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Toxins, Volume 10, Issue 3 (March 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The cover illustrates the crystal structure of five single domain antibody fragments (Nanobodies, [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle A QuEChERS-Based Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry Method for the Simultaneous Determination of Nine Zearalenone-Like Mycotoxins in Pigs
Received: 6 February 2018 / Revised: 14 March 2018 / Accepted: 15 March 2018 / Published: 20 March 2018
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Abstract
The determination of zearalenone (ZEN) and its derivatives as biomarkers in animal tissues or organs plays an important role in mycotoxin monitoring and can promote effective exposure assessment. A liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method for the simultaneous quantification of nine ZEN-like mycotoxins,
[...] Read more.
The determination of zearalenone (ZEN) and its derivatives as biomarkers in animal tissues or organs plays an important role in mycotoxin monitoring and can promote effective exposure assessment. A liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method for the simultaneous quantification of nine ZEN-like mycotoxins, including three glucuronides in different pig tissues (heart, liver, spleen and muscle) was developed and validated in this study. Tissue samples were extracted using a quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe (QuEChERS) extraction and clean-up procedure, and analyzed by LC-MS/MS in multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mode. Dynamic linear ranges for each target analyte were determined with R2 between 0.916 and 0.999. The LODs of the six ZENs were achieved in the range of 0.5–1 ng/g and the LOQs varied from 1 ng/g to 2 ng/g. The satisfying intra-day and inter-day reproducibility (both RSDr and RSDR < 20%) indicated a good stability of this method. The recoveries of the nine target analytes were in the range of 70–110%. The validation results showed that this LC-MS/MS method coupled with QuEChERS sample pretreatment is effective and suitable for the simultaneous quantitation of ZEN metabolites in pigs. It has been applied to analysis of the pig tissues in this research and can be also adapted for samples in the mycotoxin research field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
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Open AccessArticle Botulinum Toxin B Affects Neuropathic Pain but Not Functional Recovery after Peripheral Nerve Injury in a Mouse Model
Received: 12 February 2018 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 15 March 2018 / Published: 18 March 2018
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Abstract
Clinical use of neurotoxins from Clostridium botulinum is well established and is continuously expanding, including in treatment of pain conditions. Background: The serotype A (BoNT/A) has been widely investigated, and current data demonstrate that it induces analgesia and modulates nociceptive processing initiated
[...] Read more.
Clinical use of neurotoxins from Clostridium botulinum is well established and is continuously expanding, including in treatment of pain conditions. Background: The serotype A (BoNT/A) has been widely investigated, and current data demonstrate that it induces analgesia and modulates nociceptive processing initiated by inflammation or nerve injury. Given that data concerning the serotype B (BoNT/B) are limited, the aim of the present study was to verify if also BoNT/B is able not only to counteract neuropathic pain, but also to interfere with inflammatory and regenerative processes associated with the nerve injury. Methods: As model of neuropathic pain, chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve was performed in CD1 male mice. Mice were intraplantarly injected with saline (control) or BoNT/B (5 or 7.5 pg/mouse) into the injured hindpaw. For comparison, another mouse group was injected with BoNT/A (15 pg/mouse). Mechanical allodynia and functional recovery of the injured paw was followed for 101 days. Spinal cords and sciatic nerves were collected at day 7 for immunohistochemistry. Results and Conclusions: The results of this study show that BoNT/B is a powerful biological molecule that, similarly to BoNT/A, can reduce neuropathic pain over a long period of time. However, the analgesic effects are not associated with an improvement in functional recovery, clearly highlighting an important difference between the two serotypes for the treatment of this chronic pain state. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Long-Term Occurrence of Deoxynivalenol in Feed and Feed Raw Materials with a Special Focus on South Korea
Received: 5 February 2018 / Revised: 12 March 2018 / Accepted: 15 March 2018 / Published: 16 March 2018
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Abstract
The Fusarium fungi produce toxic substances called mycotoxins, which can cause disease and harmful effects in grains, livestock, and humans. Deoxynivalenol (DON), also known as vomitoxin, is one of the Fusarium mycotoxins that is known to cause vomiting in livestock. This study shows
[...] Read more.
The Fusarium fungi produce toxic substances called mycotoxins, which can cause disease and harmful effects in grains, livestock, and humans. Deoxynivalenol (DON), also known as vomitoxin, is one of the Fusarium mycotoxins that is known to cause vomiting in livestock. This study shows the occurrence of deoxynivalenol in feedstuffs (compound feed and feed ingredients) between 2009 and 2016 in South Korea. A total of 653 domestic samples were collected at five time points, including 494 compound feed samples and 159 feed ingredient samples. DON contamination levels were analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with pretreatment using an immunoaffinity column (IAC). The limit of detection (LOD) and the limit of quantification (LOQ) were estimated at 1–10 µg/kg and 3–35 µg/kg, respectively. Two compound feeds (two gestating sow feed samples) out of 160 pig feed samples exceeded the European Commission (EC) guidance value, while no feed ingredient samples exceeded the EC or South Korean guidance values. There were statistically significant differences in the mean contamination levels of compound feed and feed ingredients that indicated a decreasing trend over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Understanding Mycotoxin Occurrence in Food and Feed Chains)
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Open AccessEditorial Toxins in Drug Discovery and Pharmacology
Received: 12 March 2018 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 14 March 2018 / Published: 16 March 2018
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Abstract
Venoms from marine and terrestrial animals (cone snails, scorpions, spiders, snakes, centipedes, cnidarian, etc.) can be seen as an untapped cocktail of biologically active compounds, being increasingly recognized as a new emerging source of peptide-based therapeutics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxins in Drug Discovery and Pharmacology) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle The Replacement of five Consecutive Amino Acids in the Cyt1A Protein of Bacillus thuringiensis Enhances its Cytotoxic Activity against Lung Epithelial Cancer Cells
Received: 13 February 2018 / Revised: 8 March 2018 / Accepted: 14 March 2018 / Published: 16 March 2018
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Abstract
Cyt1A protein is a cytolytic protein encoded by the cyt gene of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti) as part of the parasporal crystal proteins produced during the sporulation. Cyt1A protein is unique compared to the other endotoxins present in these parasporal crystals. Unlike
[...] Read more.
