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Toxins, Volume 13, Issue 11 (November 2021) – 94 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Shiga toxin (Stx) secreted from enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) attacks kidneys and causes hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), but since some antibiotics increase the synthesis and secretion of Stx in EHEC, antibiotic treatment is not recommended. EHEC infection is an orphan disease with only supportive cares because of the absence of a proper animal model and the small number of patients. We developed a gut–kidney axis (GKA) on chip capable of observing EHEC O157:H7 (O157) infection in the gut and antibiotic-dependent HUS development in the kidney. Treating ciprofloxacin to O157 infection reduced the viability and cellular integrity of kidney cells better than treating gentamicin, which was consistent with the clinical situation. These results suggest that GKA on chip is very useful for anticipating the effect of antibiotics on the risk of HUS. View this paper
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13 pages, 3167 KiB  
Article
aflN Is Involved in the Biosynthesis of Aflatoxin and Conidiation in Aspergillus flavus
by Kunzhi Jia, Lijuan Yan, Yipu Jia, Shuting Xu, Zhaoqi Yan and Shihua Wang
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 831; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110831 - 22 Nov 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1977
Abstract
Aspergillus flavus poses a threat to society economy and public health due to aflatoxin production. aflN is a gene located in the aflatoxin gene cluster, but the function of AflN is undefined in Aspergillus flavus. In this study, aflN is knocked out [...] Read more.
Aspergillus flavus poses a threat to society economy and public health due to aflatoxin production. aflN is a gene located in the aflatoxin gene cluster, but the function of AflN is undefined in Aspergillus flavus. In this study, aflN is knocked out and overexpressed to study the function of AflN. The results indicated that the loss of AflN leads to the defect of aflatoxin biosynthesis. AflN is also found to play a role in conidiation but not hyphal growth and sclerotia development. Moreover, AlfN is related to the response to environmental oxidative stress and intracellular levels of reactive oxygen species. At last, AflN is involved in the pathogenicity of Aspergillus flavus to host. These results suggested that AflN played important roles in aflatoxin biosynthesis, conidiation and reactive oxygen species generation in Aspergillus flavus, which will be helpful for the understanding of aflN function, and will be beneficial to the prevention and control of Aspergillus flavus and aflatoxins contamination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Pathogenic Fungi and Mycotoxins in China)
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13 pages, 2012 KiB  
Article
Crotoxin Modulates Events Involved in Epithelial–Mesenchymal Transition in 3D Spheroid Model
by Ellen Emi Kato and Sandra Coccuzzo Sampaio
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 830; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110830 - 22 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3186
Abstract
Epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) occurs in the early stages of embryonic development and plays a significant role in the migration and the differentiation of cells into various types of tissues of an organism. However, tumor cells, with altered form and function, use the EMT [...] Read more.
Epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) occurs in the early stages of embryonic development and plays a significant role in the migration and the differentiation of cells into various types of tissues of an organism. However, tumor cells, with altered form and function, use the EMT process to migrate and invade other tissues in the body. Several experimental (in vivo and in vitro) and clinical trial studies have shown the antitumor activity of crotoxin (CTX), a heterodimeric phospholipase A2 present in the Crotalus durissus terrificus venom. In this study, we show that CTX modulates the microenvironment of tumor cells. We have also evaluated the effect of CTX on the EMT process in the spheroid model. The invasion of type I collagen gels by heterospheroids (mix of MRC-5 and A549 cells constitutively prepared with 12.5 nM CTX), expression of EMT markers, and secretion of MMPs were analyzed. Western blotting analysis shows that CTX inhibits the expression of the mesenchymal markers, N-cadherin, α-SMA, and αv. This study provides evidence of CTX as a key modulator of the EMT process, and its antitumor action can be explored further for novel drug designing against metastatic cancer. Full article
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13 pages, 1984 KiB  
Article
Ultrasonographic Evaluation of Three Approaches for Botulinum Toxin Injection into Tibialis Posterior Muscle in Chronic Stroke Patients with Equinovarus Foot: An Observational Study
by Stefania Spina, Salvatore Facciorusso, Chiara Botticelli, Domenico Intiso, Maurizio Ranieri, Antonio Colamaria, Pietro Fiore, Chiara Ciritella, François Genêt and Andrea Santamato
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 829; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110829 - 22 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4328
Abstract
Spastic equinovarus (SEV) foot deformity is commonly observed in patients with post-stroke spasticity. Tibialis posterior (TP) is a common target for botulinum toxin type-A (BoNT-A) injection, as a first-line treatment in non-fixed SEV deformity. For this deep muscle, ultrasonographic guidance is crucial to [...] Read more.
Spastic equinovarus (SEV) foot deformity is commonly observed in patients with post-stroke spasticity. Tibialis posterior (TP) is a common target for botulinum toxin type-A (BoNT-A) injection, as a first-line treatment in non-fixed SEV deformity. For this deep muscle, ultrasonographic guidance is crucial to achieving maximum accuracy for the BoNT-A injection. In current clinical practice, there are three approaches to target the TP: an anterior, a posteromedial, and a posterior. To date, previous studies have failed to identify the best approach for needle insertion into TP. To explore the ultrasonographic characteristics of these approaches, we investigated affected and unaffected legs of 25 stroke patients with SEV treated with BoNT-A. We evaluated the qualitative (echo intensity) and quantitative (muscle depth, muscle thickness, overlying muscle, subcutaneous tissue, cross-sectional area) ultrasound characteristics of the three approaches for TP injection. In our sample, we observed significant differences among almost all the parameters of the three approaches, except for the safety window. Moreover, our analysis showed significant differences in cross-sectional area between treated and untreated. Advantages and disadvantages of each approach were investigated. Our findings can thus provide a suitable reference for clinical settings, especially for novice operators. Full article
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13 pages, 1776 KiB  
Article
Reduced Toxicity of Centruroides vittatus (Say, 1821) May Result from Lowered Sodium β Toxin Gene Expression and Toxin Protein Production
by Aimee Bowman, Chloe Fitzgerald, Jeff F. Pummill, Douglas D. Rhoads and Tsunemi Yamashita
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 828; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110828 - 22 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1661
Abstract
Body tissue and venom glands from an eastern population of the scorpion Centruroides vittatus (Say, 1821) were homogenized and molecular constituents removed to characterize putative sodium β toxin gene diversity, RT-qPCR, transcriptomic, and proteomic variation. We cloned sodium β toxins from genomic DNA, [...] Read more.
