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Toxins, Volume 14, Issue 2 (February 2022) – 92 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Khat (Catha edulis) is a recreational, chewed herbal drug that has been used as a psychostimulant in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, mainly in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Yemen, for centuries. However, the chronic use of khat is associated with severe cardiac, neurological, psychological, and gastrointestinal complications. The psychological dependence and withdrawal symptoms of khat are the reasons for its prolonged use. The aim of this paper is to review our current knowledge on the khat plant with toxicokinetic as well as toxicodynamic perspectives.Specifically, this review paper addresses in vitro, in vivo, and human studies. The models used as well as the concentrations and doses with their respective biological effects are discussed. Additionally, the main drug interactions of khat are described. View this paper
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Brief Report
Recombinant Expression of ABCC2 Variants Confirms the Importance of Mutations in Extracellular Loop 4 for Cry1F Resistance in Fall Armyworm
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020157 - 21 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 693
Abstract
Fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, is a highly destructive and invasive global noctuid pest. Its control is based on insecticide applications and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insecticidal Cry toxins expressed in transgenic crops, such as Cry1F in Bt corn. Continuous selection pressure has [...] Read more.
Fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, is a highly destructive and invasive global noctuid pest. Its control is based on insecticide applications and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insecticidal Cry toxins expressed in transgenic crops, such as Cry1F in Bt corn. Continuous selection pressure has resulted in populations that are resistant to Bt corn, particularly in Brazil. FAW resistance to Cry1F was recently shown to be conferred by mutations of ATP-binding cassette transporter C2 (ABCC2), but several mutations, particularly indels in extracellular loop 4 (ECL4), are not yet functionally validated. We addressed this knowledge gap by baculovirus-free insect cell expression of ABCC2 variants (and ABCC3) by electroporation technology and tested their response to Cry1F, Cry1A.105 and Cry1Ab. We employed a SYTOXTM orange cell viability test measuring ABCC2-mediated Bt toxin pore formation. In total, we tested seven different FAW ABCC2 variants mutated in ECL4, two mutants modified in nucleotide binding domain (NBD) 2, including a deletion mutant lacking NBD2, and S. frugiperda ABCC3. All tested ECL4 mutations conferred high resistance to Cry1F, but much less to Cry1A.105 and Cry1Ab, whereas mutations in NBD2 hardly affected Bt toxin activity. Our study confirms the importance of indels in ECL4 for Cry1F resistance in S. frugiperda ABCC2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insect Resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis Toxins)
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Review
Novel Aspects of the SubA Subunit of the Subtilase Cytotoxin
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020156 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 408
Abstract
The subtilase cytotoxin (SubAB) belongs to the family of AB5 toxins and is produced together with Shiga toxin (Stx) by certain Stx-producing E. coli strains (STEC). For most AB-type toxins, it is assumed that cytotoxic effects can only be induced by a [...] Read more.
The subtilase cytotoxin (SubAB) belongs to the family of AB5 toxins and is produced together with Shiga toxin (Stx) by certain Stx-producing E. coli strains (STEC). For most AB-type toxins, it is assumed that cytotoxic effects can only be induced by a complete holotoxin complex consisting of SubA and SubB. However, it has been shown for SubAB that the enzymatically active subunit SubA, without its transport and binding domain SubB, induces cell death in different eukaryotic cell lines. Interestingly, the molecular structure of SubA resembles that of the SubAB complex. SubA alone is capable of binding to cells and then being taken up autonomously. Once inside the host cell, SubA is transported, similar to the SubAB holotoxin, via a retrograde transport into the endoplasmatic reticulum (ER). In the ER, it exhibits its enzymatic activity by cleaving the chaperone BiP/GRP78 and thereby triggering cell death. Therefore, the existence of toxic single SubA subunits that have not found a B-pentamer for holotoxin assembly might improve the pathogenic potential of subtilase-producing strains. Moreover, from a pharmacological aspect, SubA might be an interesting molecule for the targeted transport of therapeutic molecules into the ER, in order to investigate and specifically modulate processes in the context of ER stress-associated diseases. Since recent studies on bacterial AB5 toxins contributed mainly to the understanding of the biology of AB-type holotoxins, this mini-review specifically focus on that recently observed single A-effect of the subtilase cytotoxin and addresses whether a fundamental shift of the traditional AB5 paradigm might be required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Aspects of Bacterial AB5-Toxins)
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Article
Screening of TNFR1 Binding Peptides from Deinagkistrodon acutus Venom through Phage Display
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020155 - 19 Feb 2022
Viewed by 601
Abstract
The venomous species Deinagkistrodon acutus has been used as anti-inflammatory medicine in China for a long time. It has been proven to have anti-inflammatory activity, but its specific anti-inflammatory components have not yet been fully elucidated. Tumor necrosis factor receptor-1 (TNFR1), which participates [...] Read more.
The venomous species Deinagkistrodon acutus has been used as anti-inflammatory medicine in China for a long time. It has been proven to have anti-inflammatory activity, but its specific anti-inflammatory components have not yet been fully elucidated. Tumor necrosis factor receptor-1 (TNFR1), which participates in important intracellular signaling pathways, mediates apoptosis, and functions as a regulator of inflammation, is often used as the target to develop anti-inflammatory drugs. The small peptides of snake venom have the advantages of weak immunogenicity and strong activity. To obtain the specific TNFR1 binding peptides, we constructed a T7 phage library of D. acutus venom glands, and then performed biopanning against TNFR1 on the constructed library. After biopanning three times, several sequences with potential binding capacity were obtained and one 41-amino acid peptide was selected through a series of biological analyses including sequence length, solubility, and simulated affinity, named DAvp-1. After synthesis, the binding capacity of DAvp-1 and TNFR1 was verified using surface plasmon resonance technology (SPR). Conclusively, by applying phage display technology, this work depicts the successful screening of a promising peptide DAvp-1 from D. acutus venom that binds to TNFR1. Additionally, our study emphasizes the usefulness of phage display technology for studies on screening natural product components. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Poisons and Venoms in Drug Discovery)
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Review
Fungal Naphthalenones; Promising Metabolites for Drug Discovery: Structures, Biosynthesis, Sources, and Pharmacological Potential
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 154; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020154 - 19 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 511
Abstract
Fungi are well-known for their abundant supply of metabolites with unrivaled structure and promising bioactivities. Naphthalenones are among these fungal metabolites, that are biosynthesized through the 1,8-dihydroxy-naphthalene polyketide pathway. They revealed a wide spectrum of bioactivities, including phytotoxic, neuro-protective, cytotoxic, antiviral, nematocidal, antimycobacterial, [...] Read more.