Cyt1A protein is a cytolytic protein encoded by the cyt gene of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti) as part of the parasporal crystal proteins produced during the sporulation. Cyt1A protein is unique compared to the other endotoxins present in these parasporal crystals. Unlike δ-endotoxins, Cyt1A protein does not require receptors to bind to the target cell and activate the toxicity. It has the ability to affect a broad range of cell types and organisms, due to this characteristic. Cyt1A has been recognized to not only target the insect cells directly, but also recruit other endotoxins by acting as receptors. Due to these mode of actions, Cyt1A has been studied for its cytolytic activity against human cancer cell lines, although not extensively. In this study, we report a novel Cyt1A protein produced by a Bti strain QBT229 isolated from Qatar. When tested for its cytotoxicity against lung cancer cells, this local strain showed considerably higher activity compared to that of the reference Bti and other strains tested. The possible reasons for such enhanced activity were explored at the gene and protein levels. It was evidenced that five consecutive amino acid replacements in the β8 sheet of the Cyt1A protein enhanced the cytotoxicity against the lung epithelial cancer cells. Such novel Cyt1A protein with high cytotoxicity against lung cancer cells has been characterized and reported through this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial Toxins: Structure–Function Relationship)
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Open AccessArticle Indoxyl Sulfate Promotes Macrophage IL-1β Production by Activating Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor/NF-κ/MAPK Cascades, but the NLRP3 inflammasome Was Not Activated
Received: 16 February 2018 / Revised: 11 March 2018 / Accepted: 13 March 2018 / Published: 15 March 2018
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Abstract
In chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients, accumulation of uremic toxins is associated with cardiovascular risk and mortality. One of the hallmarks of kidney disease-related cardiovascular disease is intravascular macrophage inflammation, but the mechanism of the reaction with these toxins is not completely understood.
[...] Read more.
In chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients, accumulation of uremic toxins is associated with cardiovascular risk and mortality. One of the hallmarks of kidney disease-related cardiovascular disease is intravascular macrophage inflammation, but the mechanism of the reaction with these toxins is not completely understood. Macrophages differentiated from THP-1 cells were exposed to indoxyl sulfate (IS), a representative uremic toxin, and changes in inflammatory cytokine production and intracellular signaling molecules including interleukin (IL)-1, aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), nuclear factor (NF)-κ, and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades as well as the NLRP3 inflammasome were quantified by real-time PCR, Western blot analysis, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. IS induced macrophage pro-IL-1β mRNA expression, although mature IL-1 was only slightly increased. IS increased AhR and the AhR-related mRNA expression; this change was suppressed by administration of proteasome inhibitor. IS promoted phosphorylation of NF-κB p65 and MAPK enzymes; the reaction and IL-1 expression were inhibited by BAY11-7082, an inhibitor of NF-κB. In contrast, IS decreased NLRP3 and did not change ASC, pro-caspase 1, or caspase-1 activation. IS-inducing inflammation in macrophages results from accelerating AhR-NF-κB/MAPK cascades, but the NLRP3 inflammasome was not activated. These reactions may restrict mature IL-1β production, which may explain sustained chronic inflammation in CKD patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Issues in Uremic Toxicity)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle Warming Affects Growth Rates and Microcystin Production in Tropical Bloom-Forming Microcystis Strains
Received: 6 January 2018 / Revised: 27 February 2018 / Accepted: 12 March 2018 / Published: 14 March 2018
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Abstract
Warming climate is predicted to promote cyanobacterial blooms but the toxicity of cyanobacteria under global warming is less well studied. We tested the hypothesis that raising temperature may lead to increased growth rates but to decreased microcystin (MC) production in tropical Microcystis strains.
[...] Read more.
Warming climate is predicted to promote cyanobacterial blooms but the toxicity of cyanobacteria under global warming is less well studied. We tested the hypothesis that raising temperature may lead to increased growth rates but to decreased microcystin (MC) production in tropical Microcystis strains. To this end, six Microcystis strains were isolated from different water bodies in Southern Vietnam. They were grown in triplicate at 27 °C (low), 31 °C (medium), 35 °C (high) and 37 °C (extreme). Chlorophyll-a-, particle- and MC concentrations as well as dry-weights were determined. All strains yielded higher biomass in terms of chlorophyll-a concentration and dry-weight at 31 °C compared to 27 °C and then either stabilised, slightly increased or declined with higher temperature. Five strains easily grew at 37 °C but one could not survive at 37 °C. When temperature was increased from 27 °C to 37 °C total MC concentration decreased by 35% in strains with MC-LR as the dominant variant and by 94% in strains with MC-RR. MC quota expressed per particle, per unit chlorophyll-a and per unit dry-weight significantly declined with higher temperatures. This study shows that warming can prompt the growth of some tropical Microcystis strains but that these strains become less toxic. Full article
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Open AccessLetter Analysing the Structural Effect of Point Mutations of Cytotoxic Necrotizing Factor 1 (CNF1) on Lu/BCAM Adhesion Glycoprotein Association
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 6 March 2018 / Accepted: 8 March 2018 / Published: 13 March 2018
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Abstract
Cytotoxic Necrotizing Factor 1 (CNF1) was identified in 1983 as a protein toxin produced by certain pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli. Since then, numerous studies have investigated its particularities. For instance, it is associated with the single chain AB-toxin family, and can
[...] Read more.
