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Topical Collection "Leading Opinions"

Editors

Collection Editor
Prof. Dr. Holger Scheib

Venom Evolution Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD, 4072, Australia
E-Mail
Interests: venom molecular evolution; protein structure prediction; protein-ligand interactions; molecular dynamics simulations; pharmacophore modeling; computational ligand docking
Collection Editor
Prof. Dr. Gudula Schmidt

Pharmakology and Toxikology, Albertstrasse 25, University of Freiburg, 79104 Freiburg, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +49 761 203 5316
Fax: +49 761 203 5311
Interests: bacterial toxins; GTPases; signal transduction; toxins and carcinogenesis
Collection Editor
Dr. Marc Maresca

Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, iSm2 UMR 7313, Marseille 13397, France
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +33-491-284-440
Interests: gut physiology; intestinal epithelial cells; intestinal toxicology ; enterotoxins; bacterial toxins; virotoxins; mycotoxins; trichothecenes; deoxynivalenol; nutrient absorption

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

Toxins are the poisonous products of organisms, such as plants, animals, or a wide variety of microorganisms. They are small molecules, peptides, or proteins, respectively. Despite their chemical variety, all toxins are biological weapons that allow the producing organism to hunt for prey or to defend itself.

In this Topical Collection of Toxins we are presenting “Leading Opinions” in:

1. Animal venoms

Venomous animals produce their venom secretion in specialized cells. The venom is delivered to a target animal through evocation of a wound. Once inside the target animal the venom disrupts endophysiological or biochemical processes in order to facilitate feeding, defense, or competition.

2. Bacterial toxins

Pathogenic bacteria produce a cocktail of protein toxins, which support their survival in the host organism. The toxins trigger the behavior of eukaryotic cells by diverse, but mostly highly-specific, mechanisms. Reprogramming of host cells includes inhibition of the immune cells, as well as a weakening of the barrier function of epithelia.

The growing knowledge about cellular receptors, uptake mechanisms, and molecular action of bacterial toxins open new fields for inhibition of the bacterial weapons and, on the other hand, allows the targeted use of these highly efficient enzymes for cell biological and therapeutic applications.

3. Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins are small molecules corresponding to secondary metabolites produced by pathogenic molds that infect plants and crops. It is now clear that these toxins play a critical role during host colonization. Unfortunately, in addition to cause massive damages in crops, mycotoxins, due to their high stability and prevalence in the food chain, cause also collateral victims: animals and humans ingesting contaminated foods. To limit the economical and health impacts of mycotoxins, we need to better understand the role played by mycotoxins during plant infection, to perform comparative studies of the effects of mycotoxins in plants and animals and to identify mechanisms able to confer resistance to mycotoxin effects.

Advancement in the understanding of how toxins are administered and act, as well as how they can be targeted, is happening at fast pace and in a wide range of scientific disciplines. Leading scientists will be invited to present current developments and ideas to the “Leading Opinions” Topical Collection of Toxins.

Prof. Dr. Holger Scheib
Prof. Dr. Gudula Schmidt
Dr. Marc Maresca
Collection Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the collection website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxins is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Published Papers (4 papers)

2017

Open AccessReview Do Plant-Bound Masked Mycotoxins Contribute to Toxicity?
Toxins 2017, 9(3), 85; doi:10.3390/toxins9030085
Received: 2 February 2017 / Revised: 15 February 2017 / Accepted: 27 February 2017 / Published: 28 February 2017
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Abstract
Masked mycotoxins are plant metabolites of mycotoxins which co-contaminate common cereal crops. Since their discovery, the question has arisen if they contribute to toxicity either directly or indirectly through the release of the parent mycotoxins. Research in this field is rapidly emerging and
[...] Read more.
Masked mycotoxins are plant metabolites of mycotoxins which co-contaminate common cereal crops. Since their discovery, the question has arisen if they contribute to toxicity either directly or indirectly through the release of the parent mycotoxins. Research in this field is rapidly emerging and the aim of this review is to summarize the latest knowledge on the fate of masked mycotoxins upon ingestion. Fusarium mycotoxins are the most prevalent masked mycotoxins and evidence is mounting that DON3Glc and possibly other masked trichothecenes are stable in conditions prevailing in the upper gut and are not absorbed intact. DON3Glc is also not toxic per se, but is hydrolyzed by colonic microbes and further metabolized to DOM-1 in some individuals. Masked zearalenone is rather more bio-reactive with some evidence on gastric and small intestinal hydrolysis as well as hydrolysis by intestinal epithelium and components of blood. Microbial hydrolysis of ZEN14Glc is almost instantaneous and further metabolism also occurs. Identification of zearalenone metabolites and their fate in the colon are still missing as is further clarification on whether or not masked zearalenone is hydrolyzed by mammalian cells. New masked mycotoxins continuously emerge and it is crucial that we gain detailed understanding of their individual metabolic fate in the body before we can assess synergistic effects and extrapolate the additive risk of all mycotoxins present in food. Full article
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Figure 1