Fungi are well-known for their abundant supply of metabolites with unrivaled structure and promising bioactivities. Naphthalenones are among these fungal metabolites, that are biosynthesized through the 1,8-dihydroxy-naphthalene polyketide pathway. They revealed a wide spectrum of bioactivities, including phytotoxic, neuro-protective, cytotoxic, antiviral, nematocidal, antimycobacterial, antimalarial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory. The current review emphasizes the reported naphthalenone derivatives produced by various fungal species, including their sources, structures, biosynthesis, and bioactivities in the period from 1972 to 2021. Overall, more than 167 references with 159 metabolites are listed. Full article
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Article
Herbivorous Juvenile Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) Fed with Genetically Modified MON 810 and DAS-59122 Maize Varieties Containing Cry Toxins: Intestinal Histological, Developmental, and Immunological Investigations
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020153 - 19 Feb 2022
Viewed by 606
Abstract
Feeding experiments with juvenile grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) fed with genetically modified maize MON 810 or DAS-59122 dried leaf biomass were carried out with 1-, 3- and 6-month exposures. Dosages of 3–7 μg/fish/day Cry1Ab or 18-55 μg/fish/day Cry34Ab1 toxin did not [...] Read more.
Feeding experiments with juvenile grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) fed with genetically modified maize MON 810 or DAS-59122 dried leaf biomass were carried out with 1-, 3- and 6-month exposures. Dosages of 3–7 μg/fish/day Cry1Ab or 18-55 μg/fish/day Cry34Ab1 toxin did not cause mortality. No difference occurred in body or abdominal sac weights. No differences appeared in levels of inorganic phosphate, calcium, fructosamine, bile acids, triglycerides, cholesterol, and alanine and aspartame aminotransferases. DAS-59122 did not alter blood parameters tested after 3 months of feeding. MON 810 slightly decreased serum albumin levels compared to the control, only in one group. Tapeworm (Bothriocephalus acheilognathi) infection changed the levels of inorganic phosphate and calcium. Cry34Ab1 toxin appeared in blood (12.6 ± 1.9 ng/mL), but not in the muscle. It was detected in B. acheilognathi. Cry1Ab was hardly detectable in certain samples near the limit of detection. Degradation of Cry toxins was extremely quick in the fish gastrointestinal tract. After 6 months of feeding, only mild indications in certain serum parameters were observed: MON 810 slightly increased the level of apoptotic cells in the blood and reduced the number of thrombocytes in one group; DAS-59122 mildly increased the number of granulocytes compared to the near-isogenic line. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insecticidal Toxins: Application and Assessment)
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Article
ExoU Induces Lung Endothelial Cell Damage and Activates Pro-Inflammatory Caspase-1 during Pseudomonas aeruginosa Infection
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020152 - 18 Feb 2022
Viewed by 600
Abstract
The Gram-negative, opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa utilizes a type III secretion system to inject exoenzyme effectors into a target host cell. Of the four best-studied exoenzymes, ExoU causes rapid cell damage and death. ExoU is a phospholipase A2 (PLA2) that [...] Read more.
The Gram-negative, opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa utilizes a type III secretion system to inject exoenzyme effectors into a target host cell. Of the four best-studied exoenzymes, ExoU causes rapid cell damage and death. ExoU is a phospholipase A2 (PLA2) that hydrolyses host cell membranes, and P. aeruginosa strains expressing ExoU are associated with poor outcomes in critically ill patients with pneumonia. While the effects of ExoU on lung epithelial and immune cells are well studied, a role for ExoU in disrupting lung endothelial cell function has only recently emerged. Lung endothelial cells maintain a barrier to fluid and protein flux into tissue and airspaces and regulate inflammation. Herein, we describe a pulmonary microvascular endothelial cell (PMVEC) culture infection model to examine the effects of ExoU. Using characterized P. aeruginosa strains and primary clinical isolates, we show that strains expressing ExoU disrupt PMVEC barrier function by causing substantial PMVEC damage and lysis, in a PLA2-dependent manner. In addition, we show that strains expressing ExoU activate the pro-inflammatory caspase-1, in a PLA2-dependent manner. Considering the important roles for mitochondria and oxidative stress in regulating inflammatory responses, we next examined the effects of ExoU on reactive oxygen species production. Infection of PMVECs with P. aeruginosa strains expressing ExoU triggered a robust oxidative stress compared to strains expressing other exoenzyme effectors. We also provide evidence that, intriguingly, ExoU PLA2 activity was detectable in mitochondria and mitochondria-associated membrane fractions isolated from P. aeruginosa-infected PMVECs. Interestingly, ExoU-mediated activation of caspase-1 was partially inhibited by reactive oxygen species scavengers. Together, these data suggest ExoU exerts pleiotropic effects on PMVEC function during P. aeruginosa infection that may inhibit endothelial barrier and inflammatory functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
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Article
Cereulide and Deoxynivalenol Increase LC3 Protein Levels in HepG2 Liver Cells
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020151 - 18 Feb 2022
Viewed by 470
Abstract
Food contaminants of bacterial or fungal origin frequently contaminate staple foods to various extents. Among others, the bacterial toxin cereulide (CER) and the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) co-occur in a mixed diet and are absorbed by the human body. Both toxins exert dis-tinctive mitotoxic [...] Read more.
Food contaminants of bacterial or fungal origin frequently contaminate staple foods to various extents. Among others, the bacterial toxin cereulide (CER) and the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) co-occur in a mixed diet and are absorbed by the human body. Both toxins exert dis-tinctive mitotoxic potential. As damaged mitochondria are removed via autophagy, mitochondrial and lysosomal toxicity were assessed by applying low doses of single and combined toxins (CER 0.1–50 ng/mL; DON 0.01–5 µg/mL) to HepG2 liver cells. In addition to cytotoxicity assays, RT-qPCR was performed to investigate genes involved in lysosomal biogenesis and autophagy. CER and DON caused significant cytotoxicity on HepG2 cells after 5 and 24 h over a broad concentration range. CER, alone and in combination with DON, increased the transcription of the autophagy related genes coding for the microtubule associated protein 1A/1B light chain 3 (LC3) and sequestome 1 (SQSTM1) as well as LC3 protein expression which was determined using immunocytochemistry. DON increased LC3 protein expression without induction of gene transcription, hence it seems plausible that CER and DON act on different pathways. The results support the hypothesis that CER induces autophagy via the LC3 pathway and damaged mitochondria are therefore eliminated. Full article
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Article
Local Differences in the Toxin Amount and Composition of Tetrodotoxin and Related Compounds in Pufferfish (Chelonodon patoca) and Toxic Goby (Yongeichthys criniger) Juveniles
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020150 - 18 Feb 2022
Viewed by 561
Abstract
Tetrodotoxin (TTX)-bearing fish ingest TTX from their preys through the food chain and accumulate TTX in their bodies. Although a wide variety of TTX-bearing organisms have been reported, the missing link in the TTX supply chain has not been elucidated completely. Here, we [...] Read more.
