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Toxins, Volume 4, Issue 12 (December 2012), Pages 1415-1600

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Research

Open AccessArticle Cost-Effectiveness of Treating Upper Limb Spasticity Due to Stroke with Botulinum Toxin Type A: Results from the Botulinum Toxin for the Upper Limb after Stroke (BoTULS) Trial
Toxins 2012, 4(12), 1415-1426; doi:10.3390/toxins4121415
Received: 30 August 2012 / Revised: 12 November 2012 / Accepted: 21 November 2012 / Published: 27 November 2012
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (273 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Stroke imposes significant burdens on health services and society, and as such there is a growing need to assess the cost-effectiveness of stroke treatment to ensure maximum benefit is derived from limited resources. This study compared the cost-effectiveness of treating post-stroke upper limb
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Stroke imposes significant burdens on health services and society, and as such there is a growing need to assess the cost-effectiveness of stroke treatment to ensure maximum benefit is derived from limited resources. This study compared the cost-effectiveness of treating post-stroke upper limb spasticity with botulinum toxin type A plus an upper limb therapy programme against the therapy programme alone. Data on resource use and health outcomes were prospectively collected for 333 patients with post-stroke upper limb spasticity taking part in a randomized trial and combined to estimate the incremental cost per quality adjusted life year (QALY) gained of botulinum toxin type A plus therapy relative to therapy alone. The base case incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of botulinum toxin type A plus therapy was £93,500 per QALY gained. The probability of botulinum toxin type A plus therapy being cost-effective at the England and Wales cost-effectiveness threshold value of £20,000 per QALY was 0.36. The point estimates of the ICER remained above £20,000 per QALY for a range of sensitivity analyses, and the probability of botulinum toxin type A plus therapy being cost-effective at the threshold value did not exceed 0.39, regardless of the assumptions made. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clinical Use of Botulinum Toxins)
Open AccessArticle Interleukin-17 (IL-17) Expression Is Reduced during Acute Myocardial Infarction: Role on Chemokine Receptor Expression in Monocytes and Their in Vitro Chemotaxis towards Chemokines
Toxins 2012, 4(12), 1427-1439; doi:10.3390/toxins4121427
Received: 15 November 2012 / Revised: 27 November 2012 / Accepted: 28 November 2012 / Published: 30 November 2012
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (825 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The roles of immune cells and their soluble products during myocardial infarction (MI) are not completely understood. Here, we observed that the percentages of IL-17, but not IL-22, producing cells are reduced in mice splenocytes after developing MI. To correlate this finding with
[...] Read more.
The roles of immune cells and their soluble products during myocardial infarction (MI) are not completely understood. Here, we observed that the percentages of IL-17, but not IL-22, producing cells are reduced in mice splenocytes after developing MI. To correlate this finding with the functional activity of IL-17, we sought to determine its effect on monocytes. In particular, we presumed that this cytokine might affect the chemotaxis of monocytes important for cardiac inflammation and remodeling. We observed that IL-17 tends to reduce the expression of two major chemokine receptors involved in monocyte chemotaxis, namely CCR2 and CXCR4. Further analysis showed that monocytes pretreated with IL-17 have reduced in vitro chemotaxis towards the ligand for CCR2, i.e., MCP-1/CCL2, and the ligand for CXCR4, i.e., SDF-1α/CXCL12. Our results support the possibility that IL-17 may be beneficial in MI, and this could be due to its ability to inhibit the migration of monocytes. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Toxicity and Therapeutic Interventions in the Immune System)
Open AccessArticle Occurrence of Ochratoxin A in the Wild Boar (Sus scrofa): Chemical and Histological Analysis
Toxins 2012, 4(12), 1440-1450; doi:10.3390/toxins4121440
Received: 11 September 2012 / Revised: 30 October 2012 / Accepted: 23 November 2012 / Published: 4 December 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2383 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ochratoxins are fungal secondary metabolites that may contaminate a broad variety of foodstuffs, such as grains, vegetables, coffee, dried fruits, beer, wine and meats. Ochratoxins are nephrotoxins, carcinogens, teratogens and immunotoxins in rats and are also likely to be in humans. In 2009/2010,
[...] Read more.
