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Toxins, Volume 16, Issue 6 (June 2024) – 38 articles

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17 pages, 549 KiB  
Article
Nanostructured Magnetic Particles for Removing Cyanotoxins: Assessing Effectiveness and Toxicity In Vitro
by Alejandro Cao, Natalia Vilariño, Lisandra de Castro-Alves, Yolanda Piñeiro, José Rivas, Ana M. Botana, Cristina Carrera, María J. Sainz and Luis M. Botana
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060269 - 13 Jun 2024
Viewed by 31
Abstract
The rise in cyanobacterial blooms due to eutrophication and climate change has increased cyanotoxin presence in water. Most current water treatment plants do not effectively remove these toxins, posing a potential risk to public health. This study introduces a water treatment approach using [...] Read more.
The rise in cyanobacterial blooms due to eutrophication and climate change has increased cyanotoxin presence in water. Most current water treatment plants do not effectively remove these toxins, posing a potential risk to public health. This study introduces a water treatment approach using nanostructured beads containing magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) for easy removal from liquid suspension, coated with different adsorbent materials to eliminate cyanotoxins. Thirteen particle types were produced using activated carbon, CMK-3 mesoporous carbon, graphene, chitosan, 2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl (TEMPO)-oxidised cellulose nanofibers (TOCNF), esterified pectin, and calcined lignin as an adsorbent component. The particles’ effectiveness for detoxification of microcystin-LR (MC-LR), cylindrospermopsin (CYN), and anatoxin-A (ATX-A) was assessed in an aqueous solution. Two particle compositions presented the best adsorption characteristics for the most common cyanotoxins. In the conditions tested, mesoporous carbon nanostructured particles, P1-CMK3, provide good removal of MC-LR and Merck-activated carbon nanostructured particles, P9-MAC, can remove ATX-A and CYN with high and fair efficacy, respectively. Additionally, in vitro toxicity of water treated with each particle type was evaluated in cultured cell lines, revealing no alteration of viability in human renal, neuronal, hepatic, and intestinal cells. Although further research is needed to fully characterise this new water treatment approach, it appears to be a safe, practical, and effective method for eliminating cyanotoxins from water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
30 pages, 3531 KiB  
Systematic Review
Machine Learning Applied to the Detection of Mycotoxin in Food: A Systematic Review
by Alan Inglis, Andrew C. Parnell, Natarajan Subramani and Fiona M. Doohan
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 268; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060268 - 12 Jun 2024
Viewed by 148
Abstract
Mycotoxins, toxic secondary metabolites produced by certain fungi, pose significant threats to global food safety and public health. These compounds can contaminate a variety of crops, leading to economic losses and health risks to both humans and animals. Traditional lab analysis methods for [...] Read more.
Mycotoxins, toxic secondary metabolites produced by certain fungi, pose significant threats to global food safety and public health. These compounds can contaminate a variety of crops, leading to economic losses and health risks to both humans and animals. Traditional lab analysis methods for mycotoxin detection can be time-consuming and may not always be suitable for large-scale screenings. However, in recent years, machine learning (ML) methods have gained popularity for use in the detection of mycotoxins and in the food safety industry in general due to their accurate and timely predictions. We provide a systematic review on some of the recent ML applications for detecting/predicting the presence of mycotoxin on a variety of food ingredients, highlighting their advantages, challenges, and potential for future advancements. We address the need for reproducibility and transparency in ML research through open access to data and code. An observation from our findings is the frequent lack of detailed reporting on hyperparameters in many studies and a lack of open source code, which raises concerns about the reproducibility and optimisation of the ML models used. The findings reveal that while the majority of studies predominantly utilised neural networks for mycotoxin detection, there was a notable diversity in the types of neural network architectures employed, with convolutional neural networks being the most popular. Full article
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15 pages, 1992 KiB  
Article
Long-Term Enhancement of Botulinum Toxin Injections for Post-Stroke Spasticity by Use of Stretching Exercises—A Randomized Controlled Trial
by In-Su Hwang, Jin-Whan Ryu, Sol Jin, Soo-A Kim and Min-Su Kim
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060267 - 11 Jun 2024
Viewed by 257
Abstract
Botulinum toxin A (BONT/A) injections play a central role in the treatment of upper limb spasticity in stroke patients. We proposed structured stretching exercises to enhance the effect of post-stroke spasticity relief of the upper limbs following BONT/A injections. A total of 43 [...] Read more.
Botulinum toxin A (BONT/A) injections play a central role in the treatment of upper limb spasticity in stroke patients. We proposed structured stretching exercises to enhance the effect of post-stroke spasticity relief of the upper limbs following BONT/A injections. A total of 43 patients who had a stroke with grade 2 spasticity or higher on the Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS) in their upper-limb muscles were randomly assigned to the intervention (n = 21) or control group (n = 22). The former received structured stretching exercises after their BONT/A injections for 20 min, 5 days per week, for 6 months at a hospital, while the others conducted self-stretching exercises at home. The outcome measures were assessed before the intervention (T0) and after three (T1) and six months (T2). Significantly greater improvements in the MAS scores of the elbows, wrists, and fingers were found in the intervention group’s patients at T1 and T2. The behavioral outcome measures, including shoulder pain, activities of daily living, and quality of life, and our electrophysiological studies also showed a significantly higher enhancement in this patient group. In conclusion, the structured stretching exercises plus BONT/A injections for six months showed a superior effect in relieving post-stroke upper-limb spasticity compared to self-stretching exercises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Botulinum Toxin and Spasticity: Exploring New Horizons)
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36 pages, 4406 KiB  
Review
Update on Non-Interchangeability of Botulinum Neurotoxin Products
by Mitchell F. Brin, Mariana Nelson, Nazanin Ashourian, Amy Brideau-Andersen and John Maltman
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 266; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060266 - 10 Jun 2024
Viewed by 377
Abstract
The growing use of botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) for medical and aesthetic purposes has led to the development and marketing of an increasing number of BoNT products. Given that BoNTs are biological medications, their characteristics are heavily influenced by their manufacturing methods, leading to [...] Read more.
