Open AccessArticle
Toxin Fused with SUMO Tag: A New Expression Vector Strategy to Obtain Recombinant Venom Toxins with Easy Tag Removal inside the Bacteria
Toxins 2017, 9(3), 82; doi:10.3390/toxins9030082 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Many animal toxins may target the same molecules that need to be controlled in certain pathologies; therefore, some toxins have led to the formulation of drugs that are presently used, and many other drugs are still under development. Nevertheless, collecting sufficient toxins from
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Many animal toxins may target the same molecules that need to be controlled in certain pathologies; therefore, some toxins have led to the formulation of drugs that are presently used, and many other drugs are still under development. Nevertheless, collecting sufficient toxins from the original source might be a limiting factor in studying their biological activities. Thus, molecular biology techniques have been applied in order to obtain large amounts of recombinant toxins into Escherichia coli. However, most animal toxins are difficult to express in this system, which results in insoluble, misfolded, or unstable proteins. To solve these issues, toxins have been fused with tags that may improve protein expression, solubility, and stability. Among these tags, the SUMO (small ubiquitin-related modifier) has been shown to be very efficient and can be removed by the Ulp1 protease. However, removing SUMO is a labor- and time-consuming process. To enhance this system, here we show the construction of a bicistronic vector that allows the expression of any protein fused to both the SUMO and Ulp1 protease. In this way, after expression, Ulp1 is able to cleave SUMO and leave the protein interest-free and ready for purification. This strategy was validated through the expression of a new phospholipase D from the spider Loxosceles gaucho and a disintegrin from the Bothrops insularis snake. Both recombinant toxins showed good yield and preserved biological activities, indicating that the bicistronic vector may be a viable method to produce proteins that are difficult to express. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Detection of Cyanotoxins in Algae Dietary Supplements
Toxins 2017, 9(3), 76; doi:10.3390/toxins9030076 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Algae dietary supplements are marketed worldwide as natural health products. Although their proprieties have been claimed as beneficial to improve overall health, there have been several previous reports of contamination by cyanotoxins. These products generally contain non-toxic cyanobacteria, but the methods of cultivation
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Algae dietary supplements are marketed worldwide as natural health products. Although their proprieties have been claimed as beneficial to improve overall health, there have been several previous reports of contamination by cyanotoxins. These products generally contain non-toxic cyanobacteria, but the methods of cultivation in natural waters without appropriate quality controls allow contamination by toxin producer species present in the natural environment. In this study, we investigated the presence of total microcystins, seven individual microcystins (RR, YR, LR, LA, LY, LW, LF), anatoxin-a, dihydroanatoxin-a, epoxyanatoxin-a, cylindrospermopsin, saxitoxin, and β-methylamino-l-alanine in 18 different commercially available products containing Spirulina or Aphanizomenon flos-aquae. Total microcystins analysis was accomplished using a Lemieux oxidation and a chemical derivatization using dansyl chloride was needed for the simultaneous analysis of cylindrospermopsin, saxitoxin, and β-methylamino-l-alanine. Moreover, the use of laser diode thermal desorption (LDTD) and ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) both coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) enabled high performance detection and quantitation. Out of the 18 products analyzed, 8 contained some cyanotoxins at levels exceeding the tolerable daily intake values. The presence of cyanotoxins in these algal dietary supplements reinforces the need for a better quality control as well as consumer’s awareness on the potential risks associated with the consumption of these supplements. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development of Colloidal Gold‐Based Lateral Flow  Immunoassay for Rapid Qualitative and SemiQuantitative Analysis of Ustiloxins A and B in Rice  Samples
Toxins 2017, 9(3), 79; doi:10.3390/toxins9030079 -
Abstract
Rice false smut is a worldwide devastating rice disease infected by the fungal pathogen Villosiclava virens. Ustiloxin A (UA) and ustiloxin B (UB), cyclopeptide mycotoxins, were the major ustiloxins isolated from the rice false smut balls (FSBs) that formed in the pathogen‐infected rice