Cytotoxic Necrotizing Factor 1 (CNF1) was identified in 1983 as a protein toxin produced by certain pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli. Since then, numerous studies have investigated its particularities. For instance, it is associated with the single chain AB-toxin family, and can be divided into different functional and structural domains, e.g., catalytic and transmembrane domain and interaction sites. A few years ago, the identification of the Lutheran (Lu) adhesion glycoprotein/basal cell adhesion molecule (BCAM) as a cellular receptor for CNF1 provided new insights into the adhesion process of CNF1. Very recently, the Ig-like domain 2 of Lu/BCAM was confirmed as the main interaction site using protein-protein interaction and competition studies with various different mutants. Here, I present in silico approaches that precisely explain the impact of these mutations, leading to a better explanation of these experimental studies. These results can be used in the development of future antitoxin strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
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Open AccessArticle The Primary Duct of Bothrops jararaca Glandular Apparatus Secretes Toxins
Received: 21 February 2018 / Revised: 8 March 2018 / Accepted: 10 March 2018 / Published: 13 March 2018
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Abstract
Despite numerous studies concerning morphology and venom production and secretion in the main venom gland (and some data on the accessory gland) of the venom glandular apparatus of Viperidae snakes, the primary duct has been overlooked. We characterized the primary duct of the
[...] Read more.
Despite numerous studies concerning morphology and venom production and secretion in the main venom gland (and some data on the accessory gland) of the venom glandular apparatus of Viperidae snakes, the primary duct has been overlooked. We characterized the primary duct of the Bothrops jararaca snake by morphological analysis, immunohistochemistry and proteomics. The duct has a pseudostratified epithelium with secretory columnar cells with vesicles of various electrondensities, as well as mitochondria-rich, dark, basal, and horizontal cells. Morphological analysis, at different periods after venom extraction, showed that the primary duct has a long cycle of synthesis and secretion, as do the main venom and accessory glands; however, the duct has a mixed mode venom storage, both in the lumen and in secretory vesicles. Mouse anti-B. jararaca venom serum strongly stained the primary duct’s epithelium. Subsequent proteomic analysis revealed the synthesis of venom toxins—mainly C-type lectin/C-type lectin-like proteins. We propose that the primary duct’s toxin synthesis products complement the final venom bolus. Finally, we hypothesize that the primary duct and the accessory gland (components of the venom glandular apparatus) are part of the evolutionary path from a salivary gland towards the main venom gland. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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Open AccessArticle Functional Characterization of the alb1 Orthologue Gene in the Ochratoxigenic Fungus Aspergillus carbonarius (AC49 strain)
Received: 26 January 2018 / Revised: 6 March 2018 / Accepted: 9 March 2018 / Published: 12 March 2018
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Abstract
Aspergillus carbonarius, belonging to the group Nigri, is the main species responsible for contamination by ochratoxin A (OTA) in grapes and derivative products. OTA can accumulate in the mycelium and in black conidia of the fungus and released into the matrix. Here,
[...] Read more.
Aspergillus carbonarius, belonging to the group Nigri, is the main species responsible for contamination by ochratoxin A (OTA) in grapes and derivative products. OTA can accumulate in the mycelium and in black conidia of the fungus and released into the matrix. Here, we have deleted in A. carbonarius the alb1 orthologue gene of A. fumigatus, involved in melanin biosynthesis. Three A. carbonarius Δalb1 mutants were characterized for morphologic traits and OTA production on different media and temperatures. Δalb1 mutants showed a fawn color of conidia associated with a significant reduction of the conidiogenesis and a statistically significant increase (p ≤ 0.01) of total OTA production as compared to the wild type (WT) strain. The alb1 gene somehow affected OTA partitioning since in Δalb1 mutants OTA amount was lower in conidia and was more abundantly secreted into the medium as compared to the WT. On grape berries the Δalb1 mutants and the WT caused lesions with similar sizes but OTA amount in berry tissues was higher for the mutants. These results demonstrate that A. carbonarius conidia pigmentation is largely dependent on polyketide biosynthesis. The gene is not directly involved in virulence and its deletion affects morphological features and OTA production in the fungus. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Imaging Surface Plasmon Resonance Biosensor Assay for the Detection of T-2 Toxin and Masked T-2 Toxin-3-Glucoside in Wheat
Received: 25 January 2018 / Revised: 2 March 2018 / Accepted: 7 March 2018 / Published: 10 March 2018
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Abstract
A sensitive, rapid, and reproducible imaging surface plasmon resonance (iSPR) biosensor assay was developed to detect T-2 toxin and T-2 toxin-3-glucoside (T2-G) in wheat. In this competitive assay, an amplification strategy was used after conjugating a secondary antibody (Ab2) with gold
[...] Read more.
A sensitive, rapid, and reproducible imaging surface plasmon resonance (iSPR) biosensor assay was developed to detect T-2 toxin and T-2 toxin-3-glucoside (T2-G) in wheat. In this competitive assay, an amplification strategy was used after conjugating a secondary antibody (Ab2) with gold nanoparticles. Wheat samples were extracted with a methanol/water mixture (80:20 v/v), then diluted with an equal volume of primary antibody (Ab1) for analysis. Matrix-matched calibration curves were prepared to determine T-2 toxin and T2-G. Recovery studies were conducted at three spiking levels in blank wheat. Mean recoveries ranged from 86 to 90%, with relative standard deviations for repeatability (RSDr) of less than 6%. Limits of detection were 1.2 ng/mL of T-2 toxin and 0.9 ng/mL of T2-G, equivalent to their levels in wheat, of 48 and 36 µg/kg, respectively. The developed iSPR assay was rapid and provided enough sensitivity for the monitoring of T-2 toxin/T2-G in wheat. This is the first iSPR assay useful for detecting the “masked” T2-G in wheat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Sensors for Toxins)
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Open AccessReview EU Regulatory Risk Management of Marine Biotoxins in the Marine Bivalve Mollusc Food-Chain
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 1 March 2018 / Accepted: 5 March 2018 / Published: 10 March 2018
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Abstract
Food safety risk assessment in the European Union (EU) recognises consumer illness that arises from marine biotoxins as a risk associated with bivalve mollusc consumption. EU food regulations contain various general food safety obligations, which should contribute significantly to managing this risk. EU
[...] Read more.