The growing use of botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) for medical and aesthetic purposes has led to the development and marketing of an increasing number of BoNT products. Given that BoNTs are biological medications, their characteristics are heavily influenced by their manufacturing methods, leading to unique products with distinct clinical characteristics. The manufacturing and formulation processes for each BoNT are proprietary, including the potency determination of reference standards and other features of the assays used to measure unit potency. As a result of these differences, units of BoNT products are not interchangeable or convertible using dose ratios. The intrinsic, product-level differences among BoNTs are compounded by differences in the injected tissues, which are innervated by different nerve fiber types (e.g., motor, sensory, and/or autonomic nerves) and require unique dosing and injection sites that are particularly evident when treating complex therapeutic and aesthetic conditions. It is also difficult to compare across studies due to inherent differences in patient populations and trial methods, necessitating attention to study details underlying each outcome reported. Ultimately, each BoNT possesses a unique clinical profile for which unit doses and injection paradigms must be determined individually for each indication. This practice will help minimize unexpected adverse events and maximize efficacy, duration, and patient satisfaction. With this approach, BoNT is poised to continue as a unique tool for achieving individual goals for an increasing number of medical and aesthetic indications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
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14 pages, 305 KiB  
Systematic Review
Mushroom Poisoning-Related Cardiac Toxicity: A Case Report and Systematic Review
by Giuseppe Balice, Maxime Boksebeld, Quentin Barrier, Sara Boccalini, Behrouz Kassai-Koupai, Nathalie Paret and Guillaume Grenet
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 265; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060265 - 10 Jun 2024
Viewed by 204
Abstract
We encountered a case of mushroom intoxication complicated by “toxic-like” myocarditis. Because of the lack of systematized knowledge on this subject, we performed a systematic review of the literature on cardiac toxicity in mushroom poisoning (MP). The aim of this study was to [...] Read more.
We encountered a case of mushroom intoxication complicated by “toxic-like” myocarditis. Because of the lack of systematized knowledge on this subject, we performed a systematic review of the literature on cardiac toxicity in mushroom poisoning (MP). The aim of this study was to identify and describe the severity, the causal relationship, and the mushroom species involved in other reported cardiac events associated with MP. We included 39 studies in our review. We found 106 cases of cardiac events associated with MP, including 18 deaths. A wide variety of cardiac manifestations were reported, ranging from the simple elevation of cardiac enzymes (n = 61) to ventricular tachycardia (n = 14), acute heart failure (n = 18), and myocarditis (n = 7). Causal relationship between cardiac manifestations and mushroom poisoning was assessed for 42 patients, applying the algorithm validated by the French Toxicovigilance Coordination Committee. Twenty-three cases (54.8%) had a “possible” causal relationship, eight cases (19%) a “probable” relationship, and ten cases (23.8%) a “very probable” relationship. Several fungal genera were involved in reported cases, including Amanita but also rarer ones like Russula and Tricholoma. In conclusion, we showed that cases of cardiac toxicity following MP have been documented in the existing literature, and for some of them, we assessed a strong causal relationship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
36 pages, 788 KiB  
Article
Temporal Dynamics and Influential Factors of Taste and Odor Compounds in the Eastern Drinking Water Source of Chaohu Lake, China: A Comparative Analysis of Global Freshwaters
by Lixia Shang, Fan Ke, Xiangen Xu, Muhua Feng and Wenchao Li
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060264 - 9 Jun 2024
Viewed by 221
Abstract
Abstract: The escalating proliferation of cyanobacteria poses significant taste and odor (T/O) challenges, impacting freshwater ecosystems, public health, and water treatment costs. We examined monthly variations in four T/O compounds from September 2011 to August 2012 in Chaohu Lake’s eastern drinking water [...] Read more.
Abstract: The escalating proliferation of cyanobacteria poses significant taste and odor (T/O) challenges, impacting freshwater ecosystems, public health, and water treatment costs. We examined monthly variations in four T/O compounds from September 2011 to August 2012 in Chaohu Lake’s eastern drinking water source (DECL). More importantly, we compared the reported T/O occurrence and the related factors in freshwater bodies worldwide. The assessment of T/O issues indicated a severe and widespread problem, with many cases surpassing odor threshold values. Remarkably, China reported the highest frequency and severity of odor-related problems. A temporal analysis revealed variations in odor occurrences within the same water body across different years, emphasizing the need to consider high values in all seasons for water safety. Globally, T/O issues were widespread, demanding attention to variations within the same water body and across different layers. Algae were crucial contributors to odor compounds, necessitating targeted interventions due to diverse odorant sources and properties. A correlation analysis alone lacked definitive answers, emphasizing the essential role of further validation, such as algae isolation. Nutrients are likely to have influenced the T/O, as GSM and MIB correlated positively with nitrate and ammonia nitrogen in DECL, resulting in proposed control recommendations. This study offers recommendations for freshwater ecosystem management and serves as a foundation for future research and management strategies to address T/O challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Monitoring and Management of Algal and Cyanobacterial Blooms)
18 pages, 7464 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Taxonomic and Functional Dynamics Associated with Harmful Algal Bloom Formation in Recreational Water Ecosystems
by Faizan Saleem, Rachelle Atrache, Jennifer L. Jiang, Kevin L. Tran, Enze Li, Athanasios Paschos, Thomas A. Edge and Herb E. Schellhorn
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060263 - 7 Jun 2024
Viewed by 259
Abstract
Harmful algal bloom (HAB) formation leads to the eutrophication of water ecosystems and may render recreational lakes unsuitable for human use. We evaluated the applicability and comparison of metabarcoding, metagenomics, qPCR, and ELISA-based methods for cyanobacteria/cyanotoxin detection in bloom and non-bloom sites for [...] Read more.