Body tissue and venom glands from an eastern population of the scorpion Centruroides vittatus (Say, 1821) were homogenized and molecular constituents removed to characterize putative sodium β toxin gene diversity, RT-qPCR, transcriptomic, and proteomic variation. We cloned sodium β toxins from genomic DNA, conducted RT-qPCR experiments with seven sodium β toxin variants, performed venom gland tissue RNA-seq, and isolated venom proteins for mass spectrophotometry. We identified >70 putative novel sodium β toxin genes, 111 toxin gene transcripts, 24 different toxin proteins, and quantified sodium β toxin gene expression variation among individuals and between sexes. Our analyses contribute to the growing evidence that venom toxicity among scorpion taxa and their populations may be associated with toxin gene diversity, specific toxin transcripts variation, and subsequent protein production. Here, slight transcript variation among toxin gene variants may contribute to the major toxin protein variation in individual scorpion venom composition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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19 pages, 4457 KiB  
Article
Crotalphine Attenuates Pain and Neuroinflammation Induced by Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis in Mice
by Aline C. Giardini, Bianca G. Evangelista, Morena B. Sant’Anna, Barbara B. Martins, Carmen L. P. Lancellotti, Adriano P. Ciena, Marucia Chacur, Rosana L. Pagano, Orlando G. Ribeiro, Vanessa O. Zambelli and Gisele Picolo
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 827; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110827 - 22 Nov 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2548
Abstract
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease of inflammatory and autoimmune origin, which induces sensory and progressive motor impairments, including pain. Cells of the immune system actively participate in the pathogenesis and progression of MS by inducing neuroinflammation, tissue damage, and demyelination. Crotalphine [...] Read more.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease of inflammatory and autoimmune origin, which induces sensory and progressive motor impairments, including pain. Cells of the immune system actively participate in the pathogenesis and progression of MS by inducing neuroinflammation, tissue damage, and demyelination. Crotalphine (CRO), a structural analogue to a peptide firstly identified in Crotalus durissus terrificus snake venom, induces analgesia by endogenous opioid release and type 2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2) activation. Since CB2 activation downregulates neuroinflammation and ameliorates symptoms in mice models of MS, it was presently investigated whether CRO has a beneficial effect in the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). CRO was administered on the 5th day after immunization, in a single dose, or five doses starting at the peak of disease. CRO partially reverted EAE-induced mechanical hyperalgesia and decreased the severity of the clinical signs. In addition, CRO decreases the inflammatory infiltrate and glial cells activation followed by TNF-α and IL-17 downregulation in the spinal cord. Peripherally, CRO recovers the EAE-induced impairment in myelin thickness in the sciatic nerve. Therefore, CRO interferes with central and peripheral neuroinflammation, opening perspectives to MS control. Full article
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13 pages, 3808 KiB  
Article
2-Amino-3-Methylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoline Triggering Liver Damage by Inhibiting Autophagy and Inducing Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress in Zebrafish (Danio rerio)
by Dan Li, Zhi Li, Tianchang Zhang, Bo Peng, Yan Zhang, Hongwen Sun and Shuo Wang
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 826; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110826 - 22 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2409
Abstract
It is important to note that 2-Amino-3-methylimidazole[4,5-f]quinoline (IQ) is one of the most common heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which is a class of mutagenic/carcinogenic harmful compounds mainly found in high-protein thermal processed foods and contaminated environments. However, the pre-carcinogenic toxicity of IQ to the [...] Read more.
It is important to note that 2-Amino-3-methylimidazole[4,5-f]quinoline (IQ) is one of the most common heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which is a class of mutagenic/carcinogenic harmful compounds mainly found in high-protein thermal processed foods and contaminated environments. However, the pre-carcinogenic toxicity of IQ to the liver and its mechanism are poorly understood, further research is needed. In light of this, we exposed zebrafish to IQ (0, 8, 80, and 800 ng/mL) for 35 days, followed by comprehensive experimental studies. Histopathological and ultrastructural analysis showed that hepatocytes were damaged. TUNEL results showed that IQ induced apoptosis of liver cells, the expression of apoptosis factor gene was significantly increased, and the expression of Bcl-2 protein was significantly decreased. In addition, upregulated expression of the 78-kDa glucose-regulated protein (GRP78) and C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) and endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS)-related factors transcription levels were elevated obviously, suggesting that IQ induced ERS. Decreased protein expression of autophagy-related 5 (Atg5)-Atg12, Beclin1, and LC3-II, increased protein expression of p62, and autophagy-related factors transcription levels were significantly decreased, suggesting that IQ inhibited autophagy. Overall, our research showed that the potential harm of IQ to the liver before the occurrence of liver cancer was related to ERS and its mediated autophagy and apoptosis pathways. Full article
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14 pages, 1959 KiB  
Article
The Deleterious Effects of Shiga Toxin Type 2 Are Neutralized In Vitro by FabF8:Stx2 Recombinant Monoclonal Antibody
by Daniela Luz, Fernando D. Gómez, Raíssa L. Ferreira, Bruna S. Melo, Beatriz E. C. Guth, Wagner Quintilio, Ana Maria Moro, Agostina Presta, Flavia Sacerdoti, Cristina Ibarra, Gang Chen, Sachdev S. Sidhu, María Marta Amaral and Roxane M. F. Piazza
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 825; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110825 - 22 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2044
Abstract
Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) associated with Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) infections is the principal cause of acute renal injury in pediatric age groups. Shiga toxin type 2 (Stx2) has in vitro cytotoxic effects on kidney cells, including human glomerular endothelial (HGEC) and Vero [...] Read more.
Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) associated with Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) infections is the principal cause of acute renal injury in pediatric age groups. Shiga toxin type 2 (Stx2) has in vitro cytotoxic effects on kidney cells, including human glomerular endothelial (HGEC) and Vero cells. Neither a licensed vaccine nor effective therapy for HUS is available for humans. Recombinant antibodies against Stx2, produced in bacteria, appeared as the utmost tool to prevent HUS. Therefore, in this work, a recombinant FabF8:Stx2 was selected from a human Fab antibody library by phage display, characterized, and analyzed for its ability to neutralize the Stx activity from different STEC-Stx2 and Stx1/Stx2 producing strains in a gold standard Vero cell assay, and the Stx2 cytotoxic effects on primary cultures of HGEC. This recombinant Fab showed a dissociation constant of 13.8 nM and a half maximum effective concentration (EC50) of 160 ng/mL to Stx2. Additionally, FabF8:Stx2 neutralized, in different percentages, the cytotoxic effects of Stx2 and Stx1/2 from different STEC strains on Vero cells. Moreover, it significantly prevented the deleterious effects of Stx2 in a dose-dependent manner (up to 83%) in HGEC and protected this cell up to 90% from apoptosis and necrosis. Therefore, this novel and simple anti-Stx2 biomolecule will allow further investigation as a new therapeutic option that could improve STEC and HUS patient outcomes. Full article
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11 pages, 871 KiB  
Article
Clinical Safety and Tolerability of A2NTX, a Novel Low-Molecular-Weight Neurotoxin Derived from Botulinum Neurotoxin Subtype A2, in Comparison with Subtype A1 Toxins
by Toshiaki Takeuchi, Tsuyoshi Okuno, Ai Miyashiro, Tomoko Kohda, Ryosuke Miyamoto, Yuishin Izumi, Shunji Kozaki and Ryuji Kaji
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 824; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110824 - 22 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2073
Abstract
All the botulinum type A neurotoxins available for clinical use are of the A1 subtype. We developed a subtype A2 low-molecular-weight (150 kD (kilo Dalton)) neurotoxin (A2NTX) with less spread and faster entry into the motor nerve terminal than A1 in vitro and [...] Read more.