Tetrodotoxin (TTX)-bearing fish ingest TTX from their preys through the food chain and accumulate TTX in their bodies. Although a wide variety of TTX-bearing organisms have been reported, the missing link in the TTX supply chain has not been elucidated completely. Here, we investigated the composition of TTX and 5,6,11-trideoxyTTX in juveniles of the pufferfish, Chelonodon patoca, and toxic goby, Yongeichthys criniger, using LC–MS/MS, to resolve the missing link in the TTX supply chain. The TTX concentration varied among samples from different localities, sampling periods and fish species. In the samples from the same locality, the TTX concentration was significantly higher in the toxic goby juveniles than in the pufferfish juveniles. The concentration of TTX in all the pufferfish juveniles was significantly higher than that of 5,6,11-trideoxyTTX, whereas the compositional ratio of TTX and 5,6,11-trideoxyTTX in the goby was different among sampling localities. However, the TTX/5,6,11-trideoxyTTX ratio in the goby was not different among samples collected from the same locality at different periods. Based on a species-specific PCR, the detection rate of the toxic flatworm (Planocera multitentaculata)-specific sequence (cytochrome c oxidase subunit I) also varied between the intestinal contents of the pufferfish and toxic goby collected at different localities and periods. These results suggest that although the larvae of the toxic flatworm are likely to be responsible for the toxification of the pufferfish and toxic goby juveniles by TTX, these fish juveniles are also likely to feed on other TTX-bearing organisms depending on their habitat, and they also possess different accumulation mechanisms of TTX and 5,6,11-trideoxyTTX. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
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Article
Variability in the Spatial Structure of the Central Loop in Cobra Cytotoxins Revealed by X-ray Analysis and Molecular Modeling
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020149 - 18 Feb 2022
Viewed by 392
Abstract
Cobra cytotoxins (CTs) belong to the three-fingered protein family and possess membrane activity. Here, we studied cytotoxin 13 from Naja naja cobra venom (CT13Nn). For the first time, a spatial model of CT13Nn with both “water” and “membrane” conformations of the central loop [...] Read more.
Cobra cytotoxins (CTs) belong to the three-fingered protein family and possess membrane activity. Here, we studied cytotoxin 13 from Naja naja cobra venom (CT13Nn). For the first time, a spatial model of CT13Nn with both “water” and “membrane” conformations of the central loop (loop-2) were determined by X-ray crystallography. The “water” conformation of the loop was frequently observed. It was similar to the structure of loop-2 of numerous CTs, determined by either NMR spectroscopy in aqueous solution, or the X-ray method. The “membrane” conformation is rare one and, to date has only been observed by NMR for a single cytotoxin 1 from N. oxiana (CT1No) in detergent micelle. Both CT13Nn and CT1No are S-type CTs. Membrane-binding of these CTs probably involves an additional step—the conformational transformation of the loop-2. To confirm this suggestion, we conducted molecular dynamics simulations of both CT1No and CT13Nn in the Highly Mimetic Membrane Model of palmitoiloleoylphosphatidylglycerol, starting with their “water” NMR models. We found that the both toxins transform their “water” conformation of loop-2 into the “membrane” one during the insertion process. This supports the hypothesis that the S-type CTs, unlike their P-type counterparts, require conformational adaptation of loop-2 during interaction with lipid membranes. Full article
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Article
Zearalenone Induces Apoptosis and Autophagy in a Spermatogonia Cell Line
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020148 - 17 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 656
Abstract
Zearalenone (ZEN), a widely known mycotoxin, is mainly produced by various Fusarium species, and it is a potent estrogenic metabolite that affects reproductive health in livestock and humans. In this study, the molecular mechanisms of toxicity and cell damage induced by ZEN in [...] Read more.
Zearalenone (ZEN), a widely known mycotoxin, is mainly produced by various Fusarium species, and it is a potent estrogenic metabolite that affects reproductive health in livestock and humans. In this study, the molecular mechanisms of toxicity and cell damage induced by ZEN in GC-1 spermatogonia (spg) cells were evaluated. Our results showed that cell viability decreased and apoptosis increased in a dose-dependent manner when GC-1 spg cells were exposed to ZEN. In addition, the key proteins involved in apoptosis, cleaved caspase-3 and -8, BAD, BAX, and phosphorylation of p53 and ERK1/2, were significantly increased in ZEN-exposed GC-1 spg cells for 24 h, and cytochrome c was released from mitochondria by ZEN. Interestingly, ZEN also triggered autophagy in GC-1 spg cells. The expression levels of the autophagy-related genes Atg5, Atg3, Beclin 1, LC3, Ulk1, Bnip 3, and p62 were significantly higher in ZEN-treated GC-1 spg cells, and the protein levels of both LC3A/B and Atg12 were remarkably increased in a dose-dependent manner in ZEN-exposed GC-1 spg cells compared to the control. In addition, immunostaining results showed that ZEN-treated groups showed a remarkable increase in LC 3A/B positive puncta as compared to the control in a dose-dependent manner based on confocal microscopy analysis in GC-1 spg cells. Our findings suggest that ZEN has toxic effects on tGC-1 spg cells and induces both apoptosis and autophagy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
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Article
Recombinant Mosquito Densovirus with Bti Toxins Significantly Improves Pathogenicity against Aedes albopictus
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020147 - 17 Feb 2022
Viewed by 456
Abstract
Mosquito densoviruses (MDVs) are mosquito-specific viruses that are recommended as mosquito bio-control agents. The MDV Aedes aegypti densovirus (AeDNV) is a good candidate for controlling mosquitoes. However, the slow activity restricts their widespread use for vector control. In this study, we introduced the [...] Read more.