Harmful algal bloom (HAB) formation leads to the eutrophication of water ecosystems and may render recreational lakes unsuitable for human use. We evaluated the applicability and comparison of metabarcoding, metagenomics, qPCR, and ELISA-based methods for cyanobacteria/cyanotoxin detection in bloom and non-bloom sites for the Great Lakes region. DNA sequencing-based methods robustly identified differences between bloom and non-bloom samples (e.g., the relative prominence of Anabaena and Planktothrix). Shotgun sequencing strategies also identified the enrichment of metabolic genes typical of cyanobacteria in bloom samples, though toxin genes were not detected, suggesting deeper sequencing or PCR methods may be needed to detect low-abundance toxin genes. PCR and ELISA indicated microcystin levels and microcystin gene copies were significantly more abundant in bloom sites. However, not all bloom samples were positive for microcystin, possibly due to bloom development by non-toxin-producing species. Additionally, microcystin levels were significantly correlated (positively) with microcystin gene copy number but not with total cyanobacterial 16S gene copies. In summary, next-generation sequencing-based methods can identify specific taxonomic and functional targets, which can be used for absolute quantification methods (qPCR and ELISA) to augment conventional water monitoring strategies. Full article
21 pages, 3255 KiB  
Review
Specific Amino Acid Residues in the Three Loops of Snake Cytotoxins Determine Their Membrane Activity and Provide a Rationale for a New Classification of These Toxins
by Peter V. Dubovskii and Yuri N. Utkin
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 262; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060262 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 349
Abstract
Cytotoxins (CTs) are three-finger membrane-active toxins present mainly in cobra venom. Our analysis of the available CT amino acid sequences, literature data on their membrane activity, and conformational equilibria in aqueous solution and detergent micelles allowed us to identify specific amino acid residues [...] Read more.
Cytotoxins (CTs) are three-finger membrane-active toxins present mainly in cobra venom. Our analysis of the available CT amino acid sequences, literature data on their membrane activity, and conformational equilibria in aqueous solution and detergent micelles allowed us to identify specific amino acid residues which interfere with CT incorporation into membranes. They include Pro9, Ser28, and Asn/Asp45 within the N-terminal, central, and C-terminal loops, respectively. There is a hierarchy in the effect of these residues on membrane activity: Pro9 > Ser28 > Asn/Asp45. Taking into account all the possible combinations of special residues, we propose to divide CTs into eight groups. Group 1 includes toxins containing all of the above residues. Their representatives demonstrated the lowest membrane activity. Group 8 combines CTs that lack these residues. For the toxins from this group, the greatest membrane activity was observed. We predict that when solely membrane activity determines the cytotoxic effects, the activity of CTs from a group with a higher number should exceed that of CTs from a group with a lower number. This classification is supported by the available data on the cytotoxicity and membranotropic properties of CTs. We hypothesize that the special amino acid residues within the loops of the CT molecule may indicate their involvement in the interaction with non-lipid targets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxins: 15th Anniversary)
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29 pages, 703 KiB  
Review
Embracing the Versatility of Botulinum Neurotoxins in Conventional and New Therapeutic Applications
by Christine Rasetti-Escargueil and Stefano Palea
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 261; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060261 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 383
Abstract
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) have been used for almost half a century in the treatment of excessive muscle contractility. BoNTs are routinely used to treat movement disorders such as cervical dystonia, spastic conditions, blepharospasm, and hyperhidrosis, as well as for cosmetic purposes. In addition [...] Read more.
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) have been used for almost half a century in the treatment of excessive muscle contractility. BoNTs are routinely used to treat movement disorders such as cervical dystonia, spastic conditions, blepharospasm, and hyperhidrosis, as well as for cosmetic purposes. In addition to the conventional indications, the use of BoNTs to reduce pain has gained increased recognition, giving rise to an increasing number of indications in disorders associated with chronic pain. Furthermore, BoNT-derived formulations are benefiting a much wider range of patients suffering from overactive bladder, erectile dysfunction, arthropathy, neuropathic pain, and cancer. BoNTs are categorised into seven toxinotypes, two of which are in clinical use, and each toxinotype is divided into multiple subtypes. With the development of bioinformatic tools, new BoNT-like toxins have been identified in non-Clostridial organisms. In addition to the expanding indications of existing formulations, the rich variety of toxinotypes or subtypes in the wild-type BoNTs associated with new BoNT-like toxins expand the BoNT superfamily, forming the basis on which to develop new BoNT-based therapeutics as well as research tools. An overview of the diversity of the BoNT family along with their conventional therapeutic uses is presented in this review followed by the engineering and formulation opportunities opening avenues in therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clinical Applications and Diversity of Botulinum Toxins)
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10 pages, 6594 KiB  
Communication
Tetrodotoxin Derivatization with a Newly Designed Boron Reagent Leads to Conventional Reversed-Phase Liquid Chromatography
by Shimba Kawasue, Kyoko Kuniyoshi, Masashi Uema and Naomasa Oshiro
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 260; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060260 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 278
Abstract
Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is a representative natural toxin causing pufferfish food poisoning, which is especially prominent in East and Southeast Asia, including Japan. TTX has been analyzed through post-column derivatization high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), ion-pair LC-MS(/MS), and hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC)-MS(/MS) as alternatives [...] Read more.
Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is a representative natural toxin causing pufferfish food poisoning, which is especially prominent in East and Southeast Asia, including Japan. TTX has been analyzed through post-column derivatization high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), ion-pair LC-MS(/MS), and hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC)-MS(/MS) as alternatives to the mouse bioassay method. However, post-column derivatization requires a system for online derivatization reactions, and with the ion-pair LC-MS approach, it is difficult to remove residual ion-pair reagents remaining in the equipment. Moreover, HILIC-MS provides poor separation compared to reversed-phase (RP) HPLC and requires a long time to reach equilibration. Therefore, we decided to develop a TTX analytical method using pre-column derivatization and RP HPLC for the rapid assessment of outbreak samples, including food remnants. In this study, we focused on the vic-diol moiety of TTX and designed a new derivatization reagent coded as NBD-H-DAB. This NBD-H-DAB was synthesized from 4-hydrazino-7-nitro-2,1,3-benzoxadiazole (NBD-H) and 3-fluoro-2-formylphenylboronic acid (FFPBA) with a simple reaction system and rapidly converted to its boronate form, coded NBD-H-PBA, in an aqueous reaction solution. The NBD-H-PBA demonstrated appropriate hydrophobicity to be retained on the RP analytical column and successfully detected with a UV spectrometer. It was easily reacted with the vic-diol moiety of TTX (C6 and C11) to synthesized a boronic ester. The derivatized TTX could be detected using the RP HPLC-UV, and the limit of detection in the fish flesh samples was 0.06 mg/kg. This novel pre-column derivatization of TTX with NBD-H-PBA proves capable for the analysis of TTX. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analytical Chemistry Techniques in Toxin Detection)
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15 pages, 1337 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Impact of Efavirenz on Aflatoxin B1 Metabolism: Insights from a Physiologically Based Pharmacokinetic Model and a Human Liver Microsome Study
by Orphélie Lootens, Marthe De Boevre, Elke Gasthuys, Sarah De Saeger, Jan Van Bocxlaer and An Vermeulen
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060259 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 532
Abstract
Physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models were utilized to investigate potential interactions between aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) and efavirenz (EFV), a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor drug and inducer of several CYP enzymes, including CYP3A4. PBPK simulations were conducted in a North European Caucasian and Black [...] Read more.
Physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models were utilized to investigate potential interactions between aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) and efavirenz (EFV), a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor drug and inducer of several CYP enzymes, including CYP3A4. PBPK simulations were conducted in a North European Caucasian and Black South African population, considering different dosing scenarios. The simulations predicted the impact of EFV on AFB1 metabolism via CYP3A4 and CYP1A2. In vitro experiments using human liver microsomes (HLM) were performed to verify the PBPK predictions for both single- and multiple-dose exposures to EFV. Results showed no significant difference in the formation of AFB1 metabolites when combined with EFV (0.15 µM) compared to AFB1 alone. However, exposure to 5 µM of EFV, mimicking chronic exposure, resulted in increased CYP3A4 activity, affecting metabolite formation. While co-incubation with EFV reduced the formation of certain AFB1 metabolites, other outcomes varied and could not be fully attributed to CYP3A4 induction. Overall, this study provides evidence that EFV, and potentially other CYP1A2/CYP3A4 perpetrators, can impact AFB1 metabolism, leading to altered exposure to toxic metabolites. The results emphasize the importance of considering drug interactions when assessing the risks associated with mycotoxin exposure in individuals undergoing HIV therapy in a European and African context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxins: 15th Anniversary)
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10 pages, 698 KiB  
Communication
Role of Diagnostic Nerve Blocks in the Goal-Oriented Treatment of Spasticity with Botulinum Toxin Type A: A Case–Control Study
by Mirko Filippetti, Stefano Tamburin, Rita Di Censo, Martina Adamo, Elisa Manera, Jessica Ingrà, Elisa Mantovani, Salvatore Facciorusso, Marco Battaglia, Alessio Baricich, Andrea Santamato, Nicola Smania and Alessandro Picelli
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060258 - 3 Jun 2024
Viewed by 466
Abstract
The goal-setting process is pivotal in managing patients with disabling spasticity. This case–control study assessed the role of diagnostic nerve blocks in guiding the goal-setting process within goal-targeted treatment of spasticity with botulinum neurotoxin-A. In this case–control study, patients with disabling spasticity underwent [...] Read more.
The goal-setting process is pivotal in managing patients with disabling spasticity. This case–control study assessed the role of diagnostic nerve blocks in guiding the goal-setting process within goal-targeted treatment of spasticity with botulinum neurotoxin-A. In this case–control study, patients with disabling spasticity underwent either a goal-setting process based on the patient’s needs and clinical evaluation (control group) or additional diagnostic nerve block procedures (case group). All enrolled patients underwent a focal treatment with botulinum neurotoxin-A injection and a 1-month follow-up evaluation during which goal achievement was quantified using the goal attainment scaling-light score system. Data showed a higher goal achievement rate in the case group (70%) than in the control group (40%). In conclusion, diagnostic nerve blocks may help guide the goal-setting process within goal-targeted treatment of spasticity with botulinum neurotoxin-A towards more realistic and achievable goals, thereby improving the outcomes of botulinum neurotoxin-A injection. Future studies should better explore the role of diagnostic nerve blocks to further personalize botulinum neurotoxin-A according to individual patients’ preferences and requirements. Full article
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19 pages, 3821 KiB  
Article
Unveiling Tst3, a Multi-Target Gating Modifier Scorpion α Toxin from Tityus stigmurus Venom of Northeast Brazil: Evaluation and Comparison with Well-Studied Ts3 Toxin of Tityus serrulatus
by Diogo Vieira Tibery, João Antonio Alves Nunes, Daniel Oliveira da Mata, Luis Felipe Santos Menezes, Adolfo Carlos Barros de Souza, Matheus de Freitas Fernandes-Pedrosa, Werner Treptow and Elisabeth Ferroni Schwartz
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060257 - 3 Jun 2024
Viewed by 237
Abstract
Studies on the interaction sites of peptide toxins and ion channels typically involve site-directed mutations in toxins. However, natural mutant toxins exist among them, offering insights into how the evolutionary process has conserved crucial sequences for activities and molecular target selection. In this [...] Read more.