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Rice false smut is a worldwide devastating rice disease infected by the fungal pathogen Villosiclava virens. Ustiloxin A (UA) and ustiloxin B (UB), cyclopeptide mycotoxins, were the major ustiloxins isolated from the rice false smut balls (FSBs) that formed in the pathogen‐infected rice spikelets. Based on the specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) 2D3G5 and 1B5A10, respectively, against UA and UB, the lateral flow immunoassays (LFIAs) were developed, and the indicator ranges for UA and UB both were 50-100 ng/mL. The cross‐reactivities of UB for UA LFIA, and UA for UB LFIA were 5% and 20%, respectively, which were consistent with the icELISA results reported previously. Even at 50,000 ng/mL, none of other commonly existent metabolites in rice samples caused noticeable inhibition. The LFIAs were used for determination of UA and UB contents in rice FSBs and rice grains, and the results were agreeable with those by HPLC and icELISA. There was no change in the sensitivity of either dipstick stored at 4 °C) after at least three months. The developed LFIA has specificity and sensitivity for detecting UA and UB as well as simplicity to use. It will be a potential point‐of‐care device for rapid evaluation of the rice samples contaminated by UA and UB. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of DPH1 and DPH5 Protein Variants on the  Synthesis of Diphthamide, the Target of ADPRibosylating Toxins
Toxins 2017, 9(3), 78; doi:10.3390/toxins9030078 -
Abstract
The diphthamide on eukaryotic translation elongation factor 2 (eEF2) is the target of ADPribosylating toxins and ‐derivatives that serve as payloads in targeted tumor therapy. Diphthamide is generated by seven DPH proteins; cells deficient in these (DPHko) lack diphthamide and are toxin‐resistant. We
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The diphthamide on eukaryotic translation elongation factor 2 (eEF2) is the target of ADPribosylating toxins and ‐derivatives that serve as payloads in targeted tumor therapy. Diphthamide is generated by seven DPH proteins; cells deficient in these (DPHko) lack diphthamide and are toxin‐resistant. We have established assays to address the functionality of DPH1 (OVCA1) and DPH5 variants listed in dbSNP and cosmic databases: plasmids encoding wildtype and mutant DPHs were transfected into DPHko cells. Supplementation of DPH1 and DPH5 restores diphthamide synthesis and toxin sensitivity in DPH1ko and DPH5ko cells, respectively. Consequently, the determination of the diphthamide status of cells expressing DPH variants differentiates active and compromised proteins. The DPH1 frameshift variant L96fs* (with Nterminal 96 amino acids, truncated thereafter) and two splice isoforms lacking 80 or 140 amino acids at their N‐termini failed to restore DPH1ko deficiency. The DPH1 frameshift variant R312fs* retained some residual activity even though it lacks a large C‐terminal portion. DPH1 missense variants R27W and S56F retained activity while S221P had reduced activity, indicated by a decreased capability to restore diphthamide synthesis. The DPH5 nonsense or frameshift variants E60*, W136fs* and R207* (containing intact N‐termini with truncations after 60, 136 or 207 amino acids, respectively) were inactive: none compensated the deficiency of DPH5ko cells. In contrast, missense variants D57G, G87R, S123C and Q170H as well as the frequently occurring DPH5 isoform delA212 retained activity. Sensitivity to ADP‐ribosylating toxins and tumor‐targeted immunotoxins depends on diphthamide which, in turn, requires DPH functionality. Because of that, DPH variants (in particular those that are functionally compromised) may serve as a biomarker and correlate with the efficacy of immunotoxin‐based therapies. Full article
Open AccessCommunication
Acute Oral Toxicity of Tetrodotoxin in Mice: Determination of Lethal Dose 50 (LD50) and No Observed Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL)
Toxins 2017, 9(3), 75; doi:10.3390/toxins9030075 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is starting to appear in molluscs from the European waters and is a hazard to seafood consumers. This toxin blocks sodium channels resulting in neuromuscular paralysis and even death. As a part of the risk assessment process leading to a safe
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Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is starting to appear in molluscs from the European waters and is a hazard to seafood consumers. This toxin blocks sodium channels resulting in neuromuscular paralysis and even death. As a part of the risk assessment process leading to a safe seafood level for TTX, oral toxicity data are required. In this study, a 4-level Up and Down Procedure was designed in order to determine for the first time the oral lethal dose 50 (LD50) and the No Observed Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL) in mice by using an accurate well-characterized TTX standard. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Antivenom Evaluation by Electrophysiological Analysis
