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Toxins, Volume 5, Issue 12 (December 2013), Pages 2293-2685

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Open AccessArticle Exposure Assessment for Italian Population Groups to Deoxynivalenol Deriving from Pasta Consumption
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2293-2309; doi:10.3390/toxins5122293
Received: 17 October 2013 / Revised: 18 November 2013 / Accepted: 19 November 2013 / Published: 26 November 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (272 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Four hundred and seventy-two pasta samples were collected from long retail distribution chain sales points located in North, Central and South Italy. Representative criteria in the sample collection were followed in terms of number of samples collected, market share, and types of [...] Read more.
Four hundred and seventy-two pasta samples were collected from long retail distribution chain sales points located in North, Central and South Italy. Representative criteria in the sample collection were followed in terms of number of samples collected, market share, and types of pasta. Samples were analysed by an accredited HPLC-UV method of analysis. The mean contamination level (64.8 μg/kg) of deoxynivalenol (DON) was  in the 95th percentile (239 μg/kg) and 99th percentile (337 μg/kg), far below the legal limit (750 μg/kg) set by Regulation EC/1126/2007, accounting for about one tenth, one third and half the legal limit, respectively. Ninety-nine percent of samples fell below half the legal limit. On the basis of the obtained occurrence levels and considering the consumption rates reported by the Italian official database, no health concern was assessed for all consumer groups, being that exposure was far below the Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) of 1000 ng/kg b.w/day. Nevertheless, despite this, particular attention should be devoted to the exposure to DON by high consumers, such as children aged 3–5 years, who could reach the TDI even with very low levels of DON contamination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances and Perspectives in Deoxynivalenol Research)
Open AccessArticle Influence of Fermentation and Drying Materials on the Contamination of Cocoa Beans by Ochratoxin A
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2310-2323; doi:10.3390/toxins5122310
Received: 17 September 2013 / Revised: 5 November 2013 / Accepted: 6 November 2013 / Published: 28 November 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1696 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a mycotoxin produced mainly by species of Aspergillus and Penicillium. Contamination of food with OTA is a major consumer health hazard. In Cote D’Ivoire, preventing OTA contamination has been the subject of extensive study. The current study [...] Read more.
Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a mycotoxin produced mainly by species of Aspergillus and Penicillium. Contamination of food with OTA is a major consumer health hazard. In Cote D’Ivoire, preventing OTA contamination has been the subject of extensive study. The current study was conducted to evaluate the influence of fermentation and drying materials on the OTA content in cocoa. For each test, 7000 intact cocoa pods were collected, split open to remove the beans, fermented using 1 of 3 different materials, sun-dried on 1 of 3 different platform types and stored for 30 days. A total of 22 samples were collected at each stage of post-harvesting operations. The OTA content in the extracted samples was then quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography. OTA was detected in beans at all stages of post-harvesting operations at varying levels: pod-opening (0.025 ± 0.02 mg/kg), fermentation (0.275 ± 0.2 mg/kg), drying (0.569 ± 0.015 mg/kg), and storage (0.558 ± 0.04 mg/kg). No significant relationships between the detected OTA level and the materials used in the fermentation and drying of cocoa were observed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Impact of pH on the Stability and the Cross-Reactivity of Ochratoxin A and Citrinin
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2324-2340; doi:10.3390/toxins5122324
Received: 15 September 2013 / Revised: 21 November 2013 / Accepted: 22 November 2013 / Published: 28 November 2013
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (327 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by several fungi contaminating crops. In several countries, the maximum permitted levels of mycotoxins are found in foodstuffs and feedstuffs. The common strategy of mycotoxin analysis involves extraction, clean-up and quantification by chromatography. In this paper, we [...] Read more.
Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by several fungi contaminating crops. In several countries, the maximum permitted levels of mycotoxins are found in foodstuffs and feedstuffs. The common strategy of mycotoxin analysis involves extraction, clean-up and quantification by chromatography. In this paper, we analyzed the reasons of underestimation of ochratoxin A (OTA) content in wine, and overestimation of OTA in wheat, depending on the pH of the clean-up step and the simultaneous presence of citrinin (CIT). We demonstrated that the increase of pH by adding polyethylene glycol (PEG) to wine led to an underestimation of OTA by conversion of OTA into open ring ochratoxin A OP-OA. In comparing three methods of extraction and clean-up for the determination of OTA and CIT in wheat—(i) an inter-laboratory validated method for OTA in cereals using immunoaffinity column clean-up (IAC) and extraction by acetonitrile/water; (ii) a validated method using IAC and extraction with 1% bicarbonate Na; and (iii) an in-house validated method based on acid liquid/liquid extraction—we observed an overestimation of OTA after immunoaffinity clean-up when CIT is also present in the sample, whereas an underestimation was observed when OTA was alone. Under neutral and alkaline conditions, CIT was partially recognized by OTA antibodies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Ochratoxins Research)
Open AccessArticle Deoxynivanelol and Fumonisin, Alone or in Combination, Induce Changes on Intestinal Junction Complexes and in E-Cadherin Expression
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2341-2352; doi:10.3390/toxins5122341
Received: 11 October 2013 / Revised: 10 November 2013 / Accepted: 13 November 2013 / Published: 28 November 2013
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (723 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fusariotoxins such as fumonisin B1 (FB1) and deoxynivalenol (DON) cause deleterious effects on the intestine of pigs. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of these mycotoxins, alone and in combination, on jejunal explants from piglets, using histological, immunohistochemical [...] Read more.
Fusariotoxins such as fumonisin B1 (FB1) and deoxynivalenol (DON) cause deleterious effects on the intestine of pigs. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of these mycotoxins, alone and in combination, on jejunal explants from piglets, using histological, immunohistochemical and ultrastructural assays. Five 24-day old pigs were used for sampling the explants. Forty-eight explants were sampled from each animal. Explants were incubated for 4 hours in culture medium and medium containing FB1 (100 µM), DON (10 µM) and both mycotoxins (100 µM FB1 plus 10 µM DON). Exposure to all treatments induced a significant decrease in the normal intestinal morphology and in the number of goblet cells, which were more severe in explants exposed to DON and both mycotoxins. A significant reduction in villus height occurred in groups treated with DON and with co-contamination. Expression of E-cadherin was significantly reduced in explants exposed to FB1 (40%), DON (93%) and FB1 plus DON (100%). The ultrastructural assay showed increased intercellular spaces and no junction complexes on enterocytes exposed to mycotoxins. The present data indicate that FB1 and DON induce changes in cell junction complexes that could contribute to increase paracellular permeability. The ex vivo model was adequate for assessing intestinal toxicity induced by exposure of isolated or associated concentrations of 100 µM of FB1 and 10 µM of DON. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances and Perspectives in Deoxynivalenol Research)
Open AccessArticle An Extract of Rhodobacter sphaeroides Reduces Cisplatin-Induced Nephrotoxicity in Mice
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2353-2365; doi:10.3390/toxins5122353
Received: 6 September 2013 / Revised: 18 November 2013 / Accepted: 25 November 2013 / Published: 29 November 2013
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (1414 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cisplatin is used as a treatment for various types of solid tumors. Renal injury severely limits the use of cisplatin. Renal cell apoptosis, oxidative stress, and inflammation contribute to cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity. Previously, we found that an extract of Rhodobacter sphaeroides (Lycogen™) inhibited [...] Read more.
Cisplatin is used as a treatment for various types of solid tumors. Renal injury severely limits the use of cisplatin. Renal cell apoptosis, oxidative stress, and inflammation contribute to cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity. Previously, we found that an extract of Rhodobacter sphaeroides (Lycogen™) inhibited proinflammatory cytokines and the production of nitric oxide in activated macrophages in a dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis model. Here, we evaluated the effect of Lycogen™, a potent anti-inflammatory agent, in mice with cisplatin-induced renal injury. We found that attenuated renal injury correlated with decreased apoptosis due to a reduction in caspase-3 expression in renal cells. Oral administration of Lycogen™ significantly reduced the expression of tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β in mice with renal injury. Lycogen™ reduces renal dysfunction in mice with cisplatin-induced renal injury. The protective effects of the treatment included blockage of the cisplatin-induced elevation in serum urea nitrogen and creatinine. Meanwhile, Lycogen™ attenuated body weight loss and significantly prolonged the survival of mice with renal injury. We propose that Lycogen™ exerts anti-inflammatory activities that represent a promising strategy for the treatment of cisplatin-induced renal injury. Full article
Open AccessArticle Different Assay Conditions for Detecting the Production and Release of Heat-Labile and Heat-Stable Toxins in Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli Isolates
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2384-2402; doi:10.3390/toxins5122384
Received: 13 September 2013 / Revised: 19 November 2013 / Accepted: 21 November 2013 / Published: 2 December 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (343 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) produce heat-labile (LT) and/or heat-stable enterotoxins (ST). Despite that, the mechanism of action of both toxins are well known, there is great controversy in the literature concerning the in vitro production and release of LT and, for ST, [...] Read more.
Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) produce heat-labile (LT) and/or heat-stable enterotoxins (ST). Despite that, the mechanism of action of both toxins are well known, there is great controversy in the literature concerning the in vitro production and release of LT and, for ST, no major concerns have been discussed. Furthermore, the majority of published papers describe the use of only one or a few ETEC isolates to define the production and release of these toxins, which hinders the detection of ETEC by phenotypic approaches. Thus, the present study was undertaken to obtain a better understanding of ST and LT toxin production and release under laboratory conditions. Accordingly, a collection of 90 LT-, ST-, and ST/LT-producing ETEC isolates was used to determine a protocol for toxin production and release aimed at ETEC detection. For this, we used previously raised anti-LT antibodies and the anti-ST monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies described herein. The presence of bile salts and the use of certain antibiotics improved ETEC toxin production/release. Triton X-100, as chemical treatment, proved to be an alternative method for toxin release. Consequently, a common protocol that can increase the production and release of LT and ST toxins could facilitate and enhance the sensitivity of diagnostic tests for ETEC using the raised and described antibodies in the present work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Toxin Detection)
Open AccessArticle Molecular Cloning and Pharmacological Properties of an Acidic PLA2 from Bothrops pauloensis Snake Venom
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2403-2419; doi:10.3390/toxins5122403
Received: 14 August 2013 / Revised: 13 November 2013 / Accepted: 21 November 2013 / Published: 4 December 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1026 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this work, we describe the molecular cloning and pharmacological properties of an acidic phospholipase A2 (PLA2) isolated from Bothrops pauloensis snake venom. This enzyme, denominated BpPLA2-TXI, was purified by four chromatographic steps and represents 2.4% [...] Read more.
In this work, we describe the molecular cloning and pharmacological properties of an acidic phospholipase A2 (PLA2) isolated from Bothrops pauloensis snake venom. This enzyme, denominated BpPLA2-TXI, was purified by four chromatographic steps and represents 2.4% of the total snake venom protein content. BpPLA2-TXI is a monomeric protein with a molecular mass of 13.6 kDa, as demonstrated by Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF) analysis and its theoretical isoelectric point was 4.98. BpPLA2-TXI was catalytically active and showed some pharmacological effects such as inhibition of platelet aggregation induced by collagen or ADP and also induced edema and myotoxicity. BpPLA2-TXI displayed low cytotoxicity on TG-180 (CCRF S 180 II) and Ovarian Carcinoma (OVCAR-3), whereas no cytotoxicity was found in regard to MEF (Mouse Embryonic Fibroblast) and Sarcoma 180 (TIB-66). The N-terminal sequence of forty-eight amino acid residues was determined by Edman degradation. In addition, the complete primary structure of 122 amino acids was deduced by cDNA from the total RNA of the venom gland using specific primers, and it was significantly similar to other acidic D49 PLA2s. The phylogenetic analyses showed that BpPLA2-TXI forms a group with other acidic D49 PLA2s from the gender Bothrops, which are characterized by a catalytic activity associated with anti-platelet effects. Full article
Open AccessArticle Preliminary Results of the in Vivo and in Vitro Characterization of a Tentacle Venom Fraction from the Jellyfish Aurelia aurita
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2420-2433; doi:10.3390/toxins5122420
Received: 9 October 2013 / Revised: 1 November 2013 / Accepted: 4 November 2013 / Published: 6 December 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (993 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The neurotoxic effects produced by a tentacle venom extract and a fraction were analyzed and correlated by in vivo and in vitro approaches. The tentacle venom extract exhibited a wide range of protein components (from 24 to >225 kDa) and produced tetanic [...] Read more.