Studies on the interaction sites of peptide toxins and ion channels typically involve site-directed mutations in toxins. However, natural mutant toxins exist among them, offering insights into how the evolutionary process has conserved crucial sequences for activities and molecular target selection. In this study, we present a comparative investigation using electrophysiological approaches and computational analysis between two alpha toxins from evolutionarily close scorpion species of the genus Tityus, namely, Tst3 and Ts3 from T. stigmurus and T. serrulatus, respectively. These toxins exhibit three natural substitutions near the C-terminal region, which is directly involved in the interaction between alpha toxins and Nav channels. Additionally, we characterized the activity of the Tst3 toxin on Nav1.1-Nav1.7 channels. The three natural changes between the toxins did not alter sensitivity to Nav1.4, maintaining similar intensities regarding their ability to alter opening probabilities, delay fast inactivation, and induce persistent currents. Computational analysis demonstrated a preference for the down conformation of VSD4 and a shift in the conformational equilibrium towards this state. This illustrates that the sequence of these toxins retained the necessary information, even with alterations in the interaction site region. Through electrophysiological and computational analyses, screening of the Tst3 toxin on sodium isoform revealed its classification as a classic α-NaTx with a broad spectrum of activity. It effectively delays fast inactivation across all tested isoforms. Structural analysis of molecular energetics at the interface of the VSD4-Tst3 complex further confirmed this effect. Full article
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22 pages, 4089 KiB  
Article
Identification of a Novel Aflatoxin B1-Degrading Strain, Bacillus halotolerans DDC-4, and Its Response Mechanisms to Aflatoxin B1
by Jia Guo, Hanlu Zhang, Yixuan Zhao, Xiaoxu Hao, Yu Liu, Suhong Li and Rina Wu
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060256 - 31 May 2024
Viewed by 257
Abstract
Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) contamination is a food safety issue threatening human health globally. Biodegradation is an effective method for overcoming this problem, and many microorganisms have been identified as AFB1-degrading strains. However, the response mechanisms of these microbes [...] Read more.
Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) contamination is a food safety issue threatening human health globally. Biodegradation is an effective method for overcoming this problem, and many microorganisms have been identified as AFB1-degrading strains. However, the response mechanisms of these microbes to AFB1 remain unclear. More degrading enzymes, especially of new types, need to be discovered. In this study, a novel AFB1-degrading strain, DDC-4, was isolated using coumarin as the sole carbon source. This strain was identified as Bacillus halotolerans through physiological, biochemical, and molecular methods. The strain’s degradation activity was predominantly attributable to thermostable extracellular proteins (degradation rate remained approximately 80% at 90 °C) and was augmented by Cu2+ (95.45% AFB1 was degraded at 48 h). Alpha/beta hydrolase (arylesterase) was selected as candidate AFB1-degrading enzymes for the first time as a gene encoding this enzyme was highly expressed in the presence of AFB1. Moreover, AFB1 inhibited many genes involved in the nucleotide synthesis of strain DDC-4, which is possibly the partial molecular mechanism of AFB1’s toxicity to microorganisms. To survive under this stress, sporulation-related genes were induced in the strain. Altogether, our study identified a novel AFB1-degrading strain and explained its response mechanisms to AFB1, thereby providing new insights for AFB1 biodegradation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
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24 pages, 7201 KiB  
Review
A Guide to the Clinical Management of Vipera Snakebite in Italy
by Matteo Riccardo Di Nicola, Marta Crevani, Ignazio Avella, Anna Cerullo, Jean-Lou C. M. Dorne, Giovanni Paolino and Caterina Zattera
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060255 - 31 May 2024
Viewed by 511
Abstract
The genus Vipera encompasses most species of medically significant venomous snakes of Europe, with Italy harbouring four of them. Envenomation by European vipers can result in severe consequences, but underreporting and the absence of standardised clinical protocols hinder effective snakebite management. This study [...] Read more.