Toxins 2017, 9(3), 74; doi:10.3390/toxins9030074 -
Abstract
Scorpion stings on humans are medically relevant because they may contain toxins that specifically target ion channels. During antivenom production, pharmaceutical companies must use a large number of experimental animals to ensure the antivenom’s efficacy according to pharmacopeia methods. Here we present an
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Scorpion stings on humans are medically relevant because they may contain toxins that specifically target ion channels. During antivenom production, pharmaceutical companies must use a large number of experimental animals to ensure the antivenom’s efficacy according to pharmacopeia methods. Here we present an electrophysiological alternative for the evaluation of horse antivenoms produced against two species of Moroccan scorpions: Buthus mardochei and Androctonus mauretanicus. Human sodium and potassium channels and acetylcholine nicotinic receptors were analyzed by standard patch-clamp techniques. The results showed that the antivenom is capable of reversing ion current disruption caused by the venom application. We propose the use of this in vitro technique for antivenom evaluation as an alternative to using a large number of live animals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Determination of Mycotoxin Production of Fusarium Species in Genetically Modified Maize Varieties by Quantitative Flow Immunocytometry
Toxins 2017, 9(2), 70; doi:10.3390/toxins9020070 -
Abstract
Levels of mycotoxins produced by Fusarium species in genetically modified (GM) and near-isogenic maize, were determined using multi-analyte, microbead-based flow immunocytometry with fluorescence detection, for the parallel quantitative determination of fumonisin B1, deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, T-2, ochratoxin A, and aflatoxin B1. Maize varieties included
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Levels of mycotoxins produced by Fusarium species in genetically modified (GM) and near-isogenic maize, were determined using multi-analyte, microbead-based flow immunocytometry with fluorescence detection, for the parallel quantitative determination of fumonisin B1, deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, T-2, ochratoxin A, and aflatoxin B1. Maize varieties included the genetic events MON 810 and DAS-59122-7, and their isogenic counterparts. Cobs were artificially infested by F. verticillioides and F. proliferatum conidia, and contained F. graminearum and F. sporotrichoides natural infestation. The production of fumonisin B1 and deoxynivalenol was substantially affected in GM maize lines: F. verticillioides, with the addition of F. graminearum and F. sporotrichoides, produced significantly lower levels of fumonisin B1 (~300 mg·kg−1) in DAS-59122-7 than in its isogenic line (~580 mg·kg−1), while F. proliferatum, in addition to F. graminearum and F. sporotrichoides, produced significantly higher levels of deoxynivalenol (~18 mg·kg−1) in MON 810 than in its isogenic line (~5 mg·kg−1). Fusarium verticillioides, with F. graminearum and F. sporotrichoides, produced lower amounts of deoxynivalenol and zearalenone than F. proliferatum, with F. graminearum and F. sporotrichoides. T-2 toxin production remained unchanged when considering the maize variety. The results demonstrate the utility of the Fungi-Plex™ quantitative flow immunocytometry method, applied for the high throughput parallel determination of the target mycotoxins. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Acute Toxicities of the Saxitoxin Congeners Gonyautoxin 5, Gonyautoxin 6, Decarbamoyl Gonyautoxin 2&3, Decarbamoyl Neosaxitoxin, C-1&2 and C-3&4 to Mice by Various Routes of Administration
Toxins 2017, 9(2), 73; doi:10.3390/toxins9020073 -
Abstract
Paralytic shellfish poisoning results from consumption of seafood naturally contaminated by saxitoxin and its congeners, the paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs). The levels of such toxins are regulated internationally, and maximum permitted concentrations in seafood have been established in many countries. A mouse bioassay