Food safety risk assessment in the European Union (EU) recognises consumer illness that arises from marine biotoxins as a risk associated with bivalve mollusc consumption. EU food regulations contain various general food safety obligations, which should contribute significantly to managing this risk. EU food regulations additionally impose various specific obligations on both Food Business Operators and Competent Authorities in order to manage the marine biotoxin food safety risk in the bivalve mollusc food-chain. These have a particular focus on the pre-harvest component of the food-chain. A central component of these specific systems is the requirement for ongoing monitoring of phytoplankton and biotoxin concentrations in water and molluscs, respectively. This monitoring explicitly brings a potential outcome of closing production areas delineated by classification to prohibit the harvest of bivalve molluscs as food from those areas when acceptable biotoxin concentrations are exceeded. This review considers the utility of these systems, at conceptual and practical levels, and explores their contribution to an effective regulatory risk management approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health Outreach to Prevention of Aquatic Toxin Exposure)
Open AccessArticle G Protein α Subunit GpaB is Required for Asexual Development, Aflatoxin Biosynthesis and Pathogenicity by Regulating cAMP Signaling in Aspergillus flavus
Received: 5 February 2018 / Revised: 5 March 2018 / Accepted: 7 March 2018 / Published: 10 March 2018
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Abstract
The heterotrimeric G proteins are critical for signal transduction and function in numerous biological processes including vegetative growth, asexual development and fungal virulence in fungi. Here, we identified four G protein alpha subunits (GanA, GpaB, FadA and GaoC) in the notorious Aflatoxin-producing fungus
[...] Read more.
The heterotrimeric G proteins are critical for signal transduction and function in numerous biological processes including vegetative growth, asexual development and fungal virulence in fungi. Here, we identified four G protein alpha subunits (GanA, GpaB, FadA and GaoC) in the notorious Aflatoxin-producing fungus Aspergillus flavus. GanA, GpaB and FadA have homologues in other fungal species, while GaoC is a novel one. Here, we showed that the loss function of gpaB displayed a defect in conidiophore formation and considerably reduced expression levels of conidia-specific genes brlA and abaA. A decreased viability of cell wall integrity stress and oxidative stress were also found in the ∆gpaB mutant. More importantly, aflatoxin (AF) biosynthesis and infection on crop seeds were severely impaired in the gpaB-deficient mutant. Further analyses demonstrated that the intracellular cAMP levels significantly reduced in the gpaB-deficient mutant compared to wildtype strains. Additionally, an alteration of PKA activities in the ∆gpaB mutant was also found. Overall, our results indicated that GpaB played diverse roles in asexual sporulation, AF biosynthesis and virulence by regulating cAMP signaling in Aspergillus flavus. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Aflatoxins)
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Open AccessEditorial Promising Detoxification Strategies to Mitigate Mycotoxins in Food and Feed
Received: 19 February 2018 / Revised: 7 March 2018 / Accepted: 7 March 2018 / Published: 9 March 2018
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Abstract
Mycotoxins are secondary fungal metabolites associated with adverse human health and animal productivity consequences.[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle Host and Cropping System Shape the Fusarium Population: 3ADON-Producers Are Ubiquitous in Wheat Whereas NIV-Producers Are More Prevalent in Rice
Received: 5 February 2018 / Revised: 24 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 March 2018 / Published: 8 March 2018
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Abstract
In recent years, Fusarium head blight (FHB) outbreaks have occurred much more frequently in China. The reduction of burning of the preceding crop residues is suggested to contribute to more severe epidemics as it may increase the initial inoculum. In this study, a
[...] Read more.
In recent years, Fusarium head blight (FHB) outbreaks have occurred much more frequently in China. The reduction of burning of the preceding crop residues is suggested to contribute to more severe epidemics as it may increase the initial inoculum. In this study, a large number of Fusarium isolates was collected from blighted wheat spikes as well as from rice stubble with perithecia originating from nine sampling sites in five provinces in Southern China. Fusarium asiaticum dominated both wheat and rice populations, although rice populations showed a higher species diversity. Chemotype analysis showed that rice is the preferred niche for NIV mycotoxin producers that were shown to be less virulent on wheat. In contrast, 3ADON producers are more prevalent on wheat and in wheat producing areas. The 3ADON producers were shown to be more virulent on wheat, revealing the selection pressure of wheat on 3ADON producers. For the first time, members of the Incarnatum-clade of Fusarium Incarnatum-Equiseti Species Complex (FIESC) were found to reproduce sexually on rice stubble. The pathogenicity of FIESC isolates on wheat proved very low and this may cause the apparent absence of this species in the main wheat producing provinces. This is the first report of the Fusarium population structure including rice stubble as well as a direct comparison with the population on wheat heads in the same fields. Our results confirm that the perithecia on rice stubble are the primary inoculum of FHB on wheat and that cropping systems affect the local Fusarium population. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effects of High Levels of Deoxynivalenol and Zearalenone on Growth Performance, and Hematological and Immunological Parameters in Pigs
Received: 7 February 2018 / Revised: 2 March 2018 / Accepted: 5 March 2018 / Published: 7 March 2018
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Abstract
Background: Deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEN) are common food contaminants produced by Fusarium sp. Mycotoxins are a potential health hazard because of their toxicological effects on both humans and farmed animals. Methods: We analyzed three groups of pigs: a control group (fed
[...] Read more.