All the botulinum type A neurotoxins available for clinical use are of the A1 subtype. We developed a subtype A2 low-molecular-weight (150 kD (kilo Dalton)) neurotoxin (A2NTX) with less spread and faster entry into the motor nerve terminal than A1 in vitro and in vivo. Preliminary clinical studies showed that its efficacy is superior to A1 toxins. We conducted an open study exploring its safety and tolerability profile in comparison with A1LL (LL type A1 toxin, or onabotulinumtoxinA) and a low-molecular-weight (150 kD) A1 neurotoxin (A1NTX). Those who had been using A1LL (n = 90; 50–360 mouse LD50 units) or A1NTX (n = 30; 50–580 units) were switched to A2NTX (n = 120; 25–600 units) from 2010 to 2018 (number of sessions ~27, cumulative doses ~11,640 units per patient). The adverse events for A2NTX included weakness (n = 1, ascribed to alcoholic polyneuropathy), dysphagia (1), local weakness (4), and spread to other muscles (1), whereas those for A1LL or A1NTX comprised weakness (n = 2, A1NTX), dysphagia (8), ptosis (6), local weakness (7), and spread to other muscles (15). After injections, 89 out of 120 patients preferred A2NTX to A1 for the successive sessions. The present study demonstrated that A2NTX had clinical safety up to the dose of 500 units and was well tolerated compared to A1 toxins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Botulinum Neurotoxins for Clinical Uses)
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25 pages, 2511 KiB  
Article
A Generic LC-HRMS Screening Method for Marine and Freshwater Phycotoxins in Fish, Shellfish, Water, and Supplements
by Mirjam D. Klijnstra, Elisabeth J. Faassen and Arjen Gerssen
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 823; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110823 - 22 Nov 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2855
Abstract
Phycotoxins occur in various marine and freshwater environments, and can accumulate in edible species such as fish, crabs, and shellfish. Human exposure to these toxins can take place, for instance, through consumption of contaminated species or supplements and through the ingestion of contaminated [...] Read more.
Phycotoxins occur in various marine and freshwater environments, and can accumulate in edible species such as fish, crabs, and shellfish. Human exposure to these toxins can take place, for instance, through consumption of contaminated species or supplements and through the ingestion of contaminated water. Symptoms of phycotoxin intoxication include paralysis, diarrhea, and amnesia. When the cause of an intoxication cannot directly be found, a screening method is required to identify the causative toxin. In this work, such a screening method was developed and validated for marine and freshwater phycotoxins in different matrices: fish, shellfish, water, and food supplements. Two LC methods were developed: one for hydrophilic and one for lipophilic phycotoxins. Sample extracts were measured in full scan mode with an Orbitrap high resolution mass spectrometer. Additionally, a database was created to process the data. The method was successfully validated for most matrices, and in addition, regulated lipophilic phycotoxins, domoic acid, and some paralytic shellfish poisoning toxins could be quantified in shellfish. The method showed limitations for hydrophilic phycotoxins in sea water and for lipophilic phycotoxins in food supplements. The developed method is a screening method; in order to confirm suspected compounds, comparison with a standard or an additional analysis such as NMR is required. Full article
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17 pages, 524 KiB  
Review
Alimentary Risk of Mycotoxins for Humans and Animals
by Jagoda Kępińska-Pacelik and Wioletta Biel
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 822; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110822 - 21 Nov 2021
Cited by 37 | Viewed by 8196
Abstract
Mycotoxins can be found in many foods consumed by humans and animals. These substances are secondary metabolites of some fungi species and are resistant to technological processes (cooking, frying, baking, distillation, fermentation). They most often contaminate products of animal (beef, pork, poultry, lamb, [...] Read more.
Mycotoxins can be found in many foods consumed by humans and animals. These substances are secondary metabolites of some fungi species and are resistant to technological processes (cooking, frying, baking, distillation, fermentation). They most often contaminate products of animal (beef, pork, poultry, lamb, fish, game meat, milk) and plant origin (cereals, processed cereals, vegetables, nuts). It is estimated that about 25% of the world’s harvest may be contaminated with mycotoxins. These substances damage crops and may cause mycotoxicosis. Many mycotoxins can be present in food, together with mold fungi, increasing the exposure of humans and animals to them. In this review we characterized the health risks caused by mycotoxins found in food, pet food and feed. The most important groups of mycotoxins are presented in terms of their toxicity and occurrence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycotoxins: Toxicity and Biological Detoxification)
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10 pages, 962 KiB  
Article
Yeast Cell as a Bio-Model for Measuring the Toxicity of Fish-Killing Flagellates
by Malihe Mehdizadeh Allaf and Charles G. Trick
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 821; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110821 - 21 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1827
Abstract
Harmful algal blooms are a significant environmental problem. Cells that bloom are often associated with intercellular or dissolved toxins that are a grave concern to humans. However, cells may also excrete compounds that are beneficial to their competition, allowing the cells to establish [...] Read more.
Harmful algal blooms are a significant environmental problem. Cells that bloom are often associated with intercellular or dissolved toxins that are a grave concern to humans. However, cells may also excrete compounds that are beneficial to their competition, allowing the cells to establish or maintain cells in bloom conditions. Here, we develop a yeast cell assay to assess whether the bloom-forming species can change the toxicity of the water environment. The current methods of assessing toxicity involve whole organisms. Here, yeast cells are used as a bioassay model to evaluate eukaryotic cell toxicity. Yeast is a commonly used, easy to maintain bioassay species that is free from ethical concerns, yet is sensitive to a wide array of metabolic and membrane-modulating agents. Compared to methods in which the whole organism is used, this method offers rapid and convenient cytotoxicity measurements using a lower volume of samples. The flow cytometer was employed in this toxicology assessment to measure the number of dead cells using alive/dead stain analysis. The results show that yeast cells were metabolically damaged after 1 h of exposure to our model toxin-producing euryhaline flagellates (Heterosigma akashiwo and Prymnesium parvum) cells or extracts. This amount was increased by extending the incubation time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Harmful Algal Blooms on Aquatic Organisms)
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23 pages, 1901 KiB  
Article
Lipid-Binding Aegerolysin from Biocontrol Fungus Beauveria bassiana
by Nada Kraševec, Anastasija Panevska, Špela Lemež, Jaka Razinger, Kristina Sepčić, Gregor Anderluh and Marjetka Podobnik
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 820; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110820 - 20 Nov 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3099
Abstract
Fungi are the most common pathogens of insects and thus important regulators of their populations. Lipid-binding aegerolysin proteins, which are commonly found in the fungal kingdom, may be involved in several biologically relevant processes including attack and defense against other organisms. Aegerolysins act [...] Read more.
Fungi are the most common pathogens of insects and thus important regulators of their populations. Lipid-binding aegerolysin proteins, which are commonly found in the fungal kingdom, may be involved in several biologically relevant processes including attack and defense against other organisms. Aegerolysins act alone or together with membrane-attack-complex/perforin (MACPF)-like proteins to form transmembrane pores that lead to cell lysis. We performed an in-depth bioinformatics analysis of aegerolysins in entomopathogenic fungi and selected a candidate aegerolysin, beauveriolysin A (BlyA) from Beauveria bassiana. BlyA was expressed as a recombinant protein in Escherichia coli, and purified to further determine its functional and structural properties, including lipid-binding ability. Aegerolysins were found to be encoded in genomes of entomopathogenic fungi, such as Beauveria, Cordyceps, Metarhizium and Ophiocordyceps. Detailed bioinformatics analysis revealed that they are linked to MACPF-like genes in most genomes. We also show that BlyA interacts with an insect-specific membrane lipid. These results were placed in the context of other fungal and bacterial aegerolysins and their partner proteins. We believe that aegerolysins play a role in promoting the entomopathogenic and antagonistic activity of B. bassiana, which is an active ingredient of bioinsecticides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pore Forming Proteins: Structure, Function and Applications)
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19 pages, 2367 KiB  
Review
Microbiological Decontamination of Mycotoxins: Opportunities and Limitations
by Małgorzata Piotrowska
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 819; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110819 - 19 Nov 2021
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 4336
Abstract
The contamination of food and feeds with mycotoxins poses a global health risk to humans and animals, with major economic consequences. Good agricultural and manufacturing practices can help control mycotoxin contamination. Since these actions are not always effective, several methods of decontamination have [...] Read more.