The genus Vipera encompasses most species of medically significant venomous snakes of Europe, with Italy harbouring four of them. Envenomation by European vipers can result in severe consequences, but underreporting and the absence of standardised clinical protocols hinder effective snakebite management. This study provides an updated, detailed set of guidelines for the management and treatment of Vipera snakebite tailored for Italian clinicians. It includes taxonomic keys for snake identification, insights into viper venom composition, and recommendations for clinical management. Emphasis is placed on quick and reliable identification of medically relevant snake species, along with appropriate first aid measures. Criteria for antivenom administration are outlined, as well as indications on managing potential side effects. While the protocol is specific to Italy, its methodology can potentially be adapted for other European countries, depending on local resources. The promotion of comprehensive data collection and collaboration among Poison Control Centres is advocated to optimise envenomation management protocols and improve the reporting of epidemiological data concerning snakebite at the country level. Full article
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17 pages, 889 KiB  
Review
Indoxyl Sulfate-Induced Macrophage Toxicity and Therapeutic Strategies in Uremic Atherosclerosis
by Takuya Wakamatsu, Suguru Yamamoto, Shiori Yoshida and Ichiei Narita
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 254; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060254 - 31 May 2024
Viewed by 188
Abstract
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) frequently occurs in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), particularly those undergoing dialysis. The mechanisms behind this may be related to traditional risk factors and CKD-specific factors that accelerate atherosclerosis and vascular calcification in CKD patients. The accumulation of uremic [...] Read more.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) frequently occurs in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), particularly those undergoing dialysis. The mechanisms behind this may be related to traditional risk factors and CKD-specific factors that accelerate atherosclerosis and vascular calcification in CKD patients. The accumulation of uremic toxins is a significant factor in CKD-related systemic disorders. Basic research suggests that indoxyl sulfate (IS), a small protein-bound uremic toxin, is associated with macrophage dysfunctions, including increased oxidative stress, exacerbation of chronic inflammation, and abnormalities in lipid metabolism. Strategies to mitigate the toxicity of IS include optimizing gut microbiota, intervening against the abnormality of intracellular signal transduction, and using blood purification therapy with higher efficiency. Further research is needed to examine whether lowering protein-bound uremic toxins through intervention leads to a reduction in CVD in patients with CKD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Uremic Toxins Lowering Strategies in Chronic Kidney Disease)
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20 pages, 1362 KiB  
Article
Actinobacteria as Promising Biocontrol Agents for In Vitro and In Planta Degradation and Detoxification of Zearalenone
by Larissa De Troyer, Noémie De Zutter, Sarah De Saeger, Frédéric Dumoulin, Siska Croubels, Siegrid De Baere, Leen De Gelder and Kris Audenaert
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060253 - 28 May 2024
Viewed by 382
Abstract
Zearalenone (ZEN) is a prevalent mycotoxin found in grains and grain-derived products, inducing adverse health effects in both animals and humans. The in-field application of microorganisms to degrade and detoxify ZEN is a promising strategy to enhance the safety of food and feed. [...] Read more.
Zearalenone (ZEN) is a prevalent mycotoxin found in grains and grain-derived products, inducing adverse health effects in both animals and humans. The in-field application of microorganisms to degrade and detoxify ZEN is a promising strategy to enhance the safety of food and feed. In this study, we investigated the potential of three actinobacterial strains to degrade and detoxify ZEN in vitro and in planta on wheat ears. The residual ZEN concentration and toxicity in the samples were analysed with UHPLC-MS/MS and a bioluminescence BLYES assay, respectively. Streptomyces rimosus subsp. rimosus LMG19352 could completely degrade and detoxify 5 mg/L ZEN in LB broth within 24 h, along with significant reductions in ZEN concentration both in a minimal medium (MM) and on wheat ears. Additionally, it was the only strain that showed a significant colonisation of these ears. Rhodococcus sp. R25614 exhibited partial but significant degradation in LB broth and MM, whereas Streptomyces sp. LMG16995 degraded and detoxified ZEN in LB broth after 72 h by 39% and 33%, respectively. Although all three actinobacterial strains demonstrated the metabolic capability to degrade and detoxify ZEN in vitro, only S. rimosus subsp. rimosus LMG19352 showed promising potential to mitigate ZEN in planta. This distinction underscores the importance of incorporating in planta screening assays for assessing the potential of mycotoxin-biotransforming microorganisms as biocontrol agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitigation and Detoxification Strategies of Mycotoxins)
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13 pages, 1495 KiB  
Article
Concomitant Botulinum Toxin Injections for Neurogenic Detrusor Overactivity and Spasticity—A Retrospective Analysis of Practice and Safety
by Arnaud Leilaz, Charles Joussain, Pierre Denys, Djamel Bensmail and Jonathan Levy
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060252 - 28 May 2024
Viewed by 311
Abstract
As multiple indications for botulinum toxin injections (BTIs) can coexist for neurological patients, there are to date no description of concomitant injections (CIs) to treat both spasticity and neurogenic detrusor overactivity incontinence (NDOI) in patients with spinal cord injuries (SCIs) and multiple sclerosis [...] Read more.
As multiple indications for botulinum toxin injections (BTIs) can coexist for neurological patients, there are to date no description of concomitant injections (CIs) to treat both spasticity and neurogenic detrusor overactivity incontinence (NDOI) in patients with spinal cord injuries (SCIs) and multiple sclerosis (MS). We therefore identified patients followed at our institution by health data hub digging, using a specific procedure coding system in use in France, who have been treated at least once with detrusor and skeletal muscle BTIs within the same 1-month period, over the past 5 years (2017–2021). We analyzed 72 patients representing 319 CIs. Fifty (69%) were male, and the patients were mostly SCI (76%) and MS (18%) patients and were treated by a mean number of CIs of 4.4 ± 3.6 [1–14]. The mean cumulative dose was 442.1 ± 98.8 U, and 95% of CIs were performed within a 72 h timeframe. Among all CIs, five patients had symptoms evocative of distant spread but only one had a confirmed pathological jitter in single-fiber EMG. Eleven discontinued CIs for surgical alternatives: enterocystoplasty (five), tenotomy (three), intrathecal baclofen (two) and neurotomy (one). Concomitant BTIs for treating both spasticity and NDOI at the same time appeared safe when performed within a short delay and in compliance with actual knowledge for maximum doses. Full article
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13 pages, 1176 KiB  
Article
Frequent Dietary Multi-Mycotoxin Exposure in UK Children and Its Association with Dietary Intake
by Praosiri Charusalaipong, Margaret-Jane Gordon, Louise Cantlay, Nicosha De Souza, Graham W. Horgan, Ruth Bates and Silvia W. Gratz
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 251; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060251 - 28 May 2024
Viewed by 405
Abstract
Mycotoxins are potent fungal toxins that frequently contaminate agricultural crops and foods. Mycotoxin exposure is frequently reported in humans, and children are known to be particularly at risk of exceeding safe levels of exposure. Urinary biomonitoring is used to assess overall dietary exposure [...] Read more.