Mosquito densoviruses (MDVs) are mosquito-specific viruses that are recommended as mosquito bio-control agents. The MDV Aedes aegypti densovirus (AeDNV) is a good candidate for controlling mosquitoes. However, the slow activity restricts their widespread use for vector control. In this study, we introduced the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bti) toxin Cry11Aa domain II loop α8 and Cyt1Aa loop β6-αE peptides into the AeDNV genome to improve its mosquitocidal efficiency; protein expression was confirmed using nanoscale liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (nano LC-MS/MS). Recombinant plasmids were transfected into mosquito C6/36 cell lines, and the expression of specific peptides was detected through RT-PCR. A toxicity bioassay against the first instar Aedes albopictus larvae revealed that the pathogenic activity of recombinant AeDNV was significantly higher and faster than the wild-type (wt) viruses, and mortality increased in a dose-dependent manner. The recombinant viruses were genetically stable and displayed growth phenotype and virus proliferation ability, similar to wild-type AeDNV. Our novel results offer further insights by combining two mosquitocidal pathogens to improve viral toxicity for mosquito control. Full article
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Editorial
Gut Microbiota Dynamics and Uremic Toxins
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020146 - 17 Feb 2022
Viewed by 504
Abstract
Recent evidence has highlighted the importance of the gut microbiota in the pathophysiology of kidney diseases [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gut Microbiota Dynamics and Uremic Toxins)
Article
Potential Role of Individual and Combined Effects of T-2 Toxin, HT-2 Toxin and Neosolaniol on the Apoptosis of Porcine Leydig Cells
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020145 - 16 Feb 2022
Viewed by 466
Abstract
T-2 toxin usually co-occurs with HT-2 toxin and neosolaniol (NEO) in the grains and feed. Our previous studies found that T-2 toxin and its metabolites’ binary or ternary combination exposure to porcine Leydig cells (LCs) displayed synergism in certain range of dosage and [...] Read more.
T-2 toxin usually co-occurs with HT-2 toxin and neosolaniol (NEO) in the grains and feed. Our previous studies found that T-2 toxin and its metabolites’ binary or ternary combination exposure to porcine Leydig cells (LCs) displayed synergism in certain range of dosage and cannot be predicted based on individual toxicity. However, the possible mechanism of these mycotoxins’ combined exposure to cell lesions remains unknown. Based on 50% cell viability, the mechanism of apoptosis in porcine Leydig cells was investigated after exposure to T-2, HT-2, NEO individual and binary or ternary combinations. Compared with control, the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) content decreased, reactive oxygen species (ROS) level increased, and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) decreased in all treated groups. Additionally, the cell apoptosis rates were significantly increased in test groups (p < 0.05), and the B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) Associated X (Bax)/Bcl-2 ratio and the expression of caspase 3, caspase 8, cytochrome c (Cytc) in the treated group are all significantly higher than the control group. Moreover, the expression of Cytc and caspase 8 gene in NEO and T-2+NEO groups was significantly higher than that in other individual and combined groups. It can be concluded that the toxicities of T-2, HT-2, and NEO individually and in combination can induce apoptosis related to the oxidative stress and mitochondrial damage, and the synergistic effect between toxins may be greater than a single toxin effect, which is beneficial for assessing the possible risk of the co-occurrences in foodstuffs to human and animal health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
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Article
Practical Application of Urinary Zearalenone Monitoring System for Feed Hygiene Management of a Japanese Black Cattle Breeding Herd—The Relationship between Monthly Anti-Müllerian Hormone and Serum Amyloid A Concentrations
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020143 - 16 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 685
Abstract
This study addresses an advantageous application of a urinary zearalenone (ZEN) monitoring system not only for surveillance of ZEN exposure at the production site of breeding cows but also for follow-up monitoring after improvement of feeds provided to the herd. As biomarkers of [...] Read more.
This study addresses an advantageous application of a urinary zearalenone (ZEN) monitoring system not only for surveillance of ZEN exposure at the production site of breeding cows but also for follow-up monitoring after improvement of feeds provided to the herd. As biomarkers of effect, serum levels of the anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) and serum amyloid A (SAA) concentrations were used. Based on the results of urinary ZEN measurement, two cows from one herd had urinary ZEN concentrations which were two orders of magnitude higher (ZEN: 1.34 mg/kg, sterigmatocystin (STC): 0.08 mg/kg in roughages) than the levels of all cows from three other herds (ZEN: not detected, STC: not detected in roughages). For the follow-up monitoring of the herd with positive ZEN and STC exposure, urine, blood, and roughage samples were collected from five cows monthly for one year. A monitoring series in the breeding cattle herd indicated that feed concentrations were not necessarily reflected in urinary concentrations; urinary monitoring assay by ELISA may be a simple and accurate method that reflects the exposure/absorption of ZEN. Additionally, although the ZEN exposure level appeared not to be critical compared with the Japanese ZEN limitation in dietary feeds, a negative regression trend between the ZEN and AMH concentrations was observed, indicating that only at extremely universal mycotoxin exposure levels, ZEN exposure may affect the number of antral follicles in cattle. A negative regression trend between the ZEN and SAA concentrations could also be demonstrated, possibly indicating the innate immune suppression caused by low-level chronic ZEN exposure. Finally, significant differences (p = 0.0487) in calving intervals between pre-ZEN monitoring (mean ± SEM: 439.0 ± 41.2) and post-ZEN monitoring (349.9 ± 6.9) periods were observed in the monitored five cows. These preliminary results indicate that the urinary ZEN monitoring system may be a useful practical tool not only for detecting contaminated herds under field conditions but also provides an initial look at the effects of long-term chronic ZEN/STC (or other co-existing mycotoxins) exposure on herd productivity and fertility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Influence of Deoxynivalenol and Zearalenone in Feed on Animal Health)
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Article
Immunomodulatory Effects of Pure Cylindrospermopsin in Rats Orally Exposed for 28 Days
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020144 - 15 Feb 2022
Viewed by 429
Abstract
Cylindrospermopsin (CYN) is a ubiquitous cyanotoxin showing increasing incidence worldwide. CYN has been classified as a cytotoxin and, among its toxic effects, its immunotoxicity is scarcely studied. This work investigates for the first time the influence of oral CYN exposure (18.75; 37.5 and [...] Read more.
