Toxins2015, 7(12), 5079-5093; doi:10.3390/toxins7124864 (registering DOI) - published 27 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a mycotoxin with a main nephrotoxic activity contaminating several foodstuffs. In the present report, five soil samples collected from OTA-contaminated vineyards were screened to isolate microorganisms able to biodegrade OTA. When cultivated in OTA-supplemented medium, OTA was converted in OTα by 225 bacterial isolates. To reveal clonal relationships between isolates, molecular typing by using an automated rep-PCR system was carried out, thus showing the presence of 27 different strains (rep-PCR profiles). The 16S-rRNA gene sequence analysis of an isolate representative of each rep-PCR profiles indicated that they belonged to five bacterial genera, namely Pseudomonas, Leclercia, Pantoea, Enterobacter, and Acinetobacter. However, further evaluation of OTA-degrading activity by the 27 strains revealed that only Acinetobacter calcoaceticus strain 396.1 and Acinetobacter sp. strain neg1, consistently conserved the above property; their further characterization showed that they were able to convert 82% and 91% OTA into OTα in six days at 24 °C, respectively. The presence of OTα, as the unique OTA-degradation product was confirmed by LC-HRMS. This is the first report on OTA biodegradation by bacterial strains isolated from agricultural soils and carried out under aerobic conditions and moderate temperatures. These microorganisms might be used to detoxify OTA-contaminated feed and could be a new source of gene(s) for the development of a novel enzymatic detoxification system.
Toxins2015, 7(12), 5068-5078; doi:10.3390/toxins7124863 (registering DOI) - published 27 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNT) are some of nature’s most potent toxins. Due to potential food contamination, and bioterrorism concerns, the development of detection reagents, therapeutics and countermeasures are of urgent interest. Recently, we have developed a sensitive electrochemiluminescent (ECL) immunoassay for BoNT/B, using monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) MCS6-27 and anti-BoNT/B rabbit polyclonal antibodies as the capture and detector. The ECL assay detected as little as 1 pg/mL BoNT/B in the buffer matrix, surpassing the detection sensitivities of the gold standard mouse bioassays. The ECL assay also allowed detection of BoNT/B in sera matrices of up to 100% sera with negligible matrix effects. This highly-sensitive assay allowed the determination of the biological half-lives of BoNT/B holotoxin in vivo. We further tested the toxin neutralization potential of our monoclonal antibodies using the mouse systemic and oral intoxication models. A combination of mAbs protected mice in both pre- and post-exposure models to lethal doses of BoNT/B. MAbs were capable of increasing survival of animals when administered even 10 h post-intoxication in an oral model, suggesting a likely time for BoNT/B complexes to reach the blood stream. More sensitive detection assays and treatments against BoNT intoxication will greatly enhance efforts to combat botulism.
Toxins2015, 7(12), 5055-5067; doi:10.3390/toxins7124862 (registering DOI) - published 27 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Widow spiders have received much attention due to the frequently reported human and animal injures caused by them. Elucidation of the molecular composition and action mechanism of the venoms and toxins has vast implications in the treatment of latrodectism and in the neurobiology and pharmaceutical research. In recent years, the studies of the widow spider venoms and the venom toxins, particularly the α-latrotoxin, have achieved many new advances; however, the mechanism of action of the venom toxins has not been completely clear. The widow spider is different from many other venomous animals in that it has toxic components not only in the venom glands but also in other parts of the adult spider body, newborn spiderlings, and even the eggs. More recently, the molecular basis for the toxicity outside the venom glands has been systematically investigated, with four proteinaceous toxic components being purified and preliminarily characterized, which has expanded our understanding of the widow spider toxins. This review presents a glance at the recent advances in the study on the venoms and toxins from the Latrodectus species.
Abstract: The detection and identification of botulinum neurotoxins (BoNT) is complex due to the existence of seven serotypes, derived mosaic toxins and more than 40 subtypes. Expert laboratories currently use different technical approaches to detect, identify and quantify BoNT, but due to the lack of (certified) reference materials, analytical results can hardly be compared. In this study, the six BoNT/A1–F1 prototypes were successfully produced by recombinant techniques, facilitating handling, as well as improving purity, yield, reproducibility and biosafety. All six BoNTs were quantitatively nicked into active di-chain toxins linked by a disulfide bridge. The materials were thoroughly characterized with respect to purity, identity, protein concentration, catalytic and biological activities. For BoNT/A1, B1 and E1, serotypes pathogenic to humans, the catalytic activity and the precise protein concentration were determined by Endopep-mass spectrometry and validated amino acid analysis, respectively. In addition, BoNT/A1, B1, E1 and F1 were successfully detected by immunological assays, unambiguously identified by mass spectrometric-based methods, and their specific activities were assigned by the mouse LD50 bioassay. The potencies of all six BoNT/A1–F1were quantified by the ex vivo mouse phrenic nerve hemidiaphragm assay, allowing a direct comparison. In conclusion, highly pure recombinant BoNT reference materials were produced, thoroughly characterized and employed as spiking material in a worldwide BoNT proficiency test organized by the EQuATox consortium.