A-B toxin. The A-protomer (S1 subunit) exhibits ADP-ribosyltransferase activity. The B-oligomer consists of four subunits (S2 to S5) and binds extracellular molecules that allow the toxin to enter the cells. The A-protomer ADP-ribosylates the α subunits of heterotrimeric Gi/o proteins, resulting in the receptors being uncoupled from the Gi/o proteins. The B-oligomer binds proteins expressed on the cell surface, such as Toll-like receptor 4, and activates an intracellular signal transduction cascade. Thus, PTX modifies cellular responses by at least two different signaling pathways; ADP-ribosylation of the Gαi/o proteins by the A-protomer (Gi/o protein-dependent action) and the interaction of the B-oligomer with cell surface proteins (Gi/o protein-independent action). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Properties of Well-Characterized Toxins)
Open AccessArticle Isolation and Biochemical Characterization of Rubelase, a Non-Hemorrhagic Elastase from Crotalus ruber ruber (Red Rattlesnake) Venom
Toxins 2011, 3(7), 900-910; doi:10.3390/toxins3070900
Received: 9 May 2011 / Revised: 28 June 2011 / Accepted: 12 July 2011 / Published: 19 July 2011
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (420 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A novel non-hemorrhagic basic metalloprotease, rubelase, was isolated from the venom of Crotalus ruber ruber. Rubelase hydrolyzes succinyl-L-alanyl-L-alanyl-L-alanyl p-nitroanilide (STANA), a specific substrate for elastase, and the hydrolytic activity was inhibited by chelating agents. It also hydrolyzes collagen and fibrinogen. [...] Read more.
A novel non-hemorrhagic basic metalloprotease, rubelase, was isolated from the venom of Crotalus ruber ruber. Rubelase hydrolyzes succinyl-L-alanyl-L-alanyl-L-alanyl p-nitroanilide (STANA), a specific substrate for elastase, and the hydrolytic activity was inhibited by chelating agents. It also hydrolyzes collagen and fibrinogen. However, hemorrhagic activity was not observed. By ESI/Q-TOF and MALDI/TOF mass spectrometry combined with Edman sequencing procedure, the molecular mass of rubelase was determined to be 23,266 Da. Although its primary structure was similar to rubelysin (HT-2), a hemorrhagic metalloprotease isolated from the same snake venom, the circumstances surrounding putative zinc binding domain HEXXHXXGXXH were found to be different when the three-dimensional computer models of both metalloproteases were compared. The cytotoxic effects of rubelase and rubelysin on cultured endothelial and smooth muscle cells were also different, indicating that the substitution of several amino acid residues causes the changes of active-site conformation and cell preference. Full article
Open AccessArticle Protein-Bound Uremic Toxins: New Insight from Clinical Studies
Toxins 2011, 3(7), 911-919; doi:10.3390/toxins3070911
Received: 29 April 2011 / Revised: 28 June 2011 / Accepted: 5 July 2011 / Published: 20 July 2011
Cited by 27 | PDF Full-text (394 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The uremic syndrome is attributed to the progressive retention of a large number of compounds which, under normal conditions, are excreted by healthy kidneys. The compounds are called uremic toxins when they interact negatively with biological functions. The present review focuses on [...] Read more.
The uremic syndrome is attributed to the progressive retention of a large number of compounds which, under normal conditions, are excreted by healthy kidneys. The compounds are called uremic toxins when they interact negatively with biological functions. The present review focuses on a specific class of molecules, namely the family of protein-bound uremic toxins. Recent experimental studies have shown that protein-bound toxins are involved not only in the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD), but also in the generation and aggravation of cardiovascular disease. Two protein-bound uremic retention solutes, namely indoxyl sulfate and p-cresyl sulfate, have been shown to play a prominent role. However, although these two molecules belong to the same class of molecules, exert toxic effects on the cardiovascular system in experimental animals, and accumulate in the serum of patients with CKD they may have different clinical impacts in terms of cardiovascular disease and other complications. The principal aim of this review is to evaluate the effect of p-cresyl sulfate and indoxyl sulfate retention on CKD patient outcomes, based on recent clinical studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Uremic Toxins)
Open AccessArticle Spatial Patterns of Aflatoxin Levels in Relation to Ear-Feeding Insect Damage in Pre-Harvest Corn
Toxins 2011, 3(7), 920-931; doi:10.3390/toxins3070920
Received: 3 June 2011 / Revised: 30 June 2011 / Accepted: 15 July 2011 / Published: 21 July 2011
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (2005 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Key impediments to increased corn yield and quality in the southeastern US coastal plain region are damage by ear-feeding insects and aflatoxin contamination caused by infection of Aspergillus flavus. Key ear-feeding insects are corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea, fall armyworm, Spodoptera [...] Read more.