Cylindrospermopsin (CYN) is a ubiquitous cyanotoxin showing increasing incidence worldwide. CYN has been classified as a cytotoxin and, among its toxic effects, its immunotoxicity is scarcely studied. This work investigates for the first time the influence of oral CYN exposure (18.75; 37.5 and 75 µg/kg b.w./day, for 28 days) on the mRNA expression of selected interleukin (IL) genes (IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (TNF-α), Interferon gamma (IFN-γ)) in the thymus and the spleen of male and female rats, by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). Moreover, their serum levels were also measured by a multiplex-bead-based immunoassay, and a histopathological study was performed. CYN produced immunomodulation mainly in the thymus of rats exposed to 75 μg CYN/kg b.w./day in both sexes. However, in the spleen only IL-1β and IL-2 (males), and TNF-α and IFN-γ (females) expression was modified after CYN exposure. Only female rats exposed to 18.75 μg CYN/kg b.w./day showed a significant decrease in TNF-α serum levels. There were no significant differences in the weight or histopathology in the organs studied. Further research is needed to obtain a deeper view of the molecular mechanisms involved in CYN immunotoxicity and its consequences on long-term exposures. Full article
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Article
Transcriptomics Reveals the Effect of Thymol on the Growth and Toxin Production of Fusarium graminearum
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020142 - 15 Feb 2022
Viewed by 584
Abstract
Fusarium graminearum is a harmful pathogen causing head blight in cereals such as wheat and barley, and thymol has been proven to inhibit the growth of many pathogens. This study aims to explore the fungistatic effect of thymol on F. graminearum and its [...] Read more.
Fusarium graminearum is a harmful pathogen causing head blight in cereals such as wheat and barley, and thymol has been proven to inhibit the growth of many pathogens. This study aims to explore the fungistatic effect of thymol on F. graminearum and its mechanism. Different concentrations of thymol were used to treat F. graminearum. The results showed that the EC50 concentration of thymol against F. graminearum was 40 μg/mL. Compared with the control group, 40 μg/mL of thymol reduced the production of Deoxynivalenol (DON) and 3-Ac-DON by 70.1% and 78.2%, respectively. Our results indicate that thymol can effectively inhibit the growth and toxin production of F. graminearum and cause an extensive transcriptome response. Transcriptome identified 16,727 non-redundant unigenes and 1653 unigenes that COG did not annotate. The correlation coefficients between samples were all >0.941. When FC was 2.0 times, a total of 3230 differential unigenes were identified, of which 1223 were up-regulated, and 2007 were down-regulated. Through the transcriptome, we confirmed that the expression of many genes involved in F. graminearum growth and synthesis of DON and other secondary metabolites were also changed. The gluconeogenesis/glycolysis pathway may be a potential and important way for thymol to affect the growth of F. graminearum hyphae and the production of DON simultaneously. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Strategies for Biodegradation and Detoxification of Mycotoxins)
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Article
Metabolomic Analysis Reveals the Mechanisms of Hepatotoxicity Induced by Aflatoxin M1 and Ochratoxin A
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020141 - 15 Feb 2022
Viewed by 627
Abstract
Aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) is the only toxin with the maximum residue limit in milk, and ochratoxin A (OTA) represents a common toxin in cereals foods. It is common to find the co-occurrence of these two toxins in the environment. However, the interactive effect [...] Read more.
Aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) is the only toxin with the maximum residue limit in milk, and ochratoxin A (OTA) represents a common toxin in cereals foods. It is common to find the co-occurrence of these two toxins in the environment. However, the interactive effect of these toxins on hepatoxicity and underlying mechanisms is still unclear. The liver and serum metabolomics in mice exposed to individual AFM1 at 3.5 mg/kg b.w., OTA at 3.5 mg/kg b.w., and their combination for 35 days were conducted based on the UPLC-MS method in the present study. Subsequent metabolome on human hepatocellular liver carcinoma (Hep G2) cells was conducted to narrow down the key metabolites. The phenotypic results on liver weight and serum indicators, such as total bilirubin and glutamyltransferase, showed that the combined toxins had more serious adverse effects than an individual one, indicating that the combined AFM1 and OTA displayed synergistic effects on liver damage. Through the metabolic analysis in liver and serum, we found that (i) a synergistic effect was exerted in the combined toxins, because the number of differentially expressed metabolites on combination treatment was higher than the individual toxins, (ii) OTA played a dominant role in the hepatoxicity induced by the combination of AFM1, and OTA and (iii) lysophosphatidylcholines (LysoPCs), more especially, LysoPC (16:1), were identified as the metabolites most affected by AFM1 and OTA. These findings provided a new insight for identifying the potential biomarkers for the hepatoxicity of AFM1 and OTA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
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Article
Molecular Diversity of Peptide Toxins in the Venom of Spider Heteropoda pingtungensis as Revealed by cDNA Library and Transcriptome Sequencing Analysis
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020140 - 14 Feb 2022
Viewed by 585
Abstract
The venoms of toxic animals are chemical pools composed of various proteins, peptides, and small organic molecules used for predation and defense, in which the peptidic toxins have been intensively pursued mining modulators targeting disease-related ion channels and receptors as valuable drug pioneers. [...] Read more.
The venoms of toxic animals are chemical pools composed of various proteins, peptides, and small organic molecules used for predation and defense, in which the peptidic toxins have been intensively pursued mining modulators targeting disease-related ion channels and receptors as valuable drug pioneers. In the present study, we uncovered the molecular diversity of peptide toxins in the venom of the spider Heteropoda pingtungensis (H. pingtungensis) by using a combinatory strategy of venom gland cDNA library and transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq). An amount of 991 high-quality expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were identified from 1138 generated sequences, which fall into three categories, such as the toxin-like ESTs (531, 53.58%), the cellular component ESTs (255, 25.73%), and the no-match ESTs (205, 20.69%), as determined by gene function annotations. Of them, 190 non-redundant toxin-like peptides were identified and can be artificially grouped into 13 families based on their sequence homology and cysteine frameworks (families A–M). The predicted mature toxins contain 2–10 cysteines, which are predicted to form intramolecular disulfide bonds to stabilize their three-dimensional structures. Bioinformatics analysis showed that toxins from H. pingtungensis venom have high sequences variability and the biological targets for most toxins are unpredictable due to lack of homology to toxins with known functions in the database. Furthermore, RP-HPLC and MALDI-TOF analyses have identified a total of 110 different peptides physically existing in the H. pingtungensis venom, and many RP-HPLC fractions showed potent inhibitory activity on the heterologously expressed NaV1.7 channel. Most importantly, two novel NaV1.7 peptide antagonists, µ-Sparatoxin-Hp1 and µ-Sparatoxin-Hp2, were characterized. In conclusion, the present study has added many new members to the spider toxin superfamily and built the foundation for identifying novel modulators targeting ion channels in the H. pingtungensis venom. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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Article
Reduced Cross-Sectional Muscle Growth Six Months after Botulinum Toxin Type-A Injection in Children with Spastic Cerebral Palsy
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020139 - 14 Feb 2022
Viewed by 820
Abstract
Botulinum Neurotoxin type-A (BoNT-A) injections are widely used as first-line spasticity treatment in spastic cerebral palsy (SCP). Despite improved clinical outcomes, concerns regarding harmful effects on muscle morphology have been raised. Yet, the risk of initiating BoNT-A to reduce muscle growth remains unclear. [...] Read more.