The contamination of food and feeds with mycotoxins poses a global health risk to humans and animals, with major economic consequences. Good agricultural and manufacturing practices can help control mycotoxin contamination. Since these actions are not always effective, several methods of decontamination have also been developed, including physical, chemical, and biological methods. Biological decontamination using microorganisms has revealed new opportunities. However, these biological methods require legal regulations and more research before they can be used in food production. Currently, only selected biological methods are acceptable for the decontamination of feed. This review discusses the literature on the use of microorganisms to remove mycotoxins and presents their possible mechanisms of action. Special attention is given to Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast and lactic acid bacteria, and the use of yeast cell wall derivatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycotoxins: Toxicity and Biological Detoxification)
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13 pages, 6342 KiB  
Article
Development of Antibody Detection ELISA Based on Immunoreactive Toxins and Toxin-Derived Peptides to Evaluate the Neutralization Potency of Equine Plasma against Naja atra in Taiwan
by Chien-Chun Liu, Yung-Chin Hsiao, Lichieh Julie Chu, Po-Jung Wang, Chien-Hsin Liu, Wen-Chin Hsieh and Jau-Song Yu
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 818; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110818 - 19 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1948
Abstract
Naja atra, also known as Taiwanese cobra, is one of the most prevalent venomous snakes in Taiwan. Clinically, freeze-dried neurotoxic antivenom (FNAV) produced from horses by Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been the only approved treatment for N. atra envenoming [...] Read more.
Naja atra, also known as Taiwanese cobra, is one of the most prevalent venomous snakes in Taiwan. Clinically, freeze-dried neurotoxic antivenom (FNAV) produced from horses by Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been the only approved treatment for N. atra envenoming for the last few decades. During antivenom production, large numbers of mice are used in the in vivo assay to determine whether the neutralization potency of hyperimmunized equines is satisfactory for large-scale harvesting. However, this in vivo assay is extremely laborious, expensive, and significantly impairs animal welfare. In the present study, we aimed to develop an in vitro ELISA-based system that could serve as an alternative assay to evaluate the neutralization potency of plasma from hyperimmunized equines. We initially obtained 51 plasma samples with known (high or low) neutralization potency assessed in vivo from 9 hyperimmunized equines and subsequently determined their antibody titers against the five major protein components of N. atra venom (neurotoxin (NTX), phospholipase A2 (PLA2), cytotoxin (CTX), cysteine-rich secretory protein (CRISP), and snake venom metalloproteinase (SVMP)) via ELISA. The antibody titer against NTX was the most effective in discriminating between high and low potency plasma samples. To identify the specific epitope(s) of NTX recognized by neutralization potency-related antibodies, 17 consecutive NTX-derived pentadecapeptides were synthesized and used as antigens to probe the 51 equine plasma samples. Among the 17 peptides, immunoreactive signals for three consecutive peptides (NTX1-8, NTX1-9, and NTX1-10) were significantly higher in the high potency relative to low potency equine plasma groups (p < 0.0001). Our ELISA system based on NTX1-10 peptide (RWRDHRGYRTERGCG) encompassing residues 28–42 of NTX displayed optimal sensitivity (96.88%) and specificity (89.47%) for differentiating between high- and low-potency plasma samples (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) = 0.95). The collective data clearly indicate that the antibody titer against NTX protein or derived peptides can be used to efficiently discriminate between high and low neutralization potency of plasma samples from venom-immunized horses. This newly developed antibody detection ELISA based on NTX or its peptide derivatives has good potential to complement or replace the in vivo rodent assay for determining whether the neutralization potency of equine plasma is satisfactory for large-scale harvesting in the antivenom production process against N. atra. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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12 pages, 2233 KiB  
Review
Botulinum Neurotoxin Type A in the Treatment of Facial Seborrhea and Acne: Evidence and a Proposed Mechanism
by Nark-Kyoung Rho and Young-Chun Gil
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 817; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110817 - 19 Nov 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 6317
Abstract
Intradermal injection of botulinum neurotoxin is a frequently performed procedure in aesthetic dermatology to improve facial skin tone, texture, fine wrinkles, and enlarged pores. In practice, botulinum neurotoxin type A is also used to reduce skin oiliness of the face. There is increasing [...] Read more.
Intradermal injection of botulinum neurotoxin is a frequently performed procedure in aesthetic dermatology to improve facial skin tone, texture, fine wrinkles, and enlarged pores. In practice, botulinum neurotoxin type A is also used to reduce skin oiliness of the face. There is increasing evidence that acetylcholine plays specific roles in sebum production, suggesting that botulinum neurotoxin type A may reduce sebum production by interfering with cholinergic transmission between sebaceous glands and autonomic nerve terminals. Botulinum neurotoxins can also inhibit several pathogenetic components of acne development, suggesting that botulinum neurotoxins can be used as a safe and effective treatment modality for acne and other skin disorders related to overactivity of sebaceous glands. This review aims to explore the current evidence behind the treatment of facial seborrhea and acne with botulinum neurotoxin type A. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Botulinum Toxins in Clinical Practice)
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16 pages, 2664 KiB  
Article
Initial Phylotranscriptomic Confirmation of Homoplastic Evolution of the Conspicuous Coloration and Bufoniform Morphology of Pumpkin-Toadlets in the Genus Brachycephalus
by Mariana L. Lyra, Juliane P. C. Monteiro, Loïs Rancilhac, Iker Irisarri, Sven Künzel, Eugenia Sanchez, Thais H. Condez, Omar Rojas-Padilla, Mirco Solé, Luís Felipe Toledo, Célio F. B. Haddad and Miguel Vences
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 816; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110816 - 19 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2763
Abstract
The genus Brachycephalus is a fascinating group of miniaturized anurans from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, comprising the conspicuous, brightly colored pumpkin-toadlets and the cryptic flea-toads. Pumpkin-toadlets are known to contain tetrodotoxins and therefore, their bright colors may perform an aposematic function. Previous studies [...] Read more.