Ochratoxins are fungal secondary metabolites that may contaminate a broad variety of foodstuffs, such as grains, vegetables, coffee, dried fruits, beer, wine and meats. Ochratoxins are nephrotoxins, carcinogens, teratogens and immunotoxins in rats and are also likely to be in humans. In 2009/2010, a survey of the presence of Ochratoxin A (OTA) in regularly hunted wild boars in the Calabria region of southern Italy detected OTA in 23 animals in the kidney, urinary bladder, liver and muscles: 1.1 ± 1.15, 0.6 ± 0.58, 0.5 ± 0.54 and 0.3 ± 0.26 μg/kg, respectively. Twelve tissue samples showed levels of OTA higher than the guideline level (1 μg/kg) established by the Italian Ministry of Health. In five wild boars, gross-microscopic lesions were described for the organs displaying the highest concentrations of OTA determined by HPLC-FLD analysis, i.e., the kidney, liver and urinary bladder. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycotoxins in Food and Feed)
Open AccessArticle MHC Class II and Non-MHC Class II Genes Differentially Influence Humoral Immunity to Bacillus anthracis Lethal Factor and Protective Antigen
Toxins 2012, 4(12), 1451-1467; doi:10.3390/toxins4121451
Received: 22 August 2012 / Revised: 16 November 2012 / Accepted: 28 November 2012 / Published: 5 December 2012
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (330 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Anthrax Lethal Toxin consists of Protective Antigen (PA) and Lethal Factor (LF), and current vaccination strategies focus on eliciting antibodies to PA. In human vaccination, the response to PA can vary greatly, and the response is often directed toward non-neutralizing epitopes. Variable vaccine
[...] Read more.
Anthrax Lethal Toxin consists of Protective Antigen (PA) and Lethal Factor (LF), and current vaccination strategies focus on eliciting antibodies to PA. In human vaccination, the response to PA can vary greatly, and the response is often directed toward non-neutralizing epitopes. Variable vaccine responses have been shown to be due in part to genetic differences in individuals, with both MHC class II and other genes playing roles. Here, we investigated the relative contribution of MHC class II versus non-MHC class II genes in the humoral response to PA and LF immunization using three immunized strains of inbred mice: A/J (H-2k at the MHC class II locus), B6 (H-2b), and B6.H2k (H-2k). IgG antibody titers to LF were controlled primarily by the MHC class II locus, whereas IgG titers to PA were strongly influenced by the non-MHC class II genetic background. Conversely, the humoral fine specificity of reactivity to LF appeared to be controlled primarily through non-MHC class II genes, while the specificity of reactivity to PA was more dependent on MHC class II. Common epitopes, reactive in all strains, occurred in both LF and PA responses. These results demonstrate that MHC class II differentially influences humoral immune responses to LF and PA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxin-Antibody Interactions)
Open AccessArticle A Saccharomyces cerevisiae Wine Strain Inhibits Growth and Decreases Ochratoxin A Biosynthesis by Aspergillus carbonarius and Aspergillus ochraceus
Toxins 2012, 4(12), 1468-1481; doi:10.3390/toxins4121468
Received: 13 August 2012 / Revised: 8 November 2012 / Accepted: 30 November 2012 / Published: 10 December 2012
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (577 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this study was to select wine yeast strains as biocontrol agents against fungal contaminants responsible for the accumulation of ochratoxin A (OTA) in grape and wine and to dissect the mechanism of OTA detoxification by a Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain (DISAABA1182),
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The aim of this study was to select wine yeast strains as biocontrol agents against fungal contaminants responsible for the accumulation of ochratoxin A (OTA) in grape and wine and to dissect the mechanism of OTA detoxification by a Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain (DISAABA1182), which had previously been reported to reduce OTA in a synthetic must. All of the yeast strains tested displayed an ability to inhibit the growth of Aspergillus carbonarius both in vivo and in vitro and addition of culture filtrates from the tested isolates led to complete inhibition of OTA production. S. cerevisiae DISAABA1182 was selected and further tested for its capacity to inhibit OTA production and pks (polyketide synthase) transcription in A. carbonarius and Aspergillus ochraceus in vitro. In order to dissect the mechanism of OTA detoxification, each of these two fungi was co-cultured with living yeast cells exposed to yeast crude or to autoclaved supernatant: S. cerevisiae DISAABA1182 was found to inhibit mycelial growth and OTA production in both Aspergilli when co-cultured in the OTA-inducing YES medium. Moreover, a decrease in pks transcription was observed in the presence of living cells of S. cerevisiae DISAABA1182 or its supernatant, while no effects were observed on transcription of either of the constitutively expressed calmodulin and β-tubulin genes. This suggests that transcriptional regulation of OTA biosynthetic genes takes place during the interaction between DISAABA1182 and OTA-producing Aspergilli. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycotoxins in Food and Feed)