Background: Deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEN) are common food contaminants produced by Fusarium sp. Mycotoxins are a potential health hazard because of their toxicological effects on both humans and farmed animals. Methods: We analyzed three groups of pigs: a control group (fed a standard diet), and the DON and ZEN groups, fed a diet containing 8 mg/kg DON and 0.8 mg/kg ZEN respectively, for four weeks. Results: DON and ZEN exposure decreased body weight (BW), average daily feed intake (ADFI), food conversion rate (FCR), and the serum levels of immunoglobulin (Ig)G and IgM. The total antioxidant levels significantly decreased in serum and increased in urine samples of both treatment groups. Additionally, DON and ZEN exposure increased serotonin levels in urine. Hematological parameters were not affected by the investigated toxins. Microscopic lesions were evident in sections of kidneys from either treatment group: we found sporadic interstitial nephritis in the DON group and renal glomerulus atrophy in the ZEN group. The expression levels of inflammatory cytokines and chemokine marker genes were reduced in tissues from DON- and ZEN-exposed pigs. Conclusions: chronic ingestion of high doses of DON and ZEN alters the immune response and causes organs damage, and might be associated with various diseases in pigs. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Fusarium Toxins – Relevance for Human and Animal Health)
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Open AccessArticle Individual and Combined Occurrence of Mycotoxins in Feed Ingredients and Complete Feeds in China
Received: 2 February 2018 / Revised: 2 March 2018 / Accepted: 5 March 2018 / Published: 7 March 2018
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Abstract
The objective of this study was to investigate the individual and combined contamination of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), zearalenone (ZEN) and deoxynivalenol (DON) in feedstuffs from different Provinces of China between 2016 and 2017. A total of 1569 samples, including 742
[...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to investigate the individual and combined contamination of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), zearalenone (ZEN) and deoxynivalenol (DON) in feedstuffs from different Provinces of China between 2016 and 2017. A total of 1569 samples, including 742 feed ingredients and 827 complete pig feed samples, were collected from various regions of China for mycotoxins analysis. The results showed that individual occurrence rates of AFB1, ZEN, and DON were more than 83.3%, 88%, and 74.5%, respectively, in all the tested samples. DON was the most prevalent contaminant, followed by ZEN and AFB1, with the average concentrations ranging from 450.0–4381.5 μg/kg, 2.3–729.2 μg/kg, and 1.3–10.0 μg/kg, respectively. Notable, 38.2%, 10.8%, and 0.6% of complete pig feeds were contaminated with DON, ZEN, and AFB1 over China’s regulatory limits, respectively. Moreover, over 75.0% analyzed samples were co-contaminated with two or three mycotoxins. In conclusion, the current study revealed that the feedstuffs in China were severely contaminated with DON, followed by ZEN and AFB1 during the past two years. These findings highlight the importance of monitoring mycotoxins in livestock feed and implementing feed management and bioremediation strategies to reduce mycotoxin exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Understanding Mycotoxin Occurrence in Food and Feed Chains)
Open AccessReview Fungal Cytochrome P450s and the P450 Complement (CYPome) of Fusarium graminearum
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 2 March 2018 / Accepted: 3 March 2018 / Published: 7 March 2018
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Abstract
Cytochrome P450s (CYPs), heme-containing monooxygenases, play important roles in a wide variety of metabolic processes important for development as well as biotic/trophic interactions in most living organisms. Functions of some CYP enzymes are similar across organisms, but some are organism-specific; they are involved
[...] Read more.
Cytochrome P450s (CYPs), heme-containing monooxygenases, play important roles in a wide variety of metabolic processes important for development as well as biotic/trophic interactions in most living organisms. Functions of some CYP enzymes are similar across organisms, but some are organism-specific; they are involved in the biosynthesis of structural components, signaling networks, secondary metabolisms, and xenobiotic/drug detoxification. Fungi possess more diverse CYP families than plants, animals, or bacteria. Various fungal CYPs are involved in not only ergosterol synthesis and virulence but also in the production of a wide array of secondary metabolites, which exert toxic effects on humans and other animals. Although few studies have investigated the functions of fungal CYPs, a recent systematic functional analysis of CYP genes in the plant pathogen Fusarium graminearum identified several novel CYPs specifically involved in virulence, asexual and sexual development, and degradation of xenobiotics. This review provides fundamental information on fungal CYPs and a new platform for further metabolomic and biochemical studies of CYPs in toxigenic fungi. Full article
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Open AccessArticle UDP-Glucosyltransferases from Rice, Brachypodium, and Barley: Substrate Specificities and Synthesis of Type A and B Trichothecene-3-O-β-d-glucosides
Received: 7 February 2018 / Revised: 28 February 2018 / Accepted: 1 March 2018 / Published: 6 March 2018
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Abstract
Trichothecene toxins are confirmed or suspected virulence factors of various plant-pathogenic Fusarium species. Plants can detoxify these to a variable extent by glucosylation, a reaction catalyzed by UDP-glucosyltransferases (UGTs). Due to the unavailability of analytical standards for many trichothecene-glucoconjugates, information on such compounds
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Trichothecene toxins are confirmed or suspected virulence factors of various plant-pathogenic Fusarium species. Plants can detoxify these to a variable extent by glucosylation, a reaction catalyzed by UDP-glucosyltransferases (UGTs). Due to the unavailability of analytical standards for many trichothecene-glucoconjugates, information on such compounds is limited. Here, the previously identified deoxynivalenol-conjugating UGTs HvUGT13248 (barley), OsUGT79 (rice) and Bradi5g03300 (Brachypodium), were expressed in E. coli, affinity purified, and characterized towards their abilities to glucosylate the most relevant type A and B trichothecenes. HvUGT13248, which prefers nivalenol over deoxynivalenol, is also able to conjugate C-4 acetylated trichothecenes (e.g., T-2 toxin) to some degree while OsUGT79 and Bradi5g03300 are completely inactive with C-4 acetylated derivatives. The type A trichothecenes HT-2 toxin and T-2 triol are the kinetically preferred substrates in the case of HvUGT13248 and Bradi5g03300. We glucosylated several trichothecenes with OsUGT79 (HT-2 toxin, T-2 triol) and HvUGT13248 (T-2 toxin, neosolaniol, 4,15-diacetoxyscirpenol, fusarenon X) in the preparative scale. NMR analysis of the purified glucosides showed that exclusively β-D-glucosides were formed regio-selectively at position C-3-OH of the trichothecenes. These synthesized standards can be used to investigate the occurrence and toxicological properties of these modified mycotoxins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
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Open AccessArticle Changes in Phenylpropanoid and Trichothecene Production by Fusarium culmorum and F. graminearum Sensu Stricto via Exposure to Flavonoids