The genus Brachycephalus is a fascinating group of miniaturized anurans from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, comprising the conspicuous, brightly colored pumpkin-toadlets and the cryptic flea-toads. Pumpkin-toadlets are known to contain tetrodotoxins and therefore, their bright colors may perform an aposematic function. Previous studies based on a limited number of mitochondrial and nuclear-encoded markers supported the existence of two clades containing species of pumpkin-toadlet phenotype, but deep nodes remained largely unresolved or conflicting between data sets. We use new RNAseq data of 17 individuals from nine Brachycephalus species to infer their evolutionary relationships from a phylogenomic perspective. Analyses of almost 5300 nuclear-encoded ortholog protein-coding genes and full mitochondrial genomes confirmed the existence of two separate pumpkin-toadlet clades, suggesting the convergent evolution (or multiple reversals) of the bufoniform morphology, conspicuous coloration, and probably toxicity. In addition, the study of the mitochondrial gene order revealed that three species (B. hermogenesi, B. pitanga, and B. rotenbergae) display translocations of different tRNAs (NCY and CYA) from the WANCY tRNA cluster to a position between the genes ATP6 and COIII, showing a new mitochondrial gene order arrangement for vertebrates. The newly clarified phylogeny suggests that Brachycephalus has the potential to become a promising model taxon to understand the evolution of coloration, body plan and toxicity. Given that toxicity information is available for only few species of Brachycephalus, without data for any flea-toad species, we also emphasize the need for a wider screening of toxicity across species, together with more in-depth functional and ecological study of their phenotypes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution of Venomous and Poisonous Animals)
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10 pages, 2959 KiB  
Article
The CHO Cell Clustering Response to Pertussis Toxin: History of Its Discovery and Recent Developments in Its Use
by Mary C. Gray, Richard L. Guerrant and Erik L. Hewlett
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 815; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110815 - 19 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2077
Abstract
Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells respond to pertussis toxin (PT) with a novel clustering pattern, which is dependent on biologically active PT. Since its description in 1983, this cellular response has been refined and used extensively for detection and quantification of PT activity, [...] Read more.
Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells respond to pertussis toxin (PT) with a novel clustering pattern, which is dependent on biologically active PT. Since its description in 1983, this cellular response has been refined and used extensively for detection and quantification of PT activity, as well as anti-PT antibodies. There are limitations, however, in the use of this phenomenon as originally described. They are: (1) a subjective, observer-dependent scoring system; (2) the requirement for 16–24 h incubation in order for the response to be clearly detectable; and (3) apparent interference from non-toxin materials. To overcome these limitations, a number of alternative in vitro assays for PT, using CHO cells or other cell types, have been developed and are described elsewhere in this publication. In addressing the challenges associated with the CHO cell assay, we discovered that changes in the electrical impedance-based “normalized cell index” of PT-treated CHO cells obtained with the ACEA xCELLigence instrument enable objective detection/quantification of the PT-induced effect in as little as 3–4 h. To the best of our knowledge, the molecular basis for this intriguing response remains unknown. We present here electron microscopic (EM) images of control and PT-treated cells, which suggest some potential molecular mechanisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pertussis Toxin and Research on Pertussis Vaccine)
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18 pages, 3928 KiB  
Article
Individual Variability in Bothrops atrox Snakes Collected from Different Habitats in the Brazilian Amazon: New Findings on Venom Composition and Functionality
by Leijane F. Sousa, Matthew L. Holding, Tiago H. M. Del-Rei, Marisa M. T. Rocha, Rosa H. V. Mourão, Hipócrates M. Chalkidis, Benedito Prezoto, H. Lisle Gibbs and Ana M. Moura-da-Silva
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 814; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110814 - 18 Nov 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2338
Abstract
Differences in snake venom composition occur across all taxonomic levels and it has been argued that this variation represents an adaptation that has evolved to facilitate the capture and digestion of prey and evasion of predators. Bothrops atrox is a terrestrial pitviper that [...] Read more.
Differences in snake venom composition occur across all taxonomic levels and it has been argued that this variation represents an adaptation that has evolved to facilitate the capture and digestion of prey and evasion of predators. Bothrops atrox is a terrestrial pitviper that is distributed across the Amazon region, where it occupies different habitats. Using statistical analyses and functional assays that incorporate individual variation, we analyzed the individual venom variability in B. atrox snakes from four different habitats (forest, pasture, degraded area, and floodplain) in and around the Amazon River in Brazil. We observed venom differentiation between spatially distinct B. atrox individuals from the different habitats, with venom variation due to both common (high abundance) and rare (low abundance) proteins. Moreover, differences in the composition of the venoms resulted in individual variability in functionality and heterogeneity in the lethality to mammals and birds, particularly among the floodplain snakes. Taken together, the data obtained from individual venoms of B. atrox snakes, captured in different habitats from the Brazilian Amazon, support the hypothesis that the differential distribution of protein isoforms results in functional distinctiveness and the ability of snakes with different venoms to have variable toxic effects on different prey. Full article
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16 pages, 1853 KiB  
Article
Biodegradation of Nodularin by a Microcystin-Degrading Bacterium: Performance, Degradation Pathway, and Potential Application
by Mengxuan Yuan, Qin Ding, Rongli Sun, Juan Zhang, Lihong Yin and Yuepu Pu
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 813; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110813 - 18 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2107
Abstract
Currently, studies worldwide have comprehensively recognized the importance of Sphingomonadaceae bacteria and the mlrCABD gene cluster in microcystin (MC) degradation. However, knowledge about their degradation of nodularin (NOD) is still unclear. In this study, the degradation mechanism of NOD by Sphingopyxis sp. m6, [...] Read more.
Currently, studies worldwide have comprehensively recognized the importance of Sphingomonadaceae bacteria and the mlrCABD gene cluster in microcystin (MC) degradation. However, knowledge about their degradation of nodularin (NOD) is still unclear. In this study, the degradation mechanism of NOD by Sphingopyxis sp. m6, an efficient MC degrader isolated from Lake Taihu, was investigated in several aspects, including degradation ability, degradation products, and potential application. The strain degraded NOD of 0.50 mg/L with a zero-order rate constant of 0.1656 mg/L/d and a half-life of 36 h. The average degradation rate of NOD was significantly influenced by the temperature, pH, and initial toxin concentrations. Moreover, four different biodegradation products, linear NOD, tetrapeptide H-Glu-Mdhb-MeAsp-Arg-OH, tripeptide H-Mdhb-MeAsp-Arg-OH, and dipeptide H-MeAsp-Arg-OH, were identified, of which the latter two are the first reported. Furthermore, the four mlr genes were upregulated during NOD degradation. The microcystinase MlrA encoded by the mlrA gene hydrolyzes the Arg-Adda bond to generate linear NOD as the first step of NOD biodegradation. Notably, recombinant MlrA showed higher degradation activity and stronger environmental adaptability than the wild strain, suggesting future applications in NOD pollution remediation. This research proposes a relatively complete NOD microbial degradation pathway, which lays a foundation for exploring the mechanisms of NOD degradation by MC-degrading bacteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Functions, Defense and Control of Cyanobacterial Toxins)
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12 pages, 1138 KiB  
Article
Phytotoxins Produced by Two Biscogniauxia rosacearum Strains, Causal Agents of Grapevine Trunk Diseases, and Charcoal Canker of Oak Trees in Iran
by Marco Masi, Samaneh Bashiri, Alessio Cimmino, Zeinab Bahmani, Jafar Abdollahzadeh and Antonio Evidente
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 812; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110812 - 18 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1971
Abstract
Biscogniauxia rosacearum, recognized for the first time as a pathogen involved in grapevine trunk diseases in Paveh (west of Iran) vineyards, produced meso-2,3-butanediol (1) as the only phytotoxin. Nectriapyrone (2), (3R)-5-methylmellein (3), (3R [...] Read more.