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Paralytic shellfish poisoning results from consumption of seafood naturally contaminated by saxitoxin and its congeners, the paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs). The levels of such toxins are regulated internationally, and maximum permitted concentrations in seafood have been established in many countries. A mouse bioassay is an approved method for estimating the levels of PSTs in seafood, but this is now being superseded in many countries by instrumental methods of analysis. Such analyses provide data on the levels of many PSTs in seafood, but for risk assessment, knowledge of the relative toxicities of the congeners is required. These are expressed as “Toxicity Equivalence Factors” (TEFs). At present, TEFs are largely based on relative specific activities following intraperitoneal injection in a mouse bioassay rather than on acute toxicity determinations. A more relevant parameter for comparison would be median lethal doses via oral administration, since this is the route through which humans are exposed to PSTs. In the present study, the median lethal doses of gonyautoxin 5, gonyautoxin 6, decarbamoyl neosaxitoxin and of equilibrium mixtures of decarbamoyl gonyautoxins 2&3, C1&2 and C3&4 by oral administration to mice have been determined and compared with toxicities via intraperitoneal injection. The results indicate that the TEFs of several of these substances require revision in order to more accurately reflect the risk these toxins present to human health. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Fungal Ribotoxins: A Review of Potential Biotechnological Applications
Toxins 2017, 9(2), 71; doi:10.3390/toxins9020071 -
Abstract
Fungi establish a complex network of biological interactions with other organisms in nature. In many cases, these involve the production of toxins for survival or colonization purposes. Among these toxins, ribotoxins stand out as promising candidates for their use in biotechnological applications. They
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Fungi establish a complex network of biological interactions with other organisms in nature. In many cases, these involve the production of toxins for survival or colonization purposes. Among these toxins, ribotoxins stand out as promising candidates for their use in biotechnological applications. They constitute a group of highly specific extracellular ribonucleases that target a universally conserved sequence of RNA in the ribosome, the sarcin-ricin loop. The detailed molecular study of this family of toxic proteins over the past decades has highlighted their potential in applied research. Remarkable examples would be the recent studies in the field of cancer research with promising results involving ribotoxin-based immunotoxins. On the other hand, some ribotoxin-producer fungi have already been studied in the control of insect pests. The recent role of ribotoxins as insecticides could allow their employment in formulas and even as baculovirus-based biopesticides. Moreover, considering the important role of their target in the ribosome, they can be used as tools to study how ribosome biogenesis is regulated and, eventually, may contribute to a better understanding of some ribosomopathies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Static Hot Air and Infrared Rays Roasting are Efficient Methods for Aflatoxin Decontamination on Hazelnuts
Toxins 2017, 9(2), 72; doi:10.3390/toxins9020072 -
Abstract
Aflatoxins are a group of secondary metabolites produced by members of Aspergillus Section Flavi that are dangerous to humans and animals. Nuts can be potentially contaminated with aflatoxins, often over the legal threshold. Food processes, including roasting, may have different effects on mycotoxins,
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Aflatoxins are a group of secondary metabolites produced by members of Aspergillus Section Flavi that are dangerous to humans and animals. Nuts can be potentially contaminated with aflatoxins, often over the legal threshold. Food processes, including roasting, may have different effects on mycotoxins, and high temperatures have proven to be very effective in the reduction of mycotoxins. In this work, two different roasting methods—traditional static hot air roasting and infra-red rays roasting—were applied and compared for the detoxification of hazelnuts from Italy and Turkey. At the temperature of 140 °C for 40 min of exposure, detoxification was effective for both roasting techniques. Residual aflatoxins after infra-red rays treatments were lower compared to static hot air roasting. On Italian hazelnuts, residual aflatoxins were lower than 5%, while for Turkish hazelnuts they were lower than 15% after 40 min of exposure to an infra-red rays roaster. After roasting, the perisperm was detached from the nuts and analyzed for aflatoxin contents. Residual aflatoxins in the perisperm ranged from 80% up to 100%. After roasting, the lipid profile and the nutritional quality of hazelnuts were not affected. Fatty acid methyl esters analyses showed a similar composition for Italian and Turkish hazelnuts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Toxin Release of Cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa after Exposure to Typical Tetracycline Antibiotic Contaminants