Botulinum Neurotoxin type-A (BoNT-A) injections are widely used as first-line spasticity treatment in spastic cerebral palsy (SCP). Despite improved clinical outcomes, concerns regarding harmful effects on muscle morphology have been raised. Yet, the risk of initiating BoNT-A to reduce muscle growth remains unclear. This study investigated medial gastrocnemius (MG) morphological muscle growth in children with SCP (n = 26, median age of 5.2 years (3.5)), assessed by 3D-freehand ultrasound prior to and six months post-BoNT-A injections. Post-BoNT-A MG muscle growth of BoNT-A naive children (n = 11) was compared to (a) muscle growth of children who remained BoNT-A naive after six months (n = 11) and (b) post-BoNT-A follow-up data of children with a history of BoNT-A treatment (n = 15). Six months after initiating BoNT-A injection, 17% decrease in mid-belly cross-sectional area normalized to skeletal growth and 5% increase in echo-intensity were illustrated. These muscle outcomes were only significantly altered when compared with children who remained BoNT-A naive (+4% and −3%, respectively, p < 0.01). Muscle length growth persevered over time. This study showed reduced cross-sectional growth post-BoNT-A treatment suggesting that re-injections should be postponed at least beyond six months. Future research should extend follow-up periods investigating muscle recovery in the long-term and should include microscopic analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Botulinum Toxin in the Management of Children with Cerebral Palsy)
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Review
Infectious RNA: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Biology, Therapeutic Intervention, and the Quest for a Vaccine
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020138 - 14 Feb 2022
Viewed by 790
Abstract
Different mechanisms mediate the toxicity of RNA. Genomic retroviral mRNA hijacks infected host cell factors to enable virus replication. The viral genomic RNA of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) encompasses nine genes encoding in less than 10 kb all proteins needed for replication [...] Read more.
Different mechanisms mediate the toxicity of RNA. Genomic retroviral mRNA hijacks infected host cell factors to enable virus replication. The viral genomic RNA of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) encompasses nine genes encoding in less than 10 kb all proteins needed for replication in susceptible host cells. To do so, the genomic RNA undergoes complex alternative splicing to facilitate the synthesis of the structural, accessory, and regulatory proteins. However, HIV strongly relies on the host cell machinery recruiting cellular factors to complete its replication cycle. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) targets different steps in the cycle, preventing disease progression to the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The comprehension of the host immune system interaction with the virus has fostered the development of a variety of vaccine platforms. Despite encouraging provisional results in vaccine trials, no effective vaccine has been developed, yet. However, novel promising vaccine platforms are currently under investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of and Solutions for Diseases Caused by Toxic RNA)
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Article
Hollow-Structured Microporous Organic Networks Adsorbents Enabled Specific and Sensitive Identification and Determination of Aflatoxins
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020137 - 13 Feb 2022
Viewed by 679
Abstract
Aflatoxin (AFT) contamination, commonly in foods and grains with extremely low content while high toxicity, has caused serious economic and health problems worldwide. Now researchers are making an effort to develop nanomaterials with remarkable adsorption capacity for the identification, determination and regulation of [...] Read more.
Aflatoxin (AFT) contamination, commonly in foods and grains with extremely low content while high toxicity, has caused serious economic and health problems worldwide. Now researchers are making an effort to develop nanomaterials with remarkable adsorption capacity for the identification, determination and regulation of AFT. Herein, we constructed a novel hollow-structured microporous organic networks (HMONs) material. On the basis of Fe3O4@[email protected], hydrofluoric acid (HF) was introduced to remove the transferable metal organic framework (MOF) to give hollow MON structures. Compared to the original Fe3O4@[email protected], HMON showed improved surface area and typical hollow cavities, thus increasing the adsorption capacity. More importantly, AFT is a hydrophobic substance, and our constructed HMON had a higher water contact angle, greatly enhancing the adsorption affinity. From that, the solid phase extraction (SPE-HPLC) method developed based on HMONs was applied to analyze four kinds of actual samples, with satisfied recoveries of 85–98%. This work provided a specific and sensitive method for the identification and determination of AFT in the food matrix and demonstrated the great potential of HMONs in the field of the identification and control of mycotoxins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycotoxins Study: Identification and Control)
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Article
Efficacy of Fumonisin Esterase in Piglets as Animal Model for Fumonisin Detoxification in Humans: Pilot Study Comparing Intraoral to Intragastric Administration
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020136 - 11 Feb 2022
Viewed by 600
Abstract
Fumonisins, a group of highly prevalent and toxic mycotoxins, are suspected to be causal agents of several diseases in animals and humans. In the animal feed industry, fumonisin esterase is used as feed additive to prevent mycotoxicosis caused by fumonisins. In humans, a [...] Read more.
Fumonisins, a group of highly prevalent and toxic mycotoxins, are suspected to be causal agents of several diseases in animals and humans. In the animal feed industry, fumonisin esterase is used as feed additive to prevent mycotoxicosis caused by fumonisins. In humans, a popular dosage form for dietary supplements, with high patient acceptance for oral intake, is capsule ingestion. Thus, fumonisin esterase provided in a capsule could be an effective strategy against fumonisin intoxication in humans. To determine the efficacy of fumonisin esterase through capsule ingestion, two modes of application were compared using piglets in a small-scale preliminary study. The enzyme was administered intraorally (in-feed analogue) or intragastrically (capsule analogue), in combination with fumonisin B1 (FB1). Biomarkers for FB1 exposure; namely FB1, hydrolysed FB1 (HFB1) and partially hydrolysed forms (pHFB1a and pHFB1b), were measured both in serum and faeces using a validated liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method, and toxicokinetic parameters were calculated. Additionally, the serum sphinganine/sphingosine (Sa/So) ratio, a biomarker of effect, was determined using LC-MS/MS. A significantly higher Sa/So ratio was shown in the placebo group compared to both esterase treatments, demonstrating the efficacy of the esterase. Moreover, a significant decrease in serum FB1 area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) and an increase of faecal HFB1 AUC were observed after intraoral esterase administration. However, these effects were not observed with statistical significance after intragastric esterase administration with the current sample size. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycotoxins and Their Chromatographic-Based Detection Technology)
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Article
Functional EL-HN Fragment as a Potent Candidate Vaccine for the Prevention of Botulinum Neurotoxin Serotype E
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020135 - 11 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 477
Abstract
Clostridium botulinum produces botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT), which is the most toxic known protein and the causative agent of human botulism. BoNTs have similar structures and functions, comprising three functional domains: catalytic domain (L), translocation domain (HN), and receptor-binding domain (Hc). In the present [...] Read more.