Received: 13 February 2018 / Revised: 2 March 2018 / Accepted: 3 March 2018 / Published: 5 March 2018
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Abstract
Flavonoids are a group of hydroxylated polyphenolic compounds widely distributed in the plant kingdom. Biosynthesis of these compounds involves type III PKSs, whose presence has been recently predicted in some fungal species through genome sequencing efforts. In this study, for the first time
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Flavonoids are a group of hydroxylated polyphenolic compounds widely distributed in the plant kingdom. Biosynthesis of these compounds involves type III PKSs, whose presence has been recently predicted in some fungal species through genome sequencing efforts. In this study, for the first time it was found that Fusaria produce flavonoids on solid YES medium. Naringenin, as the central precursor of all flavonoids, was produced at highest quantities, followed by quercetin, kaempferol, apigenin and luteolin. In plants, flavonoids are involved in the protection of cereals to a wide range of stresses, including host defense against Fusaria. Under in vitro conditions, strains of Fusarium culmorum and F. graminearum sensu stricto were incubated at levels of flavonoids close to amounts produced by cereals in response to fungal infection. The amounts of exogenous naringenin, apigenin, luteolin, kaempferol and quercetin were reduced and converted by fungi to the other flavonoid derivatives. Treatment of fungi with naringenin derivatives led to the inhibition of naringenin production. Correspondingly, the production of fungal-derived phenolic acids decreased in flavonoid treated samples, although this effect appeared to be dependent on the strain, flavonoid molecule and its concentration. Fusaria showed high variability in trichothecene production in response to flavonoids. With emphasis on quercetin, mycotoxin accumulation in the media was significantly decreased by luteolin, kaempferol, naringenin and apigenin. However, in some cases, apigenin led to the increase of mycotoxin content in the media. Gene expression experiments of Tri genes responsible for trichothecene biosynthesis (Tri4, Tri5 and Tri10) proved that the inhibition of mycotoxin production by flavonoids occurred at the transcriptional level. However, the changes in Tri transcript levels were not significant in most apigenin and all kaempferol-treated cultures. In this study, a link was established between antioxidant and antiradical properties of flavonoids and their effects on fungi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Foodborne Toxins: Pathogenesis and Novel Control Measures)
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Open AccessFeature PaperOpinion MycoKey Round Table Discussions of Future Directions in Research on Chemical Detection Methods, Genetics and Biodiversity of Mycotoxins
Received: 23 January 2018 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 28 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
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Abstract
MycoKey, an EU-funded Horizon 2020 project, includes a series of “Roundtable Discussions” to gather information on trending research areas in the field of mycotoxicology. This paper includes summaries of the Roundtable Discussions on Chemical Detection and Monitoring of mycotoxins and on the role
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MycoKey, an EU-funded Horizon 2020 project, includes a series of “Roundtable Discussions” to gather information on trending research areas in the field of mycotoxicology. This paper includes summaries of the Roundtable Discussions on Chemical Detection and Monitoring of mycotoxins and on the role of genetics and biodiversity in mycotoxin production. Discussions were managed by using the nominal group discussion technique, which generates numerous ideas and provides a ranking for those identified as the most important. Four questions were posed for each research area, as well as two questions that were common to both discussions. Test kits, usually antibody based, were one major focus of the discussions at the Chemical Detection and Monitoring roundtable because of their many favorable features, e.g., cost, speed and ease of use. The second area of focus for this roundtable was multi-mycotoxin detection protocols and the challenges still to be met to enable these protocols to become methods of choice for regulated mycotoxins. For the genetic and biodiversity group, both the depth and the breadth of trending research areas were notable. For some areas, e.g., microbiome studies, the suggested research questions were primarily of a descriptive nature. In other areas, multiple experimental approaches, e.g., transcriptomics, proteomics, RNAi and gene deletions, are needed to understand the regulation of toxin production and mechanisms underlying successful biological controls. Answers to the research questions will provide starting points for developing acceptable prevention and remediation processes. Forging a partnership between scientists and appropriately-placed communications experts was recognized by both groups as an essential step to communicating risks, while retaining overall confidence in the safety of the food supply and the integrity of the food production chain. Full article
Open AccessArticle Structural Basis for the Specific Neutralization of Stx2a with a Camelid Single Domain Antibody Fragment
Received: 31 December 2017 / Revised: 8 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
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Abstract
Background: Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are a subset of pathogens leading to illnesses such as diarrhea, hemolytic uremic syndrome and even death. The Shiga toxins are the main virulence factors and divided in two groups: Stx1 and Stx2, of which the latter
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Background: Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are a subset of pathogens leading to illnesses such as diarrhea, hemolytic uremic syndrome and even death. The Shiga toxins are the main virulence factors and divided in two groups: Stx1 and Stx2, of which the latter is more frequently associated with severe pathologies in humans. Results: An immune library of nanobodies (Nbs) was constructed after immunizing an alpaca with recombinant Shiga toxin-2a B subunit (rStx2aB), to retrieve multiple rStx2aB-specific Nbs. The specificity of five Nbs towards rStx2aB was confirmed in ELISA and Western blot. Nb113 had the highest affinity (9.6 nM) and its bivalent construct exhibited a 100-fold higher functional affinity. The structure of the Nb113 in complex with rStx2aB was determined via X-ray crystallography. The crystal structure of the Nb113–rStx2aB complex revealed that five copies of Nb113 bind to the rStx2aB pentamer and that the Nb113 epitope overlaps with the Gb3 binding site, thereby providing a structural basis for the neutralization of Stx2a by Nb113 that was observed on Vero cells. Finally, the tandem-repeated, bivalent Nb1132 exhibits a higher toxin neutralization capacity compared to monovalent Nb113. Conclusions: The Nb of highest affinity for rStx2aB is also the best Stx2a and Stx2c toxin neutralizing Nb, especially in a bivalent format. This lead Nb neutralizes Stx2a by competing for the Gb3 receptor. The fusion of the bivalent Nb1132 with a serum albumin specific Nb is expected to combine high toxin neutralization potential with prolonged blood circulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Shiga Toxin-Associated Infection)