Toxins 2017, 9(2), 53; doi:10.3390/toxins9020053 -
Abstract
The global usage of veterinary antibiotics is significant. Antibiotics can be released into aquatic environments and elicit toxic effects on non-target organisms. In this study, the growth characteristics and toxin release of the cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa (M. aeruginosa) were examined to
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The global usage of veterinary antibiotics is significant. Antibiotics can be released into aquatic environments and elicit toxic effects on non-target organisms. In this study, the growth characteristics and toxin release of the cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa (M. aeruginosa) were examined to investigate the physiological effects of tetracycline antibiotics on aquatic life. Results showed that the degree of toxicities of the following target antibiotics was TC (tetracycline hydrochloride) > CTC (chlortetracycline hydrochloride) > OTC (oxytetracycline hydrochloride) in terms of growth parameters, EC10 (0.63, 1.86, and 3.02 mg/L, respectively), and EC20 (1.58, 4.09, and 4.86 mg/L, respectively) values. These antibiotics inhibited the production of microcystin-LR (MC-LR) to varying degrees. CTC interfered M. aeruginosa cells and decreased their ability to release MC-LR, but this antibiotic stimulated the ability of these cells to synthesize MC-LR at 2 and 5 mg/L. OTC elicited a relatively weaker toxicity than CTC did and reduced MC-LR release. TC was the most toxic among the three antibiotics, and this antibiotic simultaneously reduced intracellular and extracellular MC-LR equivalents. Our results helped elucidate the effects of tetracycline antibiotics on M. aeruginosa, which is essential for environmental evaluation and protection. Our results are also helpful for guiding the application of veterinary antibiotics in agricultural settings. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparative Transcriptome Analysis of Penicillium citrinum Cultured with Different Carbon Sources Identifies Genes Involved in Citrinin Biosynthesis
Toxins 2017, 9(2), 69; doi:10.3390/toxins9020069 -
Abstract
Citrinin is a toxic secondary metabolite of Penicillium citrinum and its contamination in many food items has been widely reported. However, research on the citrinin biosynthesis pathway and its regulation mechanism in P. citrinum is rarely reported. In this study, we investigated the
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Citrinin is a toxic secondary metabolite of Penicillium citrinum and its contamination in many food items has been widely reported. However, research on the citrinin biosynthesis pathway and its regulation mechanism in P. citrinum is rarely reported. In this study, we investigated the effect of different carbon sources on citrinin production by P. citrinum and used transcriptome analysis to study the underlying molecular mechanism. Our results indicated that glucose, used as the sole carbon source, could significantly promote citrinin production by P. citrinum in Czapek’s broth medium compared with sucrose. A total of 19,967 unigenes were annotated by BLAST in Nr, Nt, Swiss-Prot and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) databases. Transcriptome comparison between P. citrinum cultured with sucrose and glucose revealed 1085 differentially expressed unigenes. Among them, 610 were upregulated while 475 were downregulated under glucose as compared to sucrose. KEGG pathway and Gene ontology (GO) analysis indicated that many metabolic processes (e.g., carbohydrate, secondary metabolism, fatty acid and amino acid metabolism) were affected, and potentially interesting genes that encoded putative components of signal transduction, stress response and transcription factor were identified. These genes obviously had important impacts on their regulation in citrinin biosynthesis, which provides a better understanding of the molecular mechanism of citrinin biosynthesis by P. citrinum. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Bee Venom Phospholipase A2 Ameliorates House Dust Mite Extract Induced Atopic Dermatitis Like Skin Lesions in Mice
Toxins 2017, 9(2), 68; doi:10.3390/toxins9020068 -
Abstract
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a biphasic inflammatory skin disease that is provoked by epidermal barrier defects, immune dysregulation, and increased skin infections. Previously, we have demonstrated that bvPLA2 evoked immune tolerance by inducing regulatory T cells (Treg), and thus alleviated Th2 dominant allergic