Open AccessArticle Nodularin Exposure Induces SOD1 Phosphorylation and Disrupts SOD1 Co-localization with Actin Filaments
Toxins 2012, 4(12), 1482-1499; doi:10.3390/toxins4121482
Received: 27 September 2012 / Revised: 30 November 2012 / Accepted: 6 December 2012 / Published: 14 December 2012
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Abstract
Apoptotic cell death is induced in primary hepatocytes by the Ser/Thr protein phosphatase inhibiting cyanobacterial toxin nodularin after only minutes of exposure. Nodularin-induced apoptosis involves a rapid development of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can be delayed by the Ca2+/calmodulin protein
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Apoptotic cell death is induced in primary hepatocytes by the Ser/Thr protein phosphatase inhibiting cyanobacterial toxin nodularin after only minutes of exposure. Nodularin-induced apoptosis involves a rapid development of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can be delayed by the Ca2+/calmodulin protein kinase II inhibitor KN93. This apoptosis model provides us with a unique population of highly synchronized dying cells, making it possible to identify low abundant phosphoproteins participating in apoptosis signaling. Here, we show that nodularin induces phosphorylation and possibly also cysteine oxidation of the antioxidant Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1), without altering enzymatic SOD1 activity. The observed post-translational modifications of SOD1 could be regulated by Ca2+/calmodulin protein kinase II. In untreated hepatocytes, a high concentration of SOD1 was found in the sub-membranous area, co-localized with the cortical actin cytoskeleton. In the early phase of nodularin exposure, SOD1 was found in high concentration in evenly distributed apoptotic buds. Nodularin induced a rapid reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton and, at the time of polarized budding, SOD1 and actin filaments no longer co-localized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxins from Aquatic Organisms)
Open AccessArticle In Vitro Antiplasmodial Activity of Phospholipases A2 and a Phospholipase Homologue Isolated from the Venom of the Snake Bothrops asper
Toxins 2012, 4(12), 1500-1516; doi:10.3390/toxins4121500
Received: 2 November 2012 / Revised: 23 November 2012 / Accepted: 30 November 2012 / Published: 14 December 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1639 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The antimicrobial and antiparasite activity of phospholipase A2 (PLA2) from snakes and bees has been extensively explored. We studied the antiplasmodial effect of the whole venom of the snake Bothrops asper and of two fractions purified by ion-exchange chromatography: one
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The antimicrobial and antiparasite activity of phospholipase A2 (PLA2) from snakes and bees has been extensively explored. We studied the antiplasmodial effect of the whole venom of the snake Bothrops asper and of two fractions purified by ion-exchange chromatography: one containing catalytically-active phospholipases A2 (PLA2) (fraction V) and another containing a PLA2 homologue devoid of enzymatic activity (fraction VI). The antiplasmodial effect was assessed on in vitro cultures of Plasmodium falciparum. The whole venom of B. asper, as well as its fractions V and VI, were active against the parasite at 0.13 ± 0.01 µg/mL, 1.42 ± 0.56 µg/mL and 22.89 ± 1.22 µg/mL, respectively. Differences in the cytotoxic activity on peripheral blood mononuclear cells between the whole venom and fractions V and VI were observed, fraction V showing higher toxicity than total venom and fraction VI. Regarding toxicity in mice, the whole venom showed the highest lethal effect in comparison to fractions V and VI. These results suggest that B. asper PLA2 and its homologue have antiplasmodial potential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxins as Therapeutics)
Open AccessArticle Verotoxin A Subunit Protects Lymphocytes and T Cell Lines against X4 HIV Infection in Vitro
Toxins 2012, 4(12), 1517-1534; doi:10.3390/toxins4121517
Received: 22 October 2012 / Revised: 24 November 2012 / Accepted: 6 December 2012 / Published: 14 December 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (683 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Our previous genetic, pharmacological and analogue protection studies identified the glycosphingolipid, Gb3 (globotriaosylceramide, Pk blood group antigen) as a natural resistance factor for HIV infection. Gb3 is a B cell marker (CD77), but a fraction of activated peripheral blood mononuclear
[...] Read more.