Biscogniauxia rosacearum, recognized for the first time as a pathogen involved in grapevine trunk diseases in Paveh (west of Iran) vineyards, produced meso-2,3-butanediol (1) as the only phytotoxin. Nectriapyrone (2), (3R)-5-methylmellein (3), (3R)-5-methyl-6-methoxymellein (4), and tyrosol (5) were instead produced as phytotoxins from a strain of the same fungus isolated from oak trees in Zagros forests of Gilan-e Gharb, Kermanshah Province. They were identified comparing their 1H and 13C NMR, ESIMS, and specific optical rotation data with those already reported in the literature. The phytotoxicity of metabolites (1–5) was estimated by leaf puncture assay on Quercus ilex L. and Hedera helix L., and by leaf absorption assay on grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) at a concentration of 5 × 10−3 and 10−3 M. Tested on grapevine, meso-2,3-butanediol (1) and (3R)-5-methyl-6-methoxymellein (4) resulted to be the most phytotoxic compounds. On Q. ilex, nectriapyrone (2) and tyrosol (5) showed severe necrosis at the highest concentration while none of the compounds (15) was active on H. helix. Furthermore, the phytotoxicity of compounds 3 and 4 was also compared with that of some related natural melleins to perform a structure-activity relationship (SAR) study. The results of this study were also discussed. Full article
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9 pages, 830 KiB  
Article
The Binding of Aripiprazole to Plasma Proteins in Chronic Renal Failure Patients
by Kenshiro Hirata, Tokunori Ikeda, Hiroshi Watanabe, Toru Maruyama, Motoko Tanaka, Victor Tuan Giam Chuang, Yuji Uchida, Keiki Sakurama, Koji Nishi, Keishi Yamasaki and Masaki Otagiri
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 811; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110811 - 18 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2182
Abstract
The binding of drugs to plasma protein is frequently altered in certain types of renal diseases. We recently reported on the effects of oxidation and uremic toxins on the binding of aripiprazole (ARP) to human serum albumin. In our continuing investigations, we examined [...] Read more.
The binding of drugs to plasma protein is frequently altered in certain types of renal diseases. We recently reported on the effects of oxidation and uremic toxins on the binding of aripiprazole (ARP) to human serum albumin. In our continuing investigations, we examined the binding of ARP to plasma pooled from patients with chronic renal dysfunction. We examined the issue of the molecular basis for which factors affect the changes in drug binding that accompany renal failure. The study was based on the statistical relationships between ARP albumin binding and biochemical parameters such as the concentrations of oxidized albumin and uremic toxins. The binding of ARP to plasma from chronic renal patients was significantly lower than healthy volunteers. A rational relationship between the ARP binding rate and the concentration of toxins, including indoxyl sulphate (IS) and p-cresyl sulphate (PCS), was found, particularly for IS. Moreover, multiple regression analyses that involved taking other parameters such as PCS or oxidized albumin ratio to IS into account supports the above hypothesis. In conclusion, the limited data reported in this present study indicates that monitoring IS in the blood is a very important determinant in the dosage plan for the administration of site II drugs such as ARP, if the efficacy of the drug in renal disease is to be considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Uremic Toxins and Drugs)
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10 pages, 761 KiB  
Review
Cosmetic Applications of Bee Venom
by Aida A. Abd El-Wahed, Shaden A. M. Khalifa, Mohamed H. Elashal, Syed G. Musharraf, Aamer Saeed, Alfi Khatib, Haroon Elrasheid Tahir, Xiaobo Zou, Yahya Al Naggar, Arshad Mehmood, Kai Wang and Hesham R. El-Seedi
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 810; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110810 - 18 Nov 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 10734
Abstract
Bee venom (BV) is a typical toxin secreted by stingers of honeybee workers. BV and BV therapy have long been attractive to different cultures, with extensive studies during recent decades. Nowadays, BV is applied to combat several skin diseases, such as atopic dermatitis, [...] Read more.
Bee venom (BV) is a typical toxin secreted by stingers of honeybee workers. BV and BV therapy have long been attractive to different cultures, with extensive studies during recent decades. Nowadays, BV is applied to combat several skin diseases, such as atopic dermatitis, acne vulgaris, alopecia, vitiligo, and psoriasis. BV is used extensively in topical preparations as cosmetics and used as dressing for wound healing, as well as in facemasks. Nevertheless, the safety of BV as a therapeutic choice has always been a concern due to the immune system reaction in some people due to BV use. The documented unfavorable impact is explained by the fact that the skin reactions to BV might expand to excessive immunological responses, including anaphylaxis, that typically resolve over numerous days. This review aims to address bee venom therapeutic uses in skin cosmetics. Full article
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11 pages, 1680 KiB  
Article
Gut Microbiota and Their Derived Metabolites, a Search for Potential Targets to Limit Accumulation of Protein-Bound Uremic Toxins in Chronic Kidney Disease
by Mieke Steenbeke, Sophie Valkenburg, Tessa Gryp, Wim Van Biesen, Joris R. Delanghe, Marijn M. Speeckaert and Griet Glorieux
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 809; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110809 - 17 Nov 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4031
Abstract
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is characterized by gut dysbiosis with a decrease in short-chain fatty acid (SCFA)-producing bacteria. Levels of protein-bound uremic toxins (PBUTs) and post-translational modifications (PTMs) of albumin increase with CKD, both risk factors for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The relationship [...] Read more.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is characterized by gut dysbiosis with a decrease in short-chain fatty acid (SCFA)-producing bacteria. Levels of protein-bound uremic toxins (PBUTs) and post-translational modifications (PTMs) of albumin increase with CKD, both risk factors for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The relationship between fecal metabolites and plasma concentrations of PBUTs in different stages of CKD (n = 103) was explored. Estimated GFR tends to correlate with fecal butyric acid (BA) concentrations (rs = 0.212; p = 0.032), which, in its turn, correlates with the abundance of SCFA-producing bacteria. Specific SCFAs correlate with concentrations of PBUT precursors in feces. Fecal levels of p-cresol correlate with its derived plasma UTs (p-cresyl sulfate: rs = 0.342, p < 0.001; p-cresyl glucuronide: rs = 0.268, p = 0.006), whereas an association was found between fecal and plasma levels of indole acetic acid (rs = 0.306; p = 0.002). Finally, the albumin symmetry factor correlates positively with eGFR (rs = 0.274; p = 0.005). The decreased abundance of SCFA-producing gut bacteria in parallel with the fecal concentration of BA and indole could compromise the intestinal barrier function in CKD. It is currently not known if this contributes to increased plasma levels of PBUTs, potentially playing a role in the PTMs of albumin. Further evaluation of SCFA-producing bacteria and SCFAs as potential targets to restore both gut dysbiosis and uremia is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kidney Disease-Gut Dysbiosis: What Is the Role of Uremic Toxins?)