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Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a biphasic inflammatory skin disease that is provoked by epidermal barrier defects, immune dysregulation, and increased skin infections. Previously, we have demonstrated that bvPLA2 evoked immune tolerance by inducing regulatory T cells (Treg), and thus alleviated Th2 dominant allergic asthma in mice. Here, we would like to determine whether treatment with bvPLA2 exacerbates the AD-like allergic inflammations induced by house dust mite extract (DFE) in a murine model. Epidermal thickness, immune cell infiltration, serum immunoglobulin, and cytokines were measured. Ear swelling, skin lesions, and the levels of total serum IgE and Th1/Th2 cytokines were elevated in DFE/DNCB-induced AD mice. Topical application of bvPLA2 elicited significant suppression of the increased AD symptoms, including ear thickness, serum IgE concentration, inflammatory cytokines, and histological changes. Furthermore, bvPLA2 treatment inhibited mast cell infiltration into the ear. On the other hand, Treg cell depletion abolished the anti-atopic effects of bvPLA2, suggesting that the effects of bvPLA2 depend on the existence of Tregs. Taken together, the results revealed that topical exposure to bvPLA2 aggravated atopic skin inflammation, suggesting that bvPLA2 might be a candidate for the treatment of AD. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Human scFvs That Counteract Bioactivities of Staphylococcus aureus TSST-1
Toxins 2017, 9(2), 50; doi:10.3390/toxins9020050 -
Abstract
Some Staphylococcus aureus isolates produced toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) which is a pyrogenic toxin superantigen (PTSAg). The toxin activates a large fraction of peripheral blood T lymphocytes causing the cells to proliferate and release massive amounts of pro-inflammatory cytokines leading to a
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Some Staphylococcus aureus isolates produced toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) which is a pyrogenic toxin superantigen (PTSAg). The toxin activates a large fraction of peripheral blood T lymphocytes causing the cells to proliferate and release massive amounts of pro-inflammatory cytokines leading to a life-threatening multisystem disorder: toxic shock syndrome (TSS). PTSAg-mediated-T cell stimulation circumvents the conventional antigenic peptide presentation to T cell receptor (TCR) by the antigen-presenting cell (APC). Instead, intact PTSAg binds directly to MHC-II molecule outside peptide binding cleft and simultaneously cross-links TCR-Vβ region. Currently, there is neither specific TSS treatment nor drug that directly inactivates TSST-1. In this study, human single chain antibodies (HuscFvs) that bound to and neutralized bioactivities of the TSST-1 were generated using phage display technology. Three E. coli clones transfected with TSST-1-bound phages fished-out from the human scFv library using recombinant TSST-1 as bait expressed TSST-1-bound-HuscFvs that inhibited the TSST-1-mediated T cell activation and pro-inflammatory cytokine gene expressions and productions.Computerized simulation, verified by mutations of the residues of HuscFv complementarity determining regions (CDRs),predicted to involve in target binding indicated that the HuscFvs formed interface contact with the toxin residues important for immunopathogenesis. The HuscFvs have high potential for future therapeutic application. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Cardiovascular and Neurotoxic Effects of the  Venoms of Six Bony and Cartilaginous Fish Species
Toxins 2017, 9(2), 67; doi:10.3390/toxins9020067 -
Abstract
Fish venoms are often poorly studied, in part due to the difficulty in obtaining, extracting, and storing them. In this study, we characterize the cardiovascular and neurotoxic effects of the venoms from the following six species of fish: the cartilaginous stingrays Neotrygon kuhlii
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Fish venoms are often poorly studied, in part due to the difficulty in obtaining, extracting, and storing them. In this study, we characterize the cardiovascular and neurotoxic effects of the venoms from the following six species of fish: the cartilaginous stingrays Neotrygon kuhlii and Himantura toshi, and the bony fish Platycephalus fucus, Girella tricuspidata, Mugil cephalus, and Dentex tumifrons. All venoms (10–100 μg/kg, i.v.), except G. tricuspidata and P. fuscus, induced a biphasic response on mean arterial pressure (MAP) in the anesthetised rat. P. fucus venom exhibited a hypotensive response, while venom from G. tricuspidata displayed a single depressor response. All venoms induced cardiovascular collapse at 200 μg/kg, i.v. The in vitro neurotoxic effects of venom were examined using the chick biventer cervicis nerve‐muscle (CBCNM) preparation. N. kuhlii, H. toshi, and P. fucus venoms caused concentration‐dependent inhibition of