The neurotoxic effects produced by a tentacle venom extract and a fraction were analyzed and correlated by in vivo and in vitro approaches. The tentacle venom extract exhibited a wide range of protein components (from 24 to >225 kDa) and produced tetanic reactions, flaccid paralysis, and death when injected into crabs. Two chromatography fractions also produced uncontrolled appendix movements and leg stretching. Further electrophysiological characterization demonstrated that one of these fractions potently inhibited ACh-elicited currents mediated by both vertebrate fetal and adult muscle nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) subtypes. Receptor inhibition was concentration-dependent and completely reversible. The calculated IC50 values were 1.77 μg/μL for fetal and 2.28 μg/μL for adult muscle nAChRs. The bioactive fraction was composed of a major protein component at ~90 kDa and lacked phospholipase A activity. This work represents the first insight into the interaction of jellyfish venom components and muscle nicotinic receptors. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
Open AccessArticle Appearance of Planktothrix rubescens Bloom with [D-Asp3, Mdha7]MC–RR in Gravel Pit Pond of a Shallow Lake-Dominated Area
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2434-2455; doi:10.3390/toxins5122434
Received: 10 September 2013 / Revised: 3 December 2013 / Accepted: 4 December 2013 / Published: 12 December 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (938 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Blooms of toxic cyanobacteria are well-known phenomena in many regions of the world. Microcystin (MC), the most frequent cyanobacterial toxin, is produced by entirely different cyanobacteria, including unicellular, multicellular filamentous, heterocytic, and non-heterocytic bloom-forming species. Planktothrix is one of the most important [...] Read more.
Blooms of toxic cyanobacteria are well-known phenomena in many regions of the world. Microcystin (MC), the most frequent cyanobacterial toxin, is produced by entirely different cyanobacteria, including unicellular, multicellular filamentous, heterocytic, and non-heterocytic bloom-forming species. Planktothrix is one of the most important MC-producing genera in temperate lakes. The reddish color of cyanobacterial blooms viewed in a gravel pit pond with the appearance of a dense 3 cm thick layer (biovolume: 28.4 mm3 L−1) was an unexpected observation in the shallow lake-dominated alluvial region of the Carpathian Basin. [d-Asp3, Mdha7]MC–RR was identified from the blooms sample by MALDI-TOF and NMR. Concentrations of [d-Asp3, Mdha7]MC–RR were measured by capillary electrophoresis to compare the microcystin content of the field samples and the isolated, laboratory-maintained P. rubescens strain. In analyzing the MC gene cluster of the isolated P. rubescens strain, a deletion in the spacer region between mcyE and mcyG and an insertion were located in the spacer region between mcyT and mcyD. The insertion elements were sequenced and partly identified. Although some invasive tropical cyanobacterial species have been given a great deal of attention in many recent studies, our results draw attention to the spread of the alpine organism P. rubescens as a MC-producing, bloom-forming species. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
Open AccessArticle Evolution Stings: The Origin and Diversification of Scorpion Toxin Peptide Scaffolds
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2456-2487; doi:10.3390/toxins5122456
Received: 21 November 2013 / Revised: 9 December 2013 / Accepted: 9 December 2013 / Published: 13 December 2013
Cited by 20 | PDF Full-text (5767 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The episodic nature of natural selection and the accumulation of extreme sequence divergence in venom-encoding genes over long periods of evolutionary time can obscure the signature of positive Darwinian selection. Recognition of the true biocomplexity is further hampered by the limited taxon [...] Read more.
The episodic nature of natural selection and the accumulation of extreme sequence divergence in venom-encoding genes over long periods of evolutionary time can obscure the signature of positive Darwinian selection. Recognition of the true biocomplexity is further hampered by the limited taxon selection, with easy to obtain or medically important species typically being the subject of intense venom research, relative to the actual taxonomical diversity in nature. This holds true for scorpions, which are one of the most ancient terrestrial venomous animal lineages. The family Buthidae that includes all the medically significant species has been intensely investigated around the globe, while almost completely ignoring the remaining non-buthid families. Australian scorpion lineages, for instance, have been completely neglected, with only a single scorpion species (Urodacus yaschenkoi) having its venom transcriptome sequenced. Hence, the lack of venom composition and toxin sequence information from an entire continent’s worth of scorpions has impeded our understanding of the molecular evolution of scorpion venom. The molecular origin, phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary histories of most scorpion toxin scaffolds remain enigmatic. In this study, we have sequenced venom gland transcriptomes of a wide taxonomical diversity of scorpions from Australia, including buthid and non-buthid representatives. Using state-of-art molecular evolutionary analyses, we show that a majority of CSα/β toxin scaffolds have experienced episodic influence of positive selection, while most non-CSα/β linear toxins evolve under the extreme influence of negative selection. For the first time, we have unraveled the molecular origin of the major scorpion toxin scaffolds, such as scorpion venom single von Willebrand factor C-domain peptides (SV-SVC), inhibitor cystine knot (ICK), disulphide-directed beta-hairpin (DDH), bradykinin potentiating peptides (BPP), linear non-disulphide bridged peptides and antimicrobial peptides (AMP). We have thus demonstrated that even neglected lineages of scorpions are a rich pool of novel biochemical components, which have evolved over millions of years to target specific ion channels in prey animals, and as a result, possess tremendous implications in therapeutics. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Evolution of Venom Systems)
Open AccessArticle A Proteomics and Transcriptomics Investigation of the Venom from the Barychelid Spider Trittame loki (Brush-Foot Trapdoor)
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2488-2503; doi:10.3390/toxins5122488
Received: 24 October 2013 / Revised: 29 November 2013 / Accepted: 9 December 2013 / Published: 13 December 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1909 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Although known for their potent venom and ability to prey upon both invertebrate and vertebrate species, the Barychelidae spider family has been entirely neglected by toxinologists. In striking contrast, the sister family Theraphosidae (commonly known as tarantulas), which last shared a most [...] Read more.