Mycotoxins are potent fungal toxins that frequently contaminate agricultural crops and foods. Mycotoxin exposure is frequently reported in humans, and children are known to be particularly at risk of exceeding safe levels of exposure. Urinary biomonitoring is used to assess overall dietary exposure to multiple mycotoxins. This study aims to quantify multi-mycotoxin exposure in UK children and to identify major food groups contributing to exposure. Four repeat urine samples were collected from 29 children (13 boys and 16 girls, aged 2.4–6.8 years), and food diaries were recorded to assess their exposure to eleven mycotoxins. Urine samples (n = 114) were hydrolysed with β-glucuronidase, enriched through immunoaffinity columns and analysed by LC-MS/MS for deoxynivalenol (DON), nivalenol (NIV), T-2/HT-2 toxins, zearalenone (ZEN), ochratoxin A (OTA) and aflatoxins. Food diaries were analysed using WinDiet software, and the daily intake of high-risk foods for mycotoxin contamination summarised. The most prevalent mycotoxins found in urine samples were DON (95.6% of all samples), OTA (88.6%), HT-2 toxin (53.5%), ZEN (48.2%) and NIV (26.3%). Intake of total cereal-based foods was strongly positively associated with urinary levels of DON and T-2/HT-2 and oat intake with urinary T-2/HT-2. Average daily mycotoxin excretion ranged from 12.10 µg/d (DON) to 0.03 µg/d (OTA), and co-exposure to three or more mycotoxins was found in 66% of samples. Comparing mycotoxin intake estimates to tolerable daily intakes (TDI) demonstrates frequent TDI exceedances (DON 34.2% of all samples, T-2/HT-2 14.9%, NIV 4.4% and ZEN 5.2%). OTA was frequently detected at low levels. When mean daily OTA intake was compared to the reference value for non-neoplastic lesions, the resulting Margin of Exposure (MoE) of 65 was narrow, indicating a health concern. In conclusion, this study demonstrates frequent exposure of UK children to multiple mycotoxins at levels high enough to pose a health concern if exposure is continuous. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Biomonitoring and Risk Assessment of Mycotoxins)
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1 pages, 160 KiB  
Correction
Correction: de Oliveira et al. Viper Venom Phospholipase A2 Database: The Structural and Functional Anatomy of a Primary Toxin in Envenomation. Toxins 2024, 16, 71
by Ana L. Novo de Oliveira, Miguel T. Lacerda, Maria J. Ramos and Pedro A. Fernandes
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 250; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060250 - 28 May 2024
Viewed by 209
Abstract
In the published publication [...] Full article
22 pages, 2896 KiB  
Review
Application of Biosensors for the Detection of Mycotoxins for the Improvement of Food Safety
by Rafał Szelenberger, Natalia Cichoń, Wojciech Zajaczkowski and Michal Bijak
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 249; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060249 - 27 May 2024
Viewed by 331
Abstract
Mycotoxins, secondary metabolites synthesized by various filamentous fungi genera such as Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium, Claviceps, and Alternaria, are potent toxic compounds. Their production is contingent upon specific environmental conditions during fungal growth. Arising as byproducts of fungal metabolic [...] Read more.
Mycotoxins, secondary metabolites synthesized by various filamentous fungi genera such as Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium, Claviceps, and Alternaria, are potent toxic compounds. Their production is contingent upon specific environmental conditions during fungal growth. Arising as byproducts of fungal metabolic processes, mycotoxins exhibit significant toxicity, posing risks of acute or chronic health complications. Recognized as highly hazardous food contaminants, mycotoxins present a pervasive threat throughout the agricultural and food processing continuum, from plant cultivation to post-harvest stages. The imperative to adhere to principles of good agricultural and industrial practice is underscored to mitigate the risk of mycotoxin contamination in food production. In the domain of food safety, the rapid and efficient detection of mycotoxins holds paramount significance. This paper delineates conventional and commercial methodologies for mycotoxin detection in ensuring food safety, encompassing techniques like liquid chromatography, immunoassays, and test strips, with a significant emphasis on the role of electrochemiluminescence (ECL) biosensors, which are known for their high sensitivity and specificity. These are categorized into antibody-, and aptamer-based, as well as molecular imprinting methods. This paper examines the latest advancements in biosensors for mycotoxin testing, with a particular focus on their amplification strategies and operating mechanisms. Full article
21 pages, 4080 KiB  
Article
α-Latrotoxin Tetramers Spontaneously Form Two-Dimensional Crystals in Solution and Coordinated Multi-Pore Assemblies in Biological Membranes
by Alexis Rohou, Edward P. Morris, Julia Makarova, Alexander G. Tonevitsky and Yuri A. Ushkaryov
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 248; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060248 - 27 May 2024
Viewed by 352
Abstract
α-Latrotoxin (α-LTX) was found to form two-dimensional (2D) monolayer arrays in solution at relatively low concentrations (0.1 mg/mL), with the toxin tetramer constituting a unit cell. The crystals were imaged using cryogenic electron microscopy (cryoEM), and image analysis yielded a ~12 Å projection [...] Read more.