Our previous genetic, pharmacological and analogue protection studies identified the glycosphingolipid, Gb3 (globotriaosylceramide, Pk blood group antigen) as a natural resistance factor for HIV infection. Gb3 is a B cell marker (CD77), but a fraction of activated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) can also express Gb3. Activated PBMCs predominantly comprise CD4+ T-cells, the primary HIV infection target. Gb3 is the sole receptor for Escherichia coli verotoxins (VTs, Shiga toxins). VT1 contains a ribosome inactivating A subunit (VT1A) non-covalently associated with five smaller receptor-binding B subunits. The effect of VT on PHA/IL2-activated PBMC HIV susceptibility was determined. Following VT1 (or VT2) PBMC treatment during IL2/PHA activation, the small Gb3+/CD4+ T-cell subset was eliminated but, surprisingly, remaining CD4+ T-cell HIV-1IIIB (and HIV-1Ba-L) susceptibility was significantly reduced. The Gb3-Jurkat T-cell line was similarly protected by brief VT exposure prior to HIV-1IIIB infection. The efficacy of the VT1A subunit alone confirmed receptor independent protection. VT1 showed no binding or obvious Jurkat cell/PBMC effect. Protective VT1 concentrations reduced PBMC (but not Jurkat cell) proliferation by 50%. This may relate to the mechanism of action since HIV replication requires primary T-cell proliferation. Microarray analysis of VT1A-treated PBMCs indicated up regulation of 30 genes. Three of the top four were histone genes, suggesting HIV protection via reduced gene activation. VT blocked HDAC inhibitor enhancement of HIV infection, consistent with a histone-mediated mechanism. We speculate that VT1A may provide a benign approach to reduction of (X4 or R5) HIV cell susceptibility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Properties of Well-Characterized Toxins)
Open AccessArticle Wavelength-Dependent Degradation of Ochratoxin and Citrinin by Light in Vitro and in Vivo and Its Implications on Penicillium
Toxins 2012, 4(12), 1535-1551; doi:10.3390/toxins4121535
Received: 8 October 2012 / Revised: 27 November 2012 / Accepted: 6 December 2012 / Published: 14 December 2012
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (659 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It has previously been shown that the biosynthesis of the mycotoxins ochratoxin A and B and of citrinin by Penicillium is regulated by light. However, not only the biosynthesis of these mycotoxins, but also the molecules themselves are strongly affected by light of
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It has previously been shown that the biosynthesis of the mycotoxins ochratoxin A and B and of citrinin by Penicillium is regulated by light. However, not only the biosynthesis of these mycotoxins, but also the molecules themselves are strongly affected by light of certain wavelengths. The white light and blue light of 470 and 455 nm are especially able to degrade ochratoxin A, ochratoxin B and citrinin after exposure for a certain time. After the same treatment of the secondary metabolites with red (627 nm), yellow (590 nm) or green (530 nm) light or in the dark, almost no degradation occurred during that time indicating the blue light as the responsible part of the spectrum. The two derivatives of ochratoxin (A and B) are degraded to certain definitive degradation products which were characterized by HPLC-FLD-FTMS. The degradation products of ochratoxin A and B did no longer contain phenylalanine however were still chlorinated in the case of ochratoxin A. Citrinin is completely degraded by blue light. A fluorescent band was no longer visible after detection by TLC suggesting a higher sensitivity and apparently greater absorbance of energy by citrinin. The fact that especially blue light degrades the three secondary metabolites is apparently attributed to the absorption spectra of the metabolites which all have an optimum in the short wave length range. The absorption range of citrinin is, in particular, broader and includes the wave length of blue light. In wheat, which was contaminated with an ochratoxin A producing culture of Penicillium verrucosum and treated with blue light after a pre-incubation by the fungus, the concentration of the preformed ochratoxin A reduced by roughly 50% compared to the control and differed by > 90% compared to the sample incubated further in the dark. This indicates that the light degrading effect is also exerted in vivo, e.g., on food surfaces. The biological consequences of the light instability of the toxins are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ochratoxins)
Open AccessArticle Binding of Hanatoxin to the Voltage Sensor of Kv2.1
Toxins 2012, 4(12), 1552-1564; doi:10.3390/toxins4121552
Received: 26 November 2012 / Revised: 10 December 2012 / Accepted: 14 December 2012 / Published: 18 December 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1292 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Hanatoxin 1 (HaTx1) is a polypeptide toxin isolated from spider venoms. HaTx1 inhibits the voltage-gated potassium channel kv2.1 potently with nanomolar affinities. Its receptor site has been shown to contain the S3b-S4a paddle of the voltage sensor (VS). Here, the binding of HaTx1
[...] Read more.