Although known for their potent venom and ability to prey upon both invertebrate and vertebrate species, the Barychelidae spider family has been entirely neglected by toxinologists. In striking contrast, the sister family Theraphosidae (commonly known as tarantulas), which last shared a most recent common ancestor with Barychelidae over 200 million years ago, has received much attention, accounting for 25% of all the described spider toxins while representing only 2% of all spider species. In this study, we evaluated for the first time the venom arsenal of a barychelid spider, Trittame loki, using transcriptomic, proteomic, and bioinformatic methods. The venom was revealed to be dominated by extremely diverse inhibitor cystine knot (ICK)/knottin peptides, accounting for 42 of the 46 full-length toxin precursors recovered in the transcriptomic sequencing. In addition to documenting differential rates of evolution adopted by different ICK/knottin toxin lineages, we discovered homologues with completely novel cysteine skeletal architecture. Moreover, acetylcholinesterase and neprilysin were revealed for the first time as part of the spider-venom arsenal and CAP (CRiSP/Allergen/PR-1) were identified for the first time in mygalomorph spider venoms. These results not only highlight the extent of venom diversification in this neglected ancient spider lineage, but also reinforce the idea that unique venomous lineages are rich pools of novel biomolecules that may have significant applied uses as therapeutics and/or insecticides. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Evolution of Venom Systems)
Open AccessArticle Phormidium autumnale Growth and Anatoxin-a Production under Iron and Copper Stress
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2504-2521; doi:10.3390/toxins5122504
Received: 23 October 2013 / Revised: 5 December 2013 / Accepted: 9 December 2013 / Published: 16 December 2013
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (281 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Studies on planktonic cyanobacteria have shown variability in cyanotoxin production, in response to changes in growth phase and environmental factors. Few studies have investigated cyanotoxin regulation in benthic mat-forming species, despite increasing reports on poisoning events caused by ingestion of these organisms. [...] Read more.
Studies on planktonic cyanobacteria have shown variability in cyanotoxin production, in response to changes in growth phase and environmental factors. Few studies have investigated cyanotoxin regulation in benthic mat-forming species, despite increasing reports on poisoning events caused by ingestion of these organisms. In this study, a method was developed to investigate changes in cyanotoxin quota in liquid cultures of benthic mat-forming cyanobacteria. Iron and copper are important in cellular processes and are well known to affect growth and selected metabolite production in cyanobacteria and algae. The effect of iron (40–4000 μg L1) and copper (2.5–250 μg L1) on growth and anatoxin-a quota in Phormidium autumnale was investigated in batch culture. These concentrations were chosen to span those found in freshwater, as well as those previously reported to be toxic to cyanobacteria. Anatoxin-a concentrations varied throughout the growth curve, with a maximum quota of between 0.49 and 0.55 pg cell1 measured within the first two weeks of growth. Growth rates were significantly affected by copper and iron concentrations (P < 0.0001); however, no statistically significant difference between anatoxin-a quota maxima was observed. When the iron concentrations were 800 and 4000 μg L1, the P. autumnale cultures did not firmly attach to the substratum. At 250 μg L1 copper or either 40 or 4000 μg L1 iron, growth was suppressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
Open AccessArticle Analysis of Deoxynivalenol and Deoxynivalenol-3-glucoside in Hard Red Spring Wheat Inoculated with Fusarium Graminearum
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2522-2532; doi:10.3390/toxins5122522
Received: 31 October 2013 / Revised: 10 December 2013 / Accepted: 11 December 2013 / Published: 17 December 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (321 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Deoxynivalenol (DON) is a mycotoxin affecting wheat quality. The formation of the “masked” mycotoxin deoxinyvalenol-3-glucoside (D3G) results from a defense mechanism the plant uses for detoxification. Both mycotoxins are important from a food safety point of view. The aim of this work [...] Read more.