Open AccessReview Enteric Pathogens and Their Toxin-Induced Disruption of the Intestinal Barrier through Alteration of Tight Junctions in Chickens
Toxins 2017, 9(2), 60; doi:10.3390/toxins9020060
Received: 22 December 2016 / Revised: 31 January 2017 / Accepted: 6 February 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
PDF Full-text (1941 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Maintaining a healthy gut environment is a prerequisite for sustainable animal production. The gut plays a key role in the digestion and absorption of nutrients and constitutes an initial organ exposed to external factors influencing bird’s health. The intestinal epithelial barrier serves as
[...] Read more.
Maintaining a healthy gut environment is a prerequisite for sustainable animal production. The gut plays a key role in the digestion and absorption of nutrients and constitutes an initial organ exposed to external factors influencing bird’s health. The intestinal epithelial barrier serves as the first line of defense between the host and the luminal environment. It consists of a continuous monolayer of intestinal epithelial cells connected by intercellular junctional complexes which shrink the space between adjacent cells. Consequently, free passing of solutes and water via the paracellular pathway is prevented. Tight junctions (TJs) are multi-protein complexes which are crucial for the integrity and function of the epithelial barrier as they not only link cells but also form channels allowing permeation between cells, resulting in epithelial surfaces of different tightness. Tight junction’s molecular composition, ultrastructure, and function are regulated differently with regard to physiological and pathological stimuli. Both in vivo and in vitro studies suggest that reduced tight junction integrity greatly results in a condition commonly known as “leaky gut”. A loss of barrier integrity allows the translocation of luminal antigens (microbes, toxins) via the mucosa to access the whole body which are normally excluded and subsequently destroys the gut mucosal homeostasis, coinciding with an increased susceptibility to systemic infection, chronic inflammation and malabsorption. There is considerable evidence that the intestinal barrier dysfunction is an important factor contributing to the pathogenicity of some enteric bacteria. It has been shown that some enteric pathogens can induce permeability defects in gut epithelia by altering tight junction proteins, mediated by their toxins. Resolving the strategies that microorganisms use to hijack the functions of tight junctions is important for our understanding of microbial pathogenesis, because some pathogens can utilize tight junction proteins as receptors for attachment and subsequent internalization, while others modify or destroy the tight junction proteins by different pathways and thereby provide a gateway to the underlying tissue. This review aims to deliver an overview of the tight junction structures and function, and its role in enteric bacterial pathogenesis with a special focus on chickens. A main conclusion will be that the molecular mechanisms used by enteric pathogens to disrupt epithelial barrier function in chickens needs a much better understanding, explicitly highlighted for Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella enterica and Clostridium perfringens. This is a requirement in order to assist in discovering new strategies to avoid damages of the intestinal barrier or to minimize consequences from infections. Full article
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Figure 1

Open AccessReview The Status of Fusarium Mycotoxins in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Emerging Trends and Post-Harvest Mitigation Strategies towards Food Control
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 19; doi:10.3390/toxins9010019
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 28 December 2016 / Accepted: 2 January 2017 / Published: 5 January 2017
PDF Full-text (381 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fusarium fungi are common plant pathogens causing several plant diseases. The presence of these molds in plants exposes crops to toxic secondary metabolites called Fusarium mycotoxins. The most studied Fusarium mycotoxins include fumonisins, zearalenone, and trichothecenes. Studies have highlighted the economic impact of
[...] Read more.
Fusarium fungi are common plant pathogens causing several plant diseases. The presence of these molds in plants exposes crops to toxic secondary metabolites called Fusarium mycotoxins. The most studied Fusarium mycotoxins include fumonisins, zearalenone, and trichothecenes. Studies have highlighted the economic impact of mycotoxins produced by Fusarium. These arrays of toxins have been implicated as the causal agents of wide varieties of toxic health effects in humans and animals ranging from acute to chronic. Global surveillance of Fusarium mycotoxins has recorded significant progress in its control; however, little attention has been paid to Fusarium mycotoxins in sub-Saharan Africa, thus translating to limited occurrence data. In addition, legislative regulation is virtually non-existent. The emergence of modified Fusarium mycotoxins, which may contribute to additional toxic effects, worsens an already precarious situation. This review highlights the status of Fusarium mycotoxins in sub-Saharan Africa, the possible food processing mitigation strategies, as well as future perspectives. Full article
Open AccessReview Forthcoming Challenges in Mycotoxins Toxicology Research for Safer Food—A Need for Multi-Omics Approach
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 18; doi:10.3390/toxins9010018
Received: 4 November 2016 / Revised: 29 December 2016 / Accepted: 2 January 2017 / Published: 4 January 2017
PDF Full-text (957 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The presence of mycotoxins in food represents a severe threat for public health and welfare, and poses relevant research challenges in the food toxicology field. Nowadays, food toxicologists have to provide answers to food-related toxicological issues, but at the same time they should
[...] Read more.
The presence of mycotoxins in food represents a severe threat for public health and welfare, and poses relevant research challenges in the food toxicology field. Nowadays, food toxicologists have to provide answers to food-related toxicological issues, but at the same time they should provide the appropriate knowledge in background to effectively support the evidence-based decision-making in food safety. Therefore, keeping in mind that regulatory actions should be based on sound scientific findings, the present opinion addresses the main challenges in providing reliable data for supporting the risk assessment of foodborne mycotoxins. Full article
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