Toxins2014, 6(10), 3005-3027; doi:10.3390/toxins6103005 (registering DOI) - published 22 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Insect-specific toxins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) provide a valuable resource for pest suppression. Here we review the different strategies that have been employed to enhance toxicity against specific target species including those that have evolved resistance to Bt, or to modify the host range of Bt crystal (Cry) and cytolytic (Cyt) toxins. These strategies include toxin truncation, modification of protease cleavage sites, domain swapping, site-directed mutagenesis, peptide addition, and phage display screens for mutated toxins with enhanced activity. Toxin optimization provides a useful approach to extend the utility of these proteins for suppression of pests that exhibit low susceptibility to native Bt toxins, and to overcome field resistance.
Abstract: In order to assess the in vivo efficacy of mycotoxin binders, specific toxicokinetic parameters should be measured according to European guidelines. For this purpose, an absorption model in pigs is described with emphasis on absorption kinetics. Pigs received a single oral bolus of the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol alone or in combination with active carbon (applied as mycotoxin binder). After administration of deoxynivalenol alone, significant plasma amounts of deoxynivalenol were detected and kinetic parameters were calculated using a one compartmental model. Activated carbon completely prevented the absorption of deoxynivalenol as no plasma amounts could be detected.
Abstract: In the present review, the main objective was to describe the epidemiology and clinical features of ciguatera fish poisoning in Hong Kong. From 1989 to 2008, the annual incidence of ciguatera varied between 3.3 and 64.9 (median 10.2) per million people. The groupers have replaced the snappers as the most important cause of ciguatera. Pacific-ciguatoxins (CTX) are most commonly present in reef fish samples implicated in ciguatera outbreaks. In affected subjects, the gastrointestinal symptoms often subside within days, whereas the neurological symptoms can persist for weeks or even months. Bradycardia and hypotension, which can be life-threatening, are common. Treatment of ciguatera is primarily supportive and symptomatic. Intravenous mannitol (1 g/kg) has also been suggested. To prevent ciguatera outbreaks, the public should be educated to avoid eating large coral reef fishes, especially the CTX-rich parts. A Code of Practice on Import and Sale of Live Marine Fish for Human Consumption for Prevention and Control of Ciguatera Fish Poisoning was introduced from 2004 to 2013. The Food Safety Ordinance with a tracing mechanism came into full effect in February 2012. The Government would be able to trace the sources of the fishes more effectively and take prompt action when dealing with ciguatera incidents.
Abstract: Background: Piperlongumine, a component of Piper longum fruit, is considered as a treatment for malignancy. It is effective by inducing apoptosis. Mechanisms involved in the apoptotic action of piperlongumine include oxidative stress and activation of p38 kinase. In analogy to apoptosis of nucleated cells, erythrocytes may undergo eryptosis, the suicidal death of erythrocytes characterized by cell shrinkage and cell membrane scrambling with phosphatidylserine-exposure at the erythrocyte surface. Signaling involved in eryptosis include increase of cytosolic Ca2+-activity ([Ca2+]i), formation of ceramide, oxidative stress and activation of p38 kinase. Methods: Cell volume was estimated from forward scatter, phosphatidylserine-exposure from annexin V binding, [Ca2+]i from Fluo3 fluorescence, reactive oxygen species from 2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein-diacetate fluorescence, and ceramide abundance from binding of fluorescent antibodies in flow cytometry. Results: A 48 h exposure to piperlongumine (30 µM) was followed by significant decrease of forward scatter and increase of annexin-V-binding. Piperlongumine did not significantly modify [Ca2+]i and the effect was not dependent on presence of extracellular Ca2+. Piperlongumine significantly increased ROS formation and ceramide abundance. Conclusions: Piperlongumine triggers cell membrane scrambling, an effect independent from entry of extracellular Ca2+ but at least partially due to ROS and ceramide formation.
Abstract: The pathogenesis of laminitis is not completely identified and the role of endotoxins (lipopolysaccharides, LPS) in this process remains unclear. Phytogenic substances, like milk thistle (MT) and silymarin, are known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and might therefore have the potential to counteract endotoxin induced effects on the hoof lamellar tissue. The aim of our study was to investigate the influence of endotoxins on lamellar tissue integrity and to test if MT and silymarin are capable of inhibiting LPS-induced effects in an in vitro/ex vivo model. In preliminary tests, LPS neutralization efficiency of these phytogenics was determined in an in vitro neutralization assay. Furthermore, tissue explants gained from hooves of slaughter horses were tested for lamellar separation after incubation with different concentrations of LPS. By combined incubation of explants with LPS and either Polymyxin B (PMB; positive control), MT or silymarin, the influence of these substances on LPS-induced effects was assessed. In the in vitro neutralization assay, MT and silymarin reduced LPS concentrations by 64% and 75%, respectively, in comparison PMB reduced 98% of the LPS concentration. In hoof explants, LPS led to a concentration dependent separation. Accordantly, separation force was significantly decreased by 10 µg/mL LPS. PMB, MT and silymarin could significantly improve tissue integrity of explants incubated with 10 µg/mL LPS.This study showed that LPS had a negative influence on the structure of hoof explants in vitro. MT and silymarin reduced endotoxin activity and inhibited LPS-induced effects on the lamellar tissue. Hence, MT and silymarin might be used to support the prevention of laminitis and should be further evaluated for this application.
Abstract: Among the great number of addictive modules which have been discovered, only a few have been characterized. However, research concerning the adoption of toxins from these systems shows their great potential as a tool for molecular biology and medicine. In our study, we tested two different toxins derived from class II addictive modules, pasAB from plasmid pTF-FC2 (Thiobacillus ferrooxidans) and vapBC 2829Rv (Mycobacterium tuberculosis), in terms of their usefulness as growth inhibitors of human cancer cell lines, namely KYSE 30, MCF-7 and HCT 116. Transfection of the pasB and vapC genes into the cells was conducted with the use of two different expression systems. Cellular effects, such as apoptosis, necrosis and changes in the cell cycle, were tested by applying flow cytometry with immunofluorescence staining. Our findings demonstrated that toxins VapC and PasB demonstrate proapoptotic activity in the human cancer cells, regardless of the expression system used. As for the toxin PasB, observed changes were more subtle than for the VapC. The level of expression for both the genes was monitored by QPCR and did not reveal statistically significant differences within the same cell line.