Deoxynivalenol (DON) is a mycotoxin affecting wheat quality. The formation of the “masked” mycotoxin deoxinyvalenol-3-glucoside (D3G) results from a defense mechanism the plant uses for detoxification. Both mycotoxins are important from a food safety point of view. The aim of this work was to analyze DON and D3G content in inoculated near-isogenic wheat lines grown at two locations in Minnesota, USA during three different years. Regression analysis showed positive correlation between DON content measured with LC and GC among wheat lines, locality and year. The relationship between DON and D3G showed a linear increase until a certain point, after which the DON content and the D3G increased. Wheat lines having higher susceptibility to Fusarium showed the opposite trend. ANOVA demonstrated that the line and location have a greater effect on variation of DON and D3G than do their interaction among years. The most important factor affecting DON and D3G was the growing location. In conclusion, the year, environmental conditions and location have an effect on the D3G/DON ratio in response to Fusarium infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances and Perspectives in Deoxynivalenol Research)
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Open AccessArticle Expression of VEGF and Flk-1 and Flt-1 Receptors during Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) Impairment Following Phoneutria nigriventer Spider Venom Exposure
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2572-2588; doi:10.3390/toxins5122572
Received: 23 October 2013 / Revised: 30 November 2013 / Accepted: 3 December 2013 / Published: 18 December 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1283 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Apart from its angiogenic and vascular permeation activity, the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been also reported as a potent neuronal protector. Newborn rats with low VEGF levels develop neuron degeneration, while high levels induce protective mechanisms in several neuropathological conditions. [...] Read more.
Apart from its angiogenic and vascular permeation activity, the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been also reported as a potent neuronal protector. Newborn rats with low VEGF levels develop neuron degeneration, while high levels induce protective mechanisms in several neuropathological conditions. Phoneutria nigriventer spider venom (PNV) disrupts the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and causes neuroinflammation in central neurons along with excitotoxic signals in rats and humans. All these changes are transient. Herein, we examined the expression of VEGF and its receptors, Flt-1 and Flk-1 in the hippocampal neurons following envenomation by PNV. Adult and neonatal rats were evaluated at time limits of 2, 5 and 24 h. Additionally, BBB integrity was assessed by measuring the expression of occludin, β-catenin and laminin and neuron viability was evaluated by NeuN expression. VEGF, Flt-1 and Flk-1 levels increased in PNV-administered rats, concurrently with respective mRNAs. Flt-1 and Flk-1 immunolabeling was nuclear in neurons of hippocampal regions, instead of the VEGF membrane-bound typical location. These changes occurred simultaneously with the transient decreases in BBB-associated proteins and NeuN positivity. Adult rats showed more prominent expressional increases of the VEGF/Flt-1/Flk-1 system and earlier recovery of BBB-related proteins than neonates. We conclude that the reactive expressional changes seen here suggest that VEGF and receptors could have a role in the excitotoxic mechanism of PNV and that such role would be less efficient in neonate rats. Full article
Open AccessArticle Venom Down Under: Dynamic Evolution of Australian Elapid Snake Toxins
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2621-2655; doi:10.3390/toxins5122621
Received: 14 September 2013 / Revised: 13 December 2013 / Accepted: 16 December 2013 / Published: 18 December 2013
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (9748 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Despite the unparalleled diversity of venomous snakes in Australia, research has concentrated on a handful of medically significant species and even of these very few toxins have been fully sequenced. In this study, venom gland transcriptomes were sequenced from eleven species of [...] Read more.