indirect twitches in the CBCNM preparation. These three venoms also inhibited responses to exogenous acetylcholine (ACh) and carbachol (CCh), but not potassium chloride (KCl), indicating a post‐synaptic mode of action. Venom from G. tricuspidata, M. cephalus, and D. tumifrons had no significant effect on indirect twitches or agonist responses in the CBCNM. Our results demonstrate that envenoming by these species of fish may result in moderate cardiovascular and/or neurotoxic effects. Future studies aimed at identifying the molecules responsible for these effects could uncover potentially novel lead compounds for future pharmaceuticals, in addition to generating new knowledge about the evolutionary relationships between venomous animals. Full article
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Open AccessComment
Comments on “Screening and Identification of Novel Ochratoxin A-Producing Fungi from Grapes. Toxins 2016, 8, 333”—In Reporting Ochratoxin A Production from Strains of Aspergillus, Penicillium and Talaromyces
Toxins 2017, 9(2), 65; doi:10.3390/toxins9020065 -
Abstract
Recently a species in the genus Talaromyces, a uniseriate species of Aspergillus section Nigri and an isolate each of two widespread species, Penicillium rubens and P. commune, were reported to produce ochratoxin A. This claim was based on insufficient biological and
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Recently a species in the genus Talaromyces, a uniseriate species of Aspergillus section Nigri and an isolate each of two widespread species, Penicillium rubens and P. commune, were reported to produce ochratoxin A. This claim was based on insufficient biological and chemical data. We propose a list of criteria that need to be met before an unexpected mycotoxin producer is reported. There have only been convincing data on ochratoxin A production for Penicillium verrucosum, P. nordicum, P. thymicola, all from Penicillium series Verrucosa, and from species in three sections of Aspergillus: section Circumdati, section Nigri and section Flavi. Full article
Open AccessReply
Reply to Comment on “Screening and Identification of Novel Ochratoxin A-Producing Fungi from Grapes”. Toxins 2016, 8, 333”–in Reporting Ochratoxin A Production from Strains of Aspergillus, Penicillium and Talaromyces
Toxins 2017, 9(2), 66; doi:10.3390/toxins9020066 -
Open AccessArticle
Microbial Detoxification of Deoxynivalenol (DON), Assessed via a Lemna minor L. Bioassay, through Biotransformation to 3-epi-DON and 3-epi-DOM-1
Toxins 2017, 9(2), 63; doi:10.3390/toxins9020063 -
Abstract
Mycotoxins are toxic metabolites produced by fungi. To mitigate mycotoxins in food or feed, biotransformation is an emerging technology in which microorganisms degrade toxins into non-toxic metabolites. To monitor deoxynivalenol (DON) biotransformation, analytical tools such as ELISA and liquid chromatography coupled to tandem
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Mycotoxins are toxic metabolites produced by fungi. To mitigate mycotoxins in food or feed, biotransformation is an emerging technology in which microorganisms degrade toxins into non-toxic metabolites. To monitor deoxynivalenol (DON) biotransformation, analytical tools such as ELISA and liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) are typically used. However, these techniques do not give a decisive answer about the remaining toxicity of possible biotransformation products. Hence, a bioassay using Lemna minor L. was developed. A dose–response analysis revealed significant inhibition in the growth of L. minor exposed to DON concentrations of 0.25 mg/L and higher. Concentrations above 1 mg/L were lethal for the plant. This bioassay is far more sensitive than previously described systems. The bioassay was implemented to screen microbial enrichment cultures, originating from rumen fluid, soil, digestate and activated sludge, on their biotransformation and detoxification capability of DON. The enrichment cultures originating from soil and activated sludge were capable of detoxifying and degrading 5 and 50 mg/L DON. In addition, the metabolites 3-epi-DON and the epimer of de-epoxy-DON (3-epi-DOM-1) were found as biotransformation products of both consortia. Our work provides a new valuable tool to screen microbial cultures for their detoxification capacity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Eutrophication and Warming Boost Cyanobacterial Biomass and Microcystins
Toxins 2017, 9(2), 64; doi:10.3390/toxins9020064 -
Abstract
Eutrophication and warming are key drivers of cyanobacterial blooms, but their combined effects on microcystin (MC) concentrations are less studied. We tested the hypothesis that warming promotes cyanobacterial abundance in a natural plankton community and that eutrophication enhances cyanobacterial biomass and MC concentrations.