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16 pages, 1263 KiB  
Article
Simultaneous Detection of Seven Alternaria Toxins in Mixed Fruit Puree by Ultra-High-Performance Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry Coupled with a Modified QuEChERS
by Jiali Xing, Zigeng Zhang, Ruihang Zheng, Xiaorong Xu, Lingyan Mao, Jingping Lu, Jian Shen, Xianjun Dai and Zhenfeng Yang
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 808; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110808 - 16 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2036
Abstract
The presence of Alternaria toxins (ATs) in fruit purees may cause potential harm to the life and health of consumers. As time passes, ATs have become the key detection objects in this kind of food. Based on this, a novel [...] Read more.
The presence of Alternaria toxins (ATs) in fruit purees may cause potential harm to the life and health of consumers. As time passes, ATs have become the key detection objects in this kind of food. Based on this, a novel and rapid method was established in this paper for the simultaneous detection of seven ATS (tenuazonic acid, alternariol, alternariol monomethyl ether, altenuene, tentoxin, altenusin, and altertoxin I) in mixed fruit purees using ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The sample was prepared using the modified QuEChERS (quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe) method to complete the extraction and clean-up steps in one procedure. In this QuEChERS method, sample was extracted with water and acetonitrile (1.5% formic acid), then salted out with NaCl, separated on an ACQUITY UPLC BEH C18 with gradient elution by using acetonitrile and 0.1% formic acid aqueous as eluent, and detected by UPLC-MS/MS under positive (ESI+) and negative (ESI) electrospray ionization and MRM models. Results showed that the seven ATs exhibited a good linearity in the concentration range of 0.5–200 ng/mL with R2 > 0.9925, and the limits of detection (LODs) of the instrument were in the range of 0.18–0.53 μg/kg. The average recoveries ranged from 79.5% to 106.7%, with the relative standard deviations (RSDs) no more than 9.78% at spiked levels of 5, 10, and 20 μg/kg for seven ATs. The established method was applied to the determination and analysis of the seven ATs in 80 mixed fruit puree samples. The results showed that ATs were detected in 31 of the 80 samples, and the content of ATs ranged from 1.32 μg/kg to 54.89 μg/kg. Moreover, the content of TeA was the highest in the detected samples (23.32–54.89 μg/kg), while the detection rate of Ten (24/31 samples) was higher than the other ATs. Furthermore, the other five ATs had similar and lower levels of contamination. The method established in this paper is accurate, rapid, simple, sensitive, repeatable, and stable, and can be used for the practical determination of seven ATs in fruit puree or other similar samples. Moreover, this method could provide theory foundation for the establishment of limit standard of ATs and provide a reference for the development of similar detection standard methods in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Pathogenic Fungi and Mycotoxins in China)
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17 pages, 2365 KiB  
Article
The Pore-Forming Hemolysin BL Enterotoxin from Bacillus cereus: Subunit Interactions in Cell-Free Systems
by Franziska Ramm, Marlitt Stech, Anne Zemella, Hendrik Frentzel and Stefan Kubick
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 807; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110807 - 15 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2902
Abstract
The tripartite enterotoxin Hemolysin BL (Hbl) has been widely characterized as a hemolytic and cytotoxic virulence factor involved in foodborne diarrheal illness caused by Bacillus cereus. Previous studies have described the formation of the Hbl complex and aimed to identify the toxin’s [...] Read more.
The tripartite enterotoxin Hemolysin BL (Hbl) has been widely characterized as a hemolytic and cytotoxic virulence factor involved in foodborne diarrheal illness caused by Bacillus cereus. Previous studies have described the formation of the Hbl complex and aimed to identify the toxin’s mode of action. In this study, we analyzed the assembly of Hbl out of its three individual subunits L1, L2 and B in a soluble as well as a putative membrane bound composition using a Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell-free system. Subunits were either coexpressed or synthesized individually in separate cell-free reactions and mixed together afterwards. Hemolytic activity of cell-free synthesized subunits was demonstrated on 5% sheep blood agar and identified both synthesis procedures, coexpression as well as individual synthesis of each subunit, as functional for the synthesis of an active Hbl complex. Hbl’s ability to perforate cell membranes was evaluated using a propidium iodide uptake assay. These data suggested that coexpressed Hbl subunits augmented cytotoxic activity with increasing concentrations. Further, a pre-pore-complex of L1-L2 showed cytotoxic effects suggesting the possibility of an interaction between the cell membrane and the pre-pore-complex. Overall, this study shows that cell-free protein synthesis is a fast and efficient way to study the assembly of multiple protein subunits in soluble as well as vesicular fractions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Bacterial Enterotoxins)
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16 pages, 1650 KiB  
Article
Associations between Serum Aflatoxin-B1 and Anemia in Pregnant Women: Evidence from Guangxi Zhuang Birth Cohort in China
by Lei Lei, Shun Liu, Ye Ye, Xiaoqiang Qiu, Dongping Huang, Dongxiang Pan, Jiehua Chen, Zhengmin Qian, Stephen Edward McMillin, Michael G. Vaughn, Xingxi Luo, Kaili Wu, Suyang Xiao, Jinxiu Li, Meiliang Liu, Yu Yang, Mingshuang Lai, Guanghui Dong and Xiaoyun Zeng
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 806; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110806 - 15 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2595
Abstract
Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is a common toxic mycotoxin and is detectable in pregnant women. Animal studies have revealed that AFB1 caused the lysis of erythrocytes and a decrease in hemoglobin. We conducted a prospective cohort study in Guangxi, China, in order to evaluate [...] Read more.
Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is a common toxic mycotoxin and is detectable in pregnant women. Animal studies have revealed that AFB1 caused the lysis of erythrocytes and a decrease in hemoglobin. We conducted a prospective cohort study in Guangxi, China, in order to evaluate the association between AFB1 exposure and anemia in pregnant women during the entire pregnancy. A total of 616 pregnant women from the Guangxi Zhuang Birth Cohort were included in the study. Serum AFB1-albumin (AFB1-ALB) adduct levels were measured. The effect of AFB1-ALB adducts on hemoglobin (Hb), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) were analyzed by using multivariable linear regression. The risks of anemia from AFB1-ALB adduct exposure were assessed by multivariable logistic regression. We found that the AFB1-ALB adduct was significantly associated with a decrease in Hb (β = −4.99, 95% CI: −8.42, −1.30), MCV (β = −4.58, 95% CI: −7.23, −1.94), MCH (β = −1.86, 95% CI: −2.87, −0.85), and MCHC (β = −5.23, 95% CI: −8.28, −2.17) in the first trimester with the third tertile of AFB1-ALB adducts when compared with the first tertile. Furthermore, the third tertile of the AFB1-ALB adduct significantly increased the risk of anemia by 2.90 times than compared to the first tertile in the first trimester (OR = 3.90, 95% CI: 1.67, 9.14). A significant positive does–response relationship existed between AFB1-ALB adduct levels and anemia risk (Ptrend = 0.001). When dividing anemia types, we only found that the third tertile of AFB1-ALB adduct increased the risk of microcytic hypochromic anemia (MHA) in the first trimester (OR = 14.37, 95% CI: 3.08, 67.02) and second trimester (OR = 4.75, 95% CI: 1.96, 11.51). These findings demonstrate the correlation between maternal AFB1 exposure during early pregnancy and risk of anemia, especially MHA, and during different trimesters in Southern China. More efforts should be made to diminish AFB1 exposure for pregnant women. Full article
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18 pages, 4616 KiB  
Article
In Vitro and In Vivo Toxicity Evaluation of Natural Products with Potential Applications as Biopesticides
by Felicia Sangermano, Marco Masi, Amrish Kumar, Ravindra Peravali, Angela Tuzi, Alessio Cimmino, Daniela Vallone, Giuliana Giamundo, Ivan Conte, Antonio Evidente and Viola Calabrò
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 805; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110805 - 15 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2292
Abstract
The use of natural products in agriculture as pesticides has been strongly advocated. However, it is necessary to assess their toxicity to ensure their safe use. In the present study, mammalian cell lines and fish models of the zebrafish (Danio rerio) and [...] Read more.