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Open AccessErratum Erratum: Differences in Ribosome Binding and Sarcin/Ricin Loop Depurination by Shiga and Ricin Holotoxins. Toxins 2017, 9, 133
Received: 7 February 2018 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 9 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
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Abstract
We wish to make the following correction to the published paper [1].[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ribosome Inactivating Toxins)
Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle Genotoxic and Cytotoxic Effects on the Immune Cells of the Freshwater Bivalve Dreissena polymorpha Exposed to the Environmental Neurotoxin BMAA
Received: 22 December 2017 / Revised: 14 February 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
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Abstract
The environmental neurotoxin β-N-Methylamino-l-alanine (BMAA) has been pointed out to be involved in human neurodegenerative diseases. This molecule is known to be bioaccumulated by bivalves. However, little data about its toxic effects on freshwater mussels is available, particularly on
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The environmental neurotoxin β-N-Methylamino-l-alanine (BMAA) has been pointed out to be involved in human neurodegenerative diseases. This molecule is known to be bioaccumulated by bivalves. However, little data about its toxic effects on freshwater mussels is available, particularly on the hemolymphatic compartment and its hemocyte cells involved in various physiological processes such as immune defenses, digestion and excretion, tissue repair, and shell production. Here we exposed Dreissena polymorpha to dissolved BMAA, at the environmental concentration of 7.5 µg of /mussel/3 days, during 21 days followed by 14 days of depuration in clear water, with the objective of assessing the BMAA presence in the hemolymphatic compartment, as well as the impact of the hemocyte cells in terms of potential cytotoxicity, immunotoxicity, and genotoxiciy. Data showed that hemocytes were in contact with BMAA. The presence of BMAA in hemolymph did not induce significant effect on hemocytes phagocytosis activity. However, significant DNA damage on hemocytes occurred during the first week (days 3 and 8) of BMAA exposure, followed by an increase of hemocyte mortality after 2 weeks of exposure. Those effects might be an indirect consequence of the BMAA-induced oxidative stress in cells. However, DNA strand breaks and mortality did not persist during the entire exposure, despite the BMAA persistence in the hemolymph, suggesting potential induction of some DNA-repair mechanisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
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Open AccessArticle A Three Monoclonal Antibody Combination Potently Neutralizes Multiple Botulinum Neurotoxin Serotype E Subtypes
Received: 12 December 2017 / Revised: 5 February 2018 / Accepted: 13 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
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Abstract
Human botulism is most commonly caused by botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) serotypes A, B, and E. For this work, we sought to develop a human monoclonal antibody (mAb)-based antitoxin capable of binding and neutralizing multiple subtypes of BoNT/E. Libraries of yeast-displayed single chain Fv
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Human botulism is most commonly caused by botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) serotypes A, B, and E. For this work, we sought to develop a human monoclonal antibody (mAb)-based antitoxin capable of binding and neutralizing multiple subtypes of BoNT/E. Libraries of yeast-displayed single chain Fv (scFv) antibodies were created from the heavy and light chain variable region genes of humans immunized with pentavalent-toxoid- and BoNT/E-binding scFv isolated by Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorting (FACS). A total of 10 scFv were isolated that bound one or more BoNT/E subtypes with nanomolar-level equilibrium dissociation constants (KD). By diversifying the V-regions of the lead mAbs and selecting for cross-reactivity, we generated three scFv that bound all four BoNT/E subtypes tested at three non-overlapping epitopes. The scFvs were converted to IgG that had KD values for the different BoNT/E subtypes ranging from 9.7 nM to 2.28 pM. An equimolar combination of the three mAbs was able to potently neutralize BoNT/E1, BoNT/E3, and BoNT/E4 in a mouse neutralization assay. The mAbs have potential utility as therapeutics and as diagnostics capable of recognizing multiple BoNT/E subtypes. A derivative of the three-antibody combination (NTM-1633) is in pre-clinical development with an investigational new drug (IND) application filing expected in 2018. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Botulinum Neurotoxins Antibody and Vaccine)
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Open AccessArticle Biosynthesis and Characterization of Zearalenone-14-Sulfate, Zearalenone-14-Glucoside and Zearalenone-16-Glucoside Using Common Fungal Strains
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 23 February 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
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Abstract
Zearalenone (ZEN) and its phase II sulfate and glucoside metabolites have been detected in food and feed commodities. After consumption, the conjugates can be hydrolyzed by the human intestinal microbiota leading to liberation of ZEN that implies an underestimation of the true ZEN
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Zearalenone (ZEN) and its phase II sulfate and glucoside metabolites have been detected in food and feed commodities. After consumption, the conjugates can be hydrolyzed by the human intestinal microbiota leading to liberation of ZEN that implies an underestimation of the true ZEN exposure. To include ZEN conjugates in routine analysis, reliable standards are needed, which are currently not available. Thus, the aim of the present study was to develop a facilitated biosynthesis of ZEN-14-sulfate, ZEN-14-glucoside and ZEN-16-glucoside. A metabolite screening was conducted by adding ZEN to liquid fungi cultures of known ZEN conjugating Aspergillus and Rhizopus strains. Cultivation conditions and ZEN incubation time were varied. All media samples were analyzed for metabolite formation by HPLC-MS/MS. In addition, a consecutive biosynthesis was developed by using Fusarium graminearum for ZEN biosynthesis with subsequent conjugation of the toxin by utilizing Aspergillus and Rhizopus species. ZEN-14-sulfate (yield: 49%) is exclusively formed by Aspergillus oryzae. ZEN-14-glucoside (yield: 67%) and ZEN-16-glucoside (yield: 39%) are formed by Rhizopus oryzae and Rhizopus oligosporus, respectively. Purities of ≥73% ZEN-14-sulfate, ≥82% ZEN-14-glucoside and ≥50% ZEN-16-glucoside were obtained by 1H-NMR. In total, under optimized cultivation conditions, fungi can be easily utilized for a targeted and regioselective synthesis of ZEN conjugates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Fusarium Research)
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Open AccessReview Proteomic Methods of Detection and Quantification of Protein Toxins
Received: 12 February 2018 / Revised: 21 February 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract
Biological toxins are a heterogeneous group of compounds that share commonalities with biological and chemical agents. Among them, protein toxins represent a considerable, diverse set. They cover a broad range of molecular weights from less than 1000 Da to more than 150 kDa.
