Alternariol (AOH) is a mycotoxin produced by Alternaria
species. In vitro studies suggest the genotoxic, mutagenic, and endocrine disruptor effects of AOH, and an increased incidence of esophageal cancer has been reported related to higher AOH exposure. Human serum albumin (HSA) is the most abundant plasma protein in the circulation, it is able to affect toxicokinetic properties of numerous xenobiotics. HSA forms stable complexes with several mycotoxins, however, the interaction of AOH with albumin has not been examined. In this study, the complex formation of AOH with HSA was tested, employing fluorescence spectroscopy, ultrafiltration, and molecular modeling. Each spectroscopic measurement shows the formation of stable AOH-HSA complexes (K
= 4 × 105
L/mol). Investigations with site markers (in spectroscopic and ultrafiltration models) as well as modeling studies suggest that AOH occupies Sudlow’s site I as a high-affinity binding site in HSA. The binding affinity of AOH towards bovine, porcine, and rat albumins was also tested, suggesting that AOH binds to rat albumin with considerably higher affinity than other albumins tested. Our results demonstrate the strong interaction of AOH with serum albumins, suggesting the potential in vivo importance of these interactions.
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