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Eutrophication and warming are key drivers of cyanobacterial blooms, but their combined effects on microcystin (MC) concentrations are less studied. We tested the hypothesis that warming promotes cyanobacterial abundance in a natural plankton community and that eutrophication enhances cyanobacterial biomass and MC concentrations. We incubated natural seston from a eutrophic pond under normal, high, and extreme temperatures (i.e., 20, 25, and 30 °C) with and without additional nutrients added (eutrophication) mimicking a pulse as could be expected from projected summer storms under climate change. Eutrophication increased algal- and cyanobacterial biomass by 26 and 8 times, respectively, and led to 24 times higher MC concentrations. This effect was augmented with higher temperatures leading to 45 times higher MC concentrations at 25 °C, with 11 times more cyanobacterial chlorophyll-a and 25 times more eukaryote algal chlorophyll-a. At 30 °C, MC concentrations were 42 times higher, with cyanobacterial chlorophyll-a being 17 times and eukaryote algal chlorophyll-a being 24 times higher. In contrast, warming alone did not yield more cyanobacteria or MCs, because the in situ community had already depleted the available nutrient pool. MC per potential MC producing cell declined at higher temperatures under nutrient enrichments, which was confirmed by a controlled experiment with two laboratory strains of Microcystis aeruginosa. Nevertheless, MC concentrations were much higher at the increased temperature and nutrient treatment than under warming alone due to strongly promoted biomass, lifting N-imitation and promotion of potential MC producers like Microcystis. This study exemplifies the vulnerability of eutrophic urban waters to predicted future summer climate change effects that might aggravate cyanobacterial nuisance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ustiloxin G, a New Cyclopeptide Mycotoxin from Rice False Smut Balls
Toxins 2017, 9(2), 54; doi:10.3390/toxins9020054 -
Abstract
Ustiloxins were cyclopeptide mycotoxins from rice false smut balls (FSBs) that formed in rice spikelets infected by the fungal pathogen Ustilaginoidea virens. To investigate the chemical diversity of these metabolites and their bioactivities, one new cyclopeptide, ustiloxin G (1), together
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Ustiloxins were cyclopeptide mycotoxins from rice false smut balls (FSBs) that formed in rice spikelets infected by the fungal pathogen Ustilaginoidea virens. To investigate the chemical diversity of these metabolites and their bioactivities, one new cyclopeptide, ustiloxin G (1), together with four known congeners—ustiloxins A (2), B (3), D (4), and F (5)—were isolated from water extract of rice FSBs. Their structures were elucidated by analyses of their physical and spectroscopic data, including ultraviolet spectrometry (UV), infrared spectroscopy (IR), 1D and 2D nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and high-resolution electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (HR-ESI-MS). All the compounds were evaluated for their cytotoxic as well as radicle and germ elongation inhibitory activities. Ustiloxin B (3) showed the best activity against the cell line BGC-823 with an IC50 value of 1.03 µM, while ustiloxin G (1) showed moderate activity against the cell lines A549 and A375 with IC50 values of 36.5 µM and 22.5 µM, respectively. Ustiloxins A (2), B (3), and G (1) showed strong inhibition of radicle and germ elongation of rice seeds. When their concentrations were at 200 µg/mL, the inhibitory ratios of radicle and germ elongation were more than 90% and 50%, respectively, the same effect as that of positive control (glyphosate). They also induced abnormal swelling of the roots and germs of rice seedlings. Full article
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