The use of natural products in agriculture as pesticides has been strongly advocated. However, it is necessary to assess their toxicity to ensure their safe use. In the present study, mammalian cell lines and fish models of the zebrafish (Danio rerio) and medaka (Oryzias latipes) have been used to investigate the toxic effects of ten natural products which have potential applications as biopesticides. The fungal metabolites cavoxin, epi-epoformin, papyracillic acid, seiridin and sphaeropsidone, together with the plant compounds inuloxins A and C and ungeremine, showed no toxic effects in mammalian cells and zebrafish embryos. Conversely, cyclopaldic and α-costic acids, produced by Seiridium cupressi and Dittrichia viscosa, respectively, caused significant mortality in zebrafish and medaka embryos as a result of yolk coagulation. However, both compounds showed little effect in zebrafish or mammalian cell lines in culture, thus highlighting the importance of the fish embryotoxicity test in the assessment of environmental impact. Given the embryotoxicity of α-costic acid and cyclopaldic acid, their use as biopesticides is not recommended. Further ecotoxicological studies are needed to evaluate the potential applications of the other compounds. Full article
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10 pages, 1453 KiB  
Article
Bisdemethoxycurcumin Reduces Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Expression of Virulence-Related Exoproteins and Inhibits the Biofilm Formation
by Shu Wang, Ok-Hwa Kang and Dong-Yeul Kwon
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 804; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110804 - 15 Nov 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1974
Abstract
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major pathogen of nosocomial infection, which is resistant to most antibiotics. Presently, anti-virulence therapy and anti-biofilm therapy are considered to be promising alternatives. In the current work, we investigated the influence of bisdemethoxycurcumin (BDMC) on the virulence-related [...] Read more.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major pathogen of nosocomial infection, which is resistant to most antibiotics. Presently, anti-virulence therapy and anti-biofilm therapy are considered to be promising alternatives. In the current work, we investigated the influence of bisdemethoxycurcumin (BDMC) on the virulence-related exoproteins and the biofilm formation using a reference strain and clinic isolated strains. Western blotting, quantitative RT-PCR, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) release assay were performed to assess the efficacy of BDMC in reducing the expression of Staphylococcus enterotoxin-related exoproteins (enterotoxin A, enterotoxin B) and α-toxin in MRSA. The anti-biofilm activity of BDMC was evaluated through a biofilm inhibition assay. The study suggests that sub-inhibitory concentrations of BDMC significantly inhibited the expression of sea, seb, and hla at the mRNA level in MRSA. Moreover, the expression of virulence-related exoproteins was significantly decreased by down-regulating accessory gene regulator agr, and the inhibition of biofilms formation was demonstrated by BDMC at sub-inhibitory concentrations. Consequently, the study suggests that BDMC may be a potential natural antibacterial agent to release the pressure brought by antibiotic resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Resistance and Bacterial Toxins)
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14 pages, 2054 KiB  
Article
Modulation of Adhesion Molecules Expression by Different Metalloproteases Isolated from Bothrops Snakes
by Bianca C. Zychar, Patrícia B. Clissa, Eneas Carvalho, Adilson S. Alves, Cristiani Baldo, Eliana L. Faquim-Mauro and Luís Roberto C. Gonçalves
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 803; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110803 - 15 Nov 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2526
Abstract
Snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMP) are involved in local inflammatory reactions observed after snakebites. Based on domain composition, they are classified as PI (pro-domain + proteolytic domain), PII (PI + disintegrin-like domains), or PIII (PII + cysteine-rich domains). Here, we studied the role of [...] Read more.
Snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMP) are involved in local inflammatory reactions observed after snakebites. Based on domain composition, they are classified as PI (pro-domain + proteolytic domain), PII (PI + disintegrin-like domains), or PIII (PII + cysteine-rich domains). Here, we studied the role of different SVMPs domains in inducing the expression of adhesion molecules at the microcirculation of the cremaster muscle of mice. We used Jararhagin (Jar)—a PIII SVMP with intense hemorrhagic activity, and Jar-C—a Jar devoid of the catalytic domain, with no hemorrhagic activity, both isolated from B. jararaca venom and BnP-1—a weakly hemorrhagic P1 SVMP from B. neuwiedi venom. Toxins (0.5 µg) or PBS (100 µL) were injected into the scrotum of mice, and 2, 4, or 24 h later, the protein and gene expression of CD54 and CD31 in the endothelium, and integrins (CD11a and CD11b), expressed in leukocytes were evaluated. Toxins induced significant increases in CD54, CD11a, and CD11b at the initial time and a time-related increase in CD31 expression. In conclusion, our results suggest that, despite differences in hemorrhagic activities and domain composition of the SVMPs used in this study, they behave similarly to the induction of expression of adhesion molecules that promote leukocyte recruitment. Full article
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14 pages, 3311 KiB  
Article
Ochratoxin A Induces Steatosis via PPARγ-CD36 Axis
by Qian-Wen Zheng, Xu-Fen Ding, Hui-Jun Cao, Qian-Zhi Ni, Bing Zhu, Ning Ma, Feng-Kun Zhang, Yi-Kang Wang, Sheng Xu, Tian-Wei Chen, Ji Xia, Xiao-Song Qiu, Dian-Zhen Yu, Dong Xie and Jing-Jing Li
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 802; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110802 - 13 Nov 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2872
Abstract
Ochratoxin A(OTA) is considered to be one of the most important contaminants of food and feed worldwide. The liver is one of key target organs for OTA to exert its toxic effects. Due to current lifestyle and diet, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) [...] Read more.
Ochratoxin A(OTA) is considered to be one of the most important contaminants of food and feed worldwide. The liver is one of key target organs for OTA to exert its toxic effects. Due to current lifestyle and diet, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has been the most common liver disease. To examine the potential effect of OTA on hepatic lipid metabolism and NAFLD, C57BL/6 male mice received 1 mg/kg OTA by gavage daily. Compared with controls, OTA increased lipid deposition and TG accumulation in mouse livers. In vitro OTA treatment also promoted lipid droplets accumulation in primary hepatocytes and HepG2 cells. Mechanistically, OTA prevented PPARγ degradation by reducing the interaction between PPARγ and its E3 ligase SIAH2, which led to activation of PPARγ signaling pathway. Furthermore, downregulation or inhibition of CD36, a known of PPARγ, alleviated OTA-induced lipid droplets deposition and TG accumulation. Therefore, OTA induces hepatic steatosis via PPARγ-CD36 axis, suggesting that OTA has an impact on liver lipid metabolism and may contribute to the development of metabolic diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycotoxins Study: Identification and Control)
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