Clostridium botulinum produces botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT), which is the most toxic known protein and the causative agent of human botulism. BoNTs have similar structures and functions, comprising three functional domains: catalytic domain (L), translocation domain (HN), and receptor-binding domain (Hc). In the present study, BoNT/E was selected as a model toxin to further explore the immunological significance of each domain. The EL-HN fragment (L and HN domains of BoNT/E) retained the enzymatic activity without in vivo neurotoxicity. Extensive investigations showed EL-HN functional fragment had the highest protective efficacy and contained some functional neutralizing epitopes. Further experiments demonstrated the EL-HN provided a superior protective effect compared with the EHc or EHc and EL-HN combination. Thus, the EL-HN played an important role in immune protection against BoNT/E and could provide an excellent platform for the design of botulinum vaccines and neutralizing antibodies. The EL-HN has the potential to replace EHc or toxoid as the optimal immunogen for the botulinum vaccine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
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Article
Analysis of Mycotoxin and Secondary Metabolites in Commercial and Traditional Slovak Cheese Samples
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020134 - 10 Feb 2022
Viewed by 611
Abstract
Cheese represents a dairy product extremely inclined to fungal growth and mycotoxin production. The growth of fungi belonging to Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium, Claviceps, Alternaria, and Trichoderma genera in or on cheese leads to undesirable changes able to affect [...] Read more.
Cheese represents a dairy product extremely inclined to fungal growth and mycotoxin production. The growth of fungi belonging to Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium, Claviceps, Alternaria, and Trichoderma genera in or on cheese leads to undesirable changes able to affect the quality of the final products. In the present investigation, a total of 68 types of commercial and traditional Slovak cheeses were analyzed to investigate the occurrence of fungal metabolites. Altogether, 13 fungal metabolites were identified and quantified. Aflatoxin M1, the only mycotoxin regulated in milk and dairy products, was not detected in any case. However, the presence of metabolites that have never been reported in cheeses, such as tryptophol at a maximum concentration level from 13.4 to 7930 µg/kg (average: 490 µg/kg), was recorded. Out of all detected metabolites, enniatin B represents the most frequently detected mycotoxin (0.06–0.71 µg/kg) in the analyzed samples. Attention is drawn to the lack of data on mycotoxins’ origin from Slovak cheeses; in fact, this is the first reported investigation. Our results indicate the presence of fungal mycotoxin contamination for which maximum permissible levels are not established, highlighting the importance of monitoring the source and producers of contamination in order to protect consumers’ health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycotoxins in Food and Feed: Detection and Identification)
Communication
In Silico Approach Gives Insights into Ig-like Fold Containing Proteins in Vibrio parahaemolyticus: A Focus on the Fibrillar Adhesins
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020133 - 10 Feb 2022
Viewed by 403
Abstract
Immunoglobulin-like (Ig-like) fold domains are abundant on the surface of bacteria, where they are required for cell-to-cell recognition, adhesion, biofilm formation, and conjugative transfer. Fibrillar adhesins are proteins with Ig-like fold(s) that have filamentous structures at the cell surface, being thinner and more [...] Read more.
Immunoglobulin-like (Ig-like) fold domains are abundant on the surface of bacteria, where they are required for cell-to-cell recognition, adhesion, biofilm formation, and conjugative transfer. Fibrillar adhesins are proteins with Ig-like fold(s) that have filamentous structures at the cell surface, being thinner and more flexible than pili. While the roles of fibrillar adhesins have been proposed in bacteria overall, their characterization in Vibrio parahaemolyticus has not been established and, therefore, understanding about fibrillar adhesins remain limited in V. parahaemolyticus. This in silico analysis can aid in the systematic identification of Ig-like-folded and fibrillar adhesin-like proteins in V. parahaemolyticus, opening new avenues for disease prevention by interfering in microbial interaction between V. parahaemolyticus and the host. Full article
Article
Protective Effect of Nebivolol against Oxidative Stress Induced by Aristolochic Acids in Endothelial Cells
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020132 - 10 Feb 2022
Viewed by 457
Abstract
Aristolochic acids (AAs) are powerful nephrotoxins that cause severe tubulointerstitial fibrosis. The biopsy-proven peritubular capillary rarefaction may worsen the progression of renal lesions via tissue hypoxia. As we previously observed the overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by cultured endothelial cells exposed to [...] Read more.
Aristolochic acids (AAs) are powerful nephrotoxins that cause severe tubulointerstitial fibrosis. The biopsy-proven peritubular capillary rarefaction may worsen the progression of renal lesions via tissue hypoxia. As we previously observed the overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by cultured endothelial cells exposed to AA, we here investigated in vitro AA-induced metabolic changes by 1H-NMR spectroscopy on intracellular medium and cell extracts. We also tested the effects of nebivolol (NEB), a β-blocker agent exhibiting antioxidant properties. After 24 h of AA exposure, significantly reduced cell viability and intracellular ROS overproduction were observed in EAhy926 cells; both effects were counteracted by NEB pretreatment. After 48 h of exposure to AA, the most prominent metabolite changes were significant decreases in arginine, glutamate, glutamine and glutathione levels, along with a significant increase in the aspartate, glycerophosphocholine and UDP-N-acetylglucosamine contents. NEB pretreatment slightly inhibited the changes in glutathione and glycerophosphocholine. In the supernatants from exposed cells, a decrease in lactate and glutamate levels, together with an increase in glucose concentration, was found. The AA-induced reduction in glutamate was significantly inhibited by NEB. These findings confirm the involvement of oxidative stress in AA toxicity for endothelial cells and the potential benefit of NEB in preventing endothelial injury. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxicity of Plant Derived Substances)
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Article
LC-MS/MS Analysis of Fumonisin B1, B2, B3, and Their Hydrolyzed Metabolites in Broiler Chicken Feed and Excreta
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020131 - 09 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 680
Abstract
An accurate, reliable, and specific method was developed for the quantitative determination of fumonisins B1, B2, B3, and their hydrolyzed metabolites, HFB1, HFB2, and HFB3, in broiler chicken feed and excreta using ultra-performance liquid chromatography combined with tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS). The samples [...] Read more.