Despite the unparalleled diversity of venomous snakes in Australia, research has concentrated on a handful of medically significant species and even of these very few toxins have been fully sequenced. In this study, venom gland transcriptomes were sequenced from eleven species of small Australian elapid snakes, from eleven genera, spanning a broad phylogenetic range. The particularly large number of sequences obtained for three-finger toxin (3FTx) peptides allowed for robust reconstructions of their dynamic molecular evolutionary histories. We demonstrated that each species preferentially favoured different types of α-neurotoxic 3FTx, probably as a result of differing feeding ecologies. The three forms of α-neurotoxin [Type I (also known as (aka): short-chain), Type II (aka: long-chain) and Type III] not only adopted differential rates of evolution, but have also conserved a diversity of residues, presumably to potentiate prey-specific toxicity. Despite these differences, the different α-neurotoxin types were shown to accumulate mutations in similar regions of the protein, largely in the loops and structurally unimportant regions, highlighting the significant role of focal mutagenesis. We theorize that this phenomenon not only affects toxin potency or specificity, but also generates necessary variation for preventing/delaying prey animals from acquiring venom-resistance. This study also recovered the first full-length sequences for multimeric phospholipase A2 (PLA2) ‘taipoxin/paradoxin’ subunits from non-Oxyuranus species, confirming the early recruitment of this extremely potent neurotoxin complex to the venom arsenal of Australian elapid snakes. We also recovered the first natriuretic peptides from an elapid that lack the derived C-terminal tail and resemble the plesiotypic form (ancestral character state) found in viper venoms. This provides supporting evidence for a single early recruitment of natriuretic peptides into snake venoms. Novel forms of kunitz and waprin peptides were recovered, including dual domain kunitz-kunitz precursors and the first kunitz-waprin hybrid precursors from elapid snakes. The novel sequences recovered in this study reveal that the huge diversity of unstudied venomous Australian snakes are of considerable interest not only for the investigation of venom and whole organism evolution but also represent an untapped bioresource in the search for novel compounds for use in drug design and development. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Evolution of Venom Systems)
Open AccessArticle Occurrence of Deoxynivalenol and Deoxynivalenol-3-glucoside in Hard Red Spring Wheat Grown in the USA
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2656-2670; doi:10.3390/toxins5122656
Received: 31 October 2013 / Revised: 12 December 2013 / Accepted: 13 December 2013 / Published: 18 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1479 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Deoxynivalenol (DON) is a mycotoxin found in wheat that is infected with Fusarium fungus. DON may also be converted to a type of “masked mycotoxin”, named deoxynivalenol-3-glucoside (D3G), as a result of detoxification of the plant. In this study, DON and D3G [...] Read more.
Deoxynivalenol (DON) is a mycotoxin found in wheat that is infected with Fusarium fungus. DON may also be converted to a type of “masked mycotoxin”, named deoxynivalenol-3-glucoside (D3G), as a result of detoxification of the plant. In this study, DON and D3G were measured using gas chromatographic (GC) and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) in wheat samples collected during 2011 and 2012 in the USA. Results indicate that the growing region had a significant effect on the DON and D3G (p < 0.0001). There was a positive correlation between both methods (GC and LC-MS) used for determination of DON content. DON showed a significant and positive correlation with D3G during 2011. Overall, DON production had an effect on D3G content and kernel damage, and was dependent on environmental conditions during Fusarium infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances and Perspectives in Deoxynivalenol Research)
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Open AccessArticle In Vitro Glucuronidation of Ochratoxin A by Rat Liver Microsomes
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2671-2685; doi:10.3390/toxins5122671
Received: 29 October 2013 / Revised: 2 December 2013 / Accepted: 4 December 2013 / Published: 18 December 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (959 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Ochratoxin A (OTA), one of the most toxic mycotoxins, can contaminate a wide range of food and feedstuff. To date, the data on its conjugates via glucuronidation request clarification and consolidation. In the present study, the combined approaches of ultra high performance [...] Read more.
Ochratoxin A (OTA), one of the most toxic mycotoxins, can contaminate a wide range of food and feedstuff. To date, the data on its conjugates via glucuronidation request clarification and consolidation. In the present study, the combined approaches of ultra high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS), UHPLC-Orbitrap-high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) and liquid chromatography-multiple stage mass spectrometry (LC-MSn) were utilized to investigate the metabolic profile of OTA in rat liver microsomes. Three conjugated products of OTA corresponding to amino-, phenol- and acyl-glucuronides were identified, and the related structures were confirmed by hydrolysis with β-glucuronidase. Moreover, OTA methyl ester, OTα and OTα-glucuronide were also found in the reaction solution. Based on these results, an in vitro metabolic pathway of OTA has been proposed for the first time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Ochratoxins Research)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Biotoxin Detection Using Cell-Based Sensors
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2366-2383; doi:10.3390/toxins5122366
Received: 9 October 2013 / Revised: 22 November 2013 / Accepted: 25 November 2013 / Published: 29 November 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1151 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cell-based biosensors (CBBs) utilize the principles of cell-based assays (CBAs) by employing living cells for detection of different analytes from environment, food, clinical, or other sources. For toxin detection, CBBs are emerging as unique alternatives to other analytical methods. The main advantage [...] Read more.