Hanatoxin 1 (HaTx1) is a polypeptide toxin isolated from spider venoms. HaTx1 inhibits the voltage-gated potassium channel kv2.1 potently with nanomolar affinities. Its receptor site has been shown to contain the S3b-S4a paddle of the voltage sensor (VS). Here, the binding of HaTx1 to the VSs of human Kv2.1 in the open and resting states are examined using a molecular docking method and molecular dynamics. Molecular docking calculations predict two distinct binding modes for the VS in the resting state. In the two binding modes, the toxin binds the S3b-S4a from S2 and S3 helices, or from S1 and S4 helices. Both modes are found to be stable when embedded in a lipid bilayer. Only the mode in which the toxin binds the S3b-S4a paddle from S2 and S3 helices is consistent with mutagenesis experiments, and considered to be correct. The toxin is then docked to the VS in the open state, and the toxin-VS interactions are found to be less favorable. Computational mutagenesis calculations performed on F278R and E281K mutant VSs show that the mutations may reduce toxin binding affinity by weakening the non-bonded interactions between the toxin and the VS. Overall, our calculations reproduce a wide range of experimental data, and suggest that HaTx1 binds to the S3b-S4a paddle of Kv2.1 from S2 and S3 helices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Venoms)
Open AccessArticle Sheep Monoclonal Antibodies Prevent Systemic Effects of Botulinum Neurotoxin A1
Toxins 2012, 4(12), 1565-1581; doi:10.3390/toxins4121565
Received: 22 November 2012 / Revised: 13 December 2012 / Accepted: 13 December 2012 / Published: 19 December 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (562 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) is responsible for causing botulism, a potentially fatal disease characterized by paralysis of skeletal muscle. Existing specific treatments include polyclonal antisera derived from immunized humans or horses. Both preparations have similar drawbacks, including limited supply, risk of adverse effects and
[...] Read more.
Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) is responsible for causing botulism, a potentially fatal disease characterized by paralysis of skeletal muscle. Existing specific treatments include polyclonal antisera derived from immunized humans or horses. Both preparations have similar drawbacks, including limited supply, risk of adverse effects and batch to batch variation. Here, we describe a panel of six highly protective sheep monoclonal antibodies (SMAbs) derived from sheep immunized with BoNT/A1 toxoid (SMAbs 2G11, 4F7) or BoNT/A1 heavy chain C-terminus (HcC) (SMAbs 1G4, 5E2, 5F7, 16F9) with or without subsequent challenge immunization with BoNT/A1 toxin. Although each SMAb bound BoNT/A1 toxin, differences in specificity for native and recombinant constituents of BoNT/A1 were observed. Structural differences were suggested by pI (5E2 = 8.2; 2G11 = 7.1; 4F7 = 8.8; 1G4 = 7.4; 5F7 = 8.0; 16F9 = 5.1). SMAb protective efficacy vs. 10,000 LD50 BoNT/A1 was evaluated using the mouse lethality assay. Although not protective alone, divalent and trivalent combinations of SMabs, IG4, 5F7 and/or 16F9 were highly protective. Divalent combinations containing 0.5–4 μg/SMAb (1–8 μg total SMAb) were 100% protective against death with only mild signs of botulism observed; relative efficacy of each combination was 1G4 + 5F7 > 1G4 + 16F9 >> 5F7 + 16F9. The trivalent combination of 1G4 + 5F7 + 16F9 at 0.25 μg/SMAb (0.75 μg total SMAb) was 100% protective against clinical signs and death. These results reflect levels of protective potency not reported previously. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxin-Antibody Interactions)
Open AccessArticle Association with AflR in Endosomes Reveals New Functions for AflJ in Aflatoxin Biosynthesis
Toxins 2012, 4(12), 1582-1600; doi:10.3390/toxins4121582
Received: 19 November 2012 / Revised: 5 December 2012 / Accepted: 12 December 2012 / Published: 19 December 2012
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (919 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Aflatoxins are the most potent naturally occurring carcinogens of fungal origin. Biosynthesis of aflatoxin involves the coordinated expression of more than 25 genes. The function of one gene in the aflatoxin gene cluster, aflJ, is not entirely understood but, because previous studies demonstrated
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Aflatoxins are the most potent naturally occurring carcinogens of fungal origin. Biosynthesis of aflatoxin involves the coordinated expression of more than 25 genes. The function of one gene in the aflatoxin gene cluster, aflJ, is not entirely understood but, because previous studies demonstrated a physical interaction between the Zn2Cys6 transcription factor AflR and AflJ, AflJ was proposed to act as a transcriptional co-activator. Image analysis revealed that, in the absence of aflJ in A. parasiticus, endosomes cluster within cells and near septa. AflJ fused to yellow fluorescent protein complemented the mutation in A. parasiticus ΔaflJ and localized mainly in endosomes. We found that AflJ co-localizes with AflR both in endosomes and in nuclei. Chromatin immunoprecipitation did not detect AflJ binding at known AflR DNA recognition sites suggesting that AflJ either does not bind to these sites or binds to them transiently. Based on these data, we hypothesize that AflJ assists in AflR transport to or from the nucleus, thus controlling the availability of AflR for transcriptional activation of aflatoxin biosynthesis cluster genes. AflJ may also assist in directing endosomes to the cytoplasmic membrane for aflatoxin export. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycotoxins in Food and Feed)

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