An accurate, reliable, and specific method was developed for the quantitative determination of fumonisins B1, B2, B3, and their hydrolyzed metabolites, HFB1, HFB2, and HFB3, in broiler chicken feed and excreta using ultra-performance liquid chromatography combined with tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS). The samples were extracted and diluted for the determination of parent fumonisins. Another portion of the extracted samples was alkaline-hydrolyzed and cleaned using a strong anionic exchange adsorbent (MAX) for the determination of hydrolyzed fumonisins. Chromatographic separation was performed on a CORTECS C18 column (2.1 mm × 100 mm, 1.6 μm) using 0.2% formic acid aqueous solution and methanol with 0.2% formic acid as the mobile phase under gradient elution. The six fumonisins, FB1, FB2, FB3, HFB1, HFB2, and HFB3, were analyzed by tandem mass spectrometry using multiple-reaction monitoring (MRM) mode. The six fumonisins showed good linearity, with relative coefficients of r > 0.99. The limits of quantitation (LOQs) were 160 μg/kg. At the low, medium, and high spiked levels, the recovery of fumonisins in chicken feed and excreta ranged from 82.6 to 115.8%, with a precision (RSD) of 3.9–18.9%. This method was successfully applied to investigate the migration and transformation of fumonisins in broiler chickens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fusarium Toxins: Occurrence and Risk Assessment)
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Article
Fusarium Mycotoxins in Maize Field Soils: Method Validation and Implications for Sampling Strategy
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020130 - 09 Feb 2022
Viewed by 527
Abstract
While mycotoxins are generally regarded as food contamination issues, there is growing interest in mycotoxins as environmental pollutants. The main sources of trichothecene and zearalenone mycotoxins in the environment are mainly attributed to Fusarium infested fields, where mycotoxins can wash off in infested [...] Read more.
While mycotoxins are generally regarded as food contamination issues, there is growing interest in mycotoxins as environmental pollutants. The main sources of trichothecene and zearalenone mycotoxins in the environment are mainly attributed to Fusarium infested fields, where mycotoxins can wash off in infested plants or harvest residues. Subsequently, mycotoxins inevitably enter the soil. In this context, investigations into the effects, fate, and transport are still needed. However, there is a lack of analytical methods used to determine Fusarium toxins in soil matrices. We aimed to validate an analytical method capable of determining the toxins nivalenol (NIV), deoxynivalenol (DON), 15-acetyl-deoxynivalenol (15-AcDON), and zearalenone (ZEN), at environmentally relevant concentrations, in five contrasting agricultural soils. Soils were spiked at three levels (3, 9 and 15 ng g−1), extracted by solid-liquid extraction assisted with ultrasonication, using a generic solvent composition of acetonitrile:water 84:16 (v:v) and measured by LC–HRMS. Method validation was successful for NIV, DON, and 15-AcDON with mean recoveries > 93% and RSDr < 10%. ZEN failed the validation criteria. The validated method was applied to eight conventionally managed maize field soils during harvest season, to provide a first insight into DON, NIV, and 15-AcDON levels. Mycotoxins were present in two out of eight sampled maize fields. Soil mycotoxin concentrations ranged from 0.53 to 19.4 ng g−1 and 0.8 to 2.2 ng g−1 for DON and NIV, respectively. Additionally, we found indication that “hot-spot” concentrations were restricted to small scales (<5 cm) with implications for field scale soil monitoring strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Detection, Control and Contamination of Mycotoxins)
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Article
Crystal Structures of Botulinum Neurotoxin Subtypes A4 and A5 Cell Binding Domains in Complex with Receptor Ganglioside
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020129 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 813
Abstract
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNT) cause the potentially fatal neuroparalytic disease botulism that arises due to proteolysis of a SNARE protein. Each BoNT is comprised of three domains: a cell binding domain (HC), a translocation domain (HN), and a catalytic (Zn [...] Read more.
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNT) cause the potentially fatal neuroparalytic disease botulism that arises due to proteolysis of a SNARE protein. Each BoNT is comprised of three domains: a cell binding domain (HC), a translocation domain (HN), and a catalytic (Zn2+ endopeptidase) domain (LC). The HC is responsible for neuronal specificity by targeting both a protein and ganglioside receptor at the neuromuscular junction. Although highly toxic, some BoNTs are commercially available as therapeutics for the treatment of a range of neuromuscular conditions. Here we present the crystal structures of two BoNT cell binding domains, HC/A4 and HC/A5, in a complex with the oligosaccharide of ganglioside, GD1a and GM1b, respectively. These structures, along with a detailed comparison with the previously reported apo-structures, reveal the conformational changes that occur upon ganglioside binding and the interactions involved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structure and Function of Clostridial and Botulinum-Like Neurotoxins)
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Article
Different Algicidal Modes of the Two Bacteria Aeromonas bestiarum HYD0802-MK36 and Pseudomonas syringae KACC10292T against Harmful Cyanobacteria Microcystis aeruginosa
Toxins 2022, 14(2), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14020128 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 629
Abstract
Blooms of harmful cyanobacteria Microcystis aeruginosa lead to an adverse effect on freshwater ecosystems, and thus extensive studies on the control of this cyanobacteria’s blooms have been conducted. Throughout this study, we have found that the two bacteria Aeromonas bestiarum HYD0802-MK36 and Pseudomonas [...] Read more.
Blooms of harmful cyanobacteria Microcystis aeruginosa lead to an adverse effect on freshwater ecosystems, and thus extensive studies on the control of this cyanobacteria’s blooms have been conducted. Throughout this study, we have found that the two bacteria Aeromonas bestiarum HYD0802-MK36 and Pseudomonas syringae KACC10292T are capable of killing M. aeruginosa. Interestingly, these two bacteria showed different algicidal modes. Based on an algicidal range test using 15 algal species (target and non-target species), HYD0802-MK36 specifically attacked only target cyanobacteria M. aeruginosa, whereas the algicidal activity of KACC10292T appeared in a relatively broad algicidal range. HYD0802-MK36, as a direct attacker, killed M. aeruginosa cells when direct cell (bacterium)-to-cell (cyanobacteria) contact happens. KACC10292T, as an indirect attacker, released algicidal substance which is located in cytoplasm. Interestingly, algicidal activity of KACC10292T was enhanced according to co-cultivation with the host cyanobacteria, suggesting that quantity of algicidal substance released from this bacterium might be increased via interaction with the host cyanobacteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins in Waters)
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