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Biological toxins are a heterogeneous group of compounds that share commonalities with biological and chemical agents. Among them, protein toxins represent a considerable, diverse set. They cover a broad range of molecular weights from less than 1000 Da to more than 150 kDa. This review aims to compare conventional detection methods of protein toxins such as in vitro bioassays with proteomic methods, including immunoassays and mass spectrometry-based techniques and their combination. Special emphasis is given to toxins falling into a group of selected agents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such as Staphylococcal enterotoxins, Bacillus anthracis toxins, Clostridium botulinum toxins, Clostridium perfringens epsilon toxin, ricin from Ricinus communis, Abrin from Abrus precatorius or control of trade in dual-use items in the European Union, including lesser known protein toxins such as Viscumin from Viscum album. The analysis of protein toxins and monitoring for biological threats, i.e., the deliberate spread of infectious microorganisms or toxins through water, food, or the air, requires rapid and reliable methods for the early identification of these agents. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Estrogen Receptor α Is Crucial in Zearalenone-Induced Invasion and Migration of Prostate Cancer Cells
Received: 12 December 2017 / Revised: 28 January 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract
Zearalenone (ZEA), a mycotoxin produced in the genus Fusarium, binds to estrogen receptors (ER) and is therefore regarded as an endocrine disruptor. ZEA has also been found to modulate the proliferation and apoptosis of prostate cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner. This
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Zearalenone (ZEA), a mycotoxin produced in the genus Fusarium, binds to estrogen receptors (ER) and is therefore regarded as an endocrine disruptor. ZEA has also been found to modulate the proliferation and apoptosis of prostate cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner. This study evaluates whether the effect of a low dose of ZEA (0.1 and 0.001 nM) on the invasion and migration of prostate cancer cell line PC3 is associated with ERs expression. The invasion and migration was evaluated by modified Boyden chamber assay, scratch assay, gelatin zymography, Real Time qPCR (RTqPCR) and Western blot. The involvement of ERs was evaluated with the selective ER antagonists: estrogen receptor α (ERα) antagonist 1,3-bis (4-hydroxyphenyl)-4-methyl-5-[4-(2-piperidinylethoxy) phenol]-1H-pyrazole dihydrochloride (MPP) and estrogen receptor β (ERβ) antagonist 4-[2–phenyl-5,7–bis (trifluoromethyl) pyrazolo [1,5-a]-pyrimidin-3-yl] phenol (PHTPP). ZEA was found to modulate cell motility dependent on estrogen receptors, particularly ERα. Increased cell migration and invasion were associated with increased MMP-2 and MMP-9 activity as well as the up-regulation of the EMT-associated genes vimentin (VIM), zinc finger E-box-binding homeobox 1/2 (ZEB1/2) and transforming growth factor β 1 (TGFβ1). In conclusion, ZEA might modulate the invasiveness of prostate cancer cells dependently on ERα expression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
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Open AccessFeature PaperEditor’s ChoiceArticle Prorocentrolide-A from Cultured Prorocentrum lima Dinoflagellates Collected in Japan Blocks Sub-Types of Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 19 February 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract
Prorocentrolides are members of the cyclic imine phycotoxins family. Their chemical structure includes a 26-membered carbo-macrocycle and a 28-membered macrocyclic lactone arranged around a hexahydroisoquinoline that incorporates the characteristic cyclic imine group. Six prorocentrolides are already known. However, their mode of action remains
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Prorocentrolides are members of the cyclic imine phycotoxins family. Their chemical structure includes a 26-membered carbo-macrocycle and a 28-membered macrocyclic lactone arranged around a hexahydroisoquinoline that incorporates the characteristic cyclic imine group. Six prorocentrolides are already known. However, their mode of action remains undetermined. The aim of the present work was to explore whether prorocentrolide-A acts on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), using competition-binding assays and electrophysiological techniques. Prorocentrolide-A displaced [125I]α-bungarotoxin binding to Torpedo membranes, expressing the muscle-type (α12β1γδ) nAChR, and in HEK-293 cells, expressing the chimeric chick neuronal α7-5HT3 nAChR. Functional studies revealed that prorocentrolide-A had no agonist action on nAChRs, but inhibited ACh-induced currents in Xenopus oocytes that had incorporated the muscle-type α12β1γδ nAChR to their membranes, or that expressed the human α7 nAChR, as revealed by voltage-clamp recordings. Molecular docking calculations showed the absence of the characteristic hydrogen bond between the iminium group of prorocentrolide-A and the backbone carbonyl group of Trp147 in the receptor, explaining its weaker affinity as compared to all other cyclic imine toxins. In conclusion, this is the first study to show that prorocentrolide-A acts on both muscle and neuronal nAChRs, but with higher affinity on the muscle-type nAChR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health Outreach to Prevention of Aquatic Toxin Exposure)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle True Lies: Using Proteomics to Assess the Accuracy of Transcriptome-Based Venomics in Centipedes Uncovers False Positives and Reveals Startling Intraspecific Variation in Scolopendra subspinipes
Received: 23 January 2018 / Revised: 20 February 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract
Centipede venoms have emerged as a rich source of novel bioactive compounds. However, most centipede species are commonly considered too small for venom extraction and transcriptomics is likely to be an attractive way of probing the molecular diversity of these venoms. Examining the
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Centipede venoms have emerged as a rich source of novel bioactive compounds. However, most centipede species are commonly considered too small for venom extraction and transcriptomics is likely to be an attractive way of probing the molecular diversity of these venoms. Examining the venom composition of Scolopendra subspinipes, we test the accuracy of this approach. We compared the proteomically determined venom profile with four common toxin transcriptomic toxin annotation approaches: BLAST search against toxins in UniProt, lineage-specific toxins, or species-specific toxins and comparative expression analyses of venom and non-venom producing tissues. This demonstrated that even toxin annotation based on lineage-specific homology searches is prone to substantial errors compared to a proteomic approach. However, combined comparative transcriptomics and phylogenetic analysis of putative toxin families substantially improves annotation accuracy. Furthermore, comparison of the venom composition of S. subspinipes with the closely related S. subspinipes mutilans revealed a surprising lack of overlap. This first insight into the intraspecific venom variability of centipedes contrasts the sequence conservation expected from previous findings that centipede toxins evolve under strong negative selection. Our results highlight the importance of proteomic data in studies of even comparably well-characterized venoms and warrants caution when sourcing venom from centipedes of unknown origin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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