Key impediments to increased corn yield and quality in the southeastern US coastal plain region are damage by ear-feeding insects and aflatoxin contamination caused by infection of Aspergillus flavus. Key ear-feeding insects are corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea, fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, maize weevil, Sitophilus zeamais, and brown stink bug, Euschistus servus. In 2006 and 2007, aflatoxin contamination and insect damage were sampled before harvest in three 0.4-hectare corn fields using a grid sampling method. The feeding damage by each of ear/kernel-feeding insects (i.e., corn earworm/fall armyworm damage on the silk/cob, and discoloration of corn kernels by stink bugs), and maize weevil population were assessed at each grid point with five ears. The spatial distribution pattern of aflatoxin contamination was also assessed using the corn samples collected at each sampling point. Aflatoxin level was correlated to the number of maize weevils and stink bug-discolored kernels, but not closely correlated to either husk coverage or corn earworm damage. Contour maps of the maize weevil populations, stink bug-damaged kernels, and aflatoxin levels exhibited an aggregated distribution pattern with a strong edge effect on all three parameters. The separation of silk- and cob-feeding insects from kernel-feeding insects, as well as chewing (i.e., the corn earworm and maize weevil) and piercing-sucking insects (i.e., the stink bugs) and their damage in relation to aflatoxin accumulation is economically important. Both theoretic and applied ramifications of this study were discussed by proposing a hypothesis on the underlying mechanisms of the aggregated distribution patterns and strong edge effect of insect damage and aflatoxin contamination, and by discussing possible management tactics for aflatoxin reduction by proper management of kernel-feeding insects. Future directions on basic and applied research related to aflatoxin contamination are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aflatoxins 2011)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Trichothecenes: From Simple to Complex Mycotoxins
Toxins 2011, 3(7), 802-814; doi:10.3390/toxins3070802
Received: 26 May 2011 / Revised: 10 June 2011 / Accepted: 29 June 2011 / Published: 1 July 2011
Cited by 59 | PDF Full-text (165 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As the world’s population grows, access to a safe food supply will continue to be a global priority. In recent years, the world has experienced an increase in mycotoxin contamination of grains due to climatic and agronomic changes that encourage fungal growth [...] Read more.
As the world’s population grows, access to a safe food supply will continue to be a global priority. In recent years, the world has experienced an increase in mycotoxin contamination of grains due to climatic and agronomic changes that encourage fungal growth during cultivation. A number of the molds that are plant pathogens produce trichothecene mycotoxins, which are known to cause serious human and animal toxicoses. This review covers the types of trichothecenes, their complexity, and proposed biosynthetic pathways of trichothecenes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trichothecenes)
Open AccessReview Immunotoxins and Anticancer Drug Conjugate Assemblies: The Role of the Linkage between Components
Toxins 2011, 3(7), 848-883; doi:10.3390/toxins3070848
Received: 18 May 2011 / Revised: 2 July 2011 / Accepted: 6 July 2011 / Published: 14 July 2011
Cited by 31 | PDF Full-text (2024 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Immunotoxins and antibody-drug conjugates are protein-based drugs combining a target-specific binding domain with a cytotoxic domain. Such compounds are potentially therapeutic against diseases including cancer, and several clinical trials have shown encouraging results. Although the targeted elimination of malignant cells is an [...] Read more.
Immunotoxins and antibody-drug conjugates are protein-based drugs combining a target-specific binding domain with a cytotoxic domain. Such compounds are potentially therapeutic against diseases including cancer, and several clinical trials have shown encouraging results. Although the targeted elimination of malignant cells is an elegant concept, there are numerous practical challenges that limit conjugates’ therapeutic use, including inefficient cellular uptake, low cytotoxicity, and off-target effects. During the preparation of immunoconjugates by chemical synthesis, the choice of the hinge component joining the two building blocks is of paramount importance: the conjugate must remain stable in vivo but must afford efficient release of the toxic moiety when the target is reached. Vast efforts have been made, and the present article reviews strategies employed in developing immunoconjugates, focusing on the evolution of chemical linkers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunotoxins)

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