Cell-based biosensors (CBBs) utilize the principles of cell-based assays (CBAs) by employing living cells for detection of different analytes from environment, food, clinical, or other sources. For toxin detection, CBBs are emerging as unique alternatives to other analytical methods. The main advantage of using CBBs for probing biotoxins and toxic agents is that CBBs respond to the toxic exposures in the manner related to actual physiologic responses of the vulnerable subjects. The results obtained from CBBs are based on the toxin-cell interactions, and therefore, reveal functional information (such as mode of action, toxic potency, bioavailability, target tissue or organ, etc.) about the toxin. CBBs incorporate both prokaryotic (bacteria) and eukaryotic (yeast, invertebrate and vertebrate) cells. To create CBB devices, living cells are directly integrated onto the biosensor platform. The sensors report the cellular responses upon exposures to toxins and the resulting cellular signals are transduced by secondary transducers generating optical or electrical signals outputs followed by appropriate read-outs. Examples of the layout and operation of cellular biosensors for detection of selected biotoxins are summarized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Toxin Detection)
Open AccessReview Secreted Phospholipases A2 of Snake Venoms: Effects on the Peripheral Neuromuscular System with Comments on the Role of Phospholipases A2 in Disorders of the CNS and Their Uses in Industry
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2533-2571; doi:10.3390/toxins5122533
Received: 8 October 2013 / Revised: 2 December 2013 / Accepted: 10 December 2013 / Published: 17 December 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (10055 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Neuro- and myotoxicological signs and symptoms are significant clinical features of envenoming snakebites in many parts of the world. The toxins primarily responsible for the neuro and myotoxicity fall into one of two categories—those that bind to and block the post-synaptic acetylcholine [...] Read more.
Neuro- and myotoxicological signs and symptoms are significant clinical features of envenoming snakebites in many parts of the world. The toxins primarily responsible for the neuro and myotoxicity fall into one of two categories—those that bind to and block the post-synaptic acetylcholine receptors (AChR) at the neuromuscular junction and neurotoxic phospholipases A2 (PLAs) that bind to and hydrolyse membrane phospholipids of the motor nerve terminal (and, in most cases, the plasma membrane of skeletal muscle) to cause degeneration of the nerve terminal and skeletal muscle. This review provides an introduction to the biochemical properties of secreted sPLA2s in the venoms of many dangerous snakes and a detailed discussion of their role in the initiation of the neurologically important consequences of snakebite. The rationale behind the experimental studies on the pharmacology and toxicology of the venoms and isolated PLAs in the venoms is discussed, with particular reference to the way these studies allow one to understand the biological basis of the clinical syndrome. The review also introduces the involvement of PLAs in inflammatory and degenerative disorders of the central nervous system (CNS) and their commercial use in the food industry. It concludes with an introduction to the problems associated with the use of antivenoms in the treatment of neuro-myotoxic snakebite and the search for alternative treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurotoxins: Health Threats and Biological Tools)
Open AccessReview Towards Clinical Applications of Anti-endotoxin Antibodies; A Re-appraisal of the Disconnect
Toxins 2013, 5(12), 2589-2620; doi:10.3390/toxins5122589
Received: 31 October 2013 / Revised: 9 December 2013 / Accepted: 13 December 2013 / Published: 18 December 2013
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (462 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Endotoxin is a potent mediator of a broad range of patho-physiological effects in humans. It is present in all Gram negative (GN) bacteria. It would be expected that anti-endotoxin therapies, whether antibody based or not, would have an important adjuvant therapeutic role [...] Read more.
Endotoxin is a potent mediator of a broad range of patho-physiological effects in humans. It is present in all Gram negative (GN) bacteria. It would be expected that anti-endotoxin therapies, whether antibody based or not, would have an important adjuvant therapeutic role along with antibiotics and other supportive therapies for GN infections. Indeed there is an extensive literature relating to both pre-clinical and clinical studies of anti-endotoxin antibodies. However, the extent of disconnect between the generally successful pre-clinical studies versus the failures of the numerous large clinical trials of antibody based and other anti-endotoxin therapies is under-appreciated and unexplained. Seeking a reconciliation of this disconnect is not an abstract academic question as clinical trials of interventions to reduce levels of endotoxemia levels are ongoing. The aim of this review is to examine new insights into the complex relationship between endotoxemia and sepsis in an attempt to bridge this disconnect. Several new factors to consider in this reappraisal include the frequency and types of GN bacteremia and the underlying mortality risk in the various study populations. For a range of reasons, endotoxemia can no longer be considered as a single entity. There are old clinical trials which warrant a re-appraisal in light of these recent advances in the understanding of the structure-function relationship of endotoxin. Fundamentally however, the disconnect not only remains, it has enlarged. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxin-Antibody Interactions)

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