α-Latrotoxin (α-LTX) was found to form two-dimensional (2D) monolayer arrays in solution at relatively low concentrations (0.1 mg/mL), with the toxin tetramer constituting a unit cell. The crystals were imaged using cryogenic electron microscopy (cryoEM), and image analysis yielded a ~12 Å projection map. At this resolution, no major conformational changes between the crystalline and solution states of α-LTX tetramers were observed. Electrophysiological studies showed that, under the conditions of crystallization, α-LTX simultaneously formed multiple channels in biological membranes that displayed coordinated gating. Two types of channels with conductance levels of 120 and 208 pS were identified. Furthermore, we observed two distinct tetramer conformations of tetramers both when observed as monodisperse single particles and within the 2D crystals, with pore diameters of 11 and 13.5 Å, suggestive of a flickering pore in the middle of the tetramer, which may correspond to the two states of toxin channels with different conductance levels. We discuss the structural changes that occur in α-LTX tetramers in solution and propose a mechanism of α-LTX insertion into the membrane. The propensity of α-LTX tetramers to form 2D crystals may explain many features of α-LTX toxicology and suggest that other pore-forming toxins may also form arrays of channels to exert maximal toxic effect. Full article
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18 pages, 6729 KiB  
Article
Effects of Scallop Mantle Toxin on Intestinal Microflora and Intestinal Barrier Function in Mice
by Xiong Geng, Ran Lin, Yasushi Hasegawa, Luomeng Chao, Huayan Shang, Jingjing Yang, Weina Tian, Wenting Ma, Miaomiao Zhuang and Jianrong Li
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060247 - 27 May 2024
Viewed by 411
Abstract
Previous studies have shown that feeding mice with food containing mantle tissue from Japanese scallops results in aggravated liver and kidney damage, ultimately resulting in mortality within weeks. The aim of this study is to evaluate the toxicity of scallop mantle in China’s [...] Read more.
Previous studies have shown that feeding mice with food containing mantle tissue from Japanese scallops results in aggravated liver and kidney damage, ultimately resulting in mortality within weeks. The aim of this study is to evaluate the toxicity of scallop mantle in China’s coastal areas and explore the impact of scallop mantle toxins (SMT) on intestinal barrier integrity and gut microbiota in mice. The Illumina MiSeq sequencing of V3-V4 hypervariable regions of 16S ribosomal RNA was employed to study the alterations in gut microbiota in the feces of SMT mice. The results showed that intestinal flora abundance and diversity in the SMT group were decreased. Compared with the control group, significant increases were observed in serum indexes related to liver, intestine, inflammation, and kidney functions among SMT-exposed mice. Accompanied by varying degrees of tissue damage observed within these organs, the beneficial bacteria of Muribaculaceae and Marinifilaceae significantly reduced, while the harmful bacteria of Enterobacteriaceae and Helicobacter were significantly increased. Taken together, this article elucidates the inflammation and glucose metabolism disorder caused by scallop mantle toxin in mice from the angle of gut microbiota and metabolism. SMT can destroy the equilibrium of intestinal flora and damage the intestinal mucosal barrier, which leads to glucose metabolism disorder and intestinal dysfunction and may ultimately bring about systemic toxicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
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14 pages, 1842 KiB  
Article
Retrospective Evaluation of Clinical and Clinicopathologic Findings, Case Management, and Outcome for Dogs and Cats Exposed to Micrurus fulvius (Eastern Coral Snake): 92 Cases (2021–2022)
by Jordan M. Sullivan, Taelor L. Aasen, Corey J. Fisher and Michael Schaer
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 246; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060246 - 27 May 2024
Viewed by 394
Abstract
This retrospective, observational study describes the clinical findings, case management trends, and outcomes of 83 dogs and nine cats exposed to eastern coral snakes in a university teaching hospital setting. The medical records of dogs and cats that received antivenom following coral snake [...] Read more.
This retrospective, observational study describes the clinical findings, case management trends, and outcomes of 83 dogs and nine cats exposed to eastern coral snakes in a university teaching hospital setting. The medical records of dogs and cats that received antivenom following coral snake exposure were reviewed. Data collected included signalment, time to antivenom administration, physical and laboratory characteristics at presentation, clinical course during hospitalization, length of hospitalization, and survival to discharge. The mean time from presentation to coral snake antivenom administration was 2.26 ± 1.46 h. Excluding cases where the owner declined in-hospital care, the mean hospitalization time for dogs and cats was 50.8 h and 34 h, respectively. The mean number of antivenom vials was 1.29 (1–4). Gastrointestinal signs (vomiting and ptyalism) occurred in 42.2% (35/83) of dogs and 33.3% (3/9) of cats. Peripheral neurologic system deficits (ataxia, paresis to plegia, absent reflexes, and hypoventilation) were noted in 19.6% (18/92) of dogs and cats. Hemolysis was also common in 37.9% (25/66) of dogs but was not observed in cats. Mechanical ventilation (MV) was indicated in 12% (10/83) of dogs but no cats. Acute kidney injury (AKI), while rare, was a common cause of euthanasia at 20% (2/5) and was the most common complication during MV at 44.4% (4/9). Pigmenturia/hemolysis occurred in 88.9% (8/9) of MV cases and in all cases with AKI. Despite delays in antivenom administration by several hours, dogs and cats with coral snake exposure have low mortality rates (6% of dogs (5/83) and 0% of cats). Gastrointestinal signs were common but were not predictive of progression to neurological signs. Thus, differentiating between coral snake exposure and envenomation before the onset of neurological signs remains challenging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pre-clinical and Clinical Management of Snakebite Envenomation)
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18 pages, 633 KiB  
Review
Challenges of Diphtheria Toxin Detection
by Marta Prygiel, Ewa Mosiej, Maciej Polak, Katarzyna Krysztopa-Grzybowska, Karol Wdowiak, Kamila Formińska and Aleksandra A. Zasada
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060245 - 26 May 2024
Viewed by 575
Abstract
Diphtheria toxin (DT) is the main virulence factor of Corynebacterium diphtheriae, C. ulcerans and C. pseudotuberculosis. Moreover, new Corynebacterium species with the potential to produce diphtheria toxin have also been described. Therefore, the detection of the toxin is the most important test in [...] Read more.
Diphtheria toxin (DT) is the main virulence factor of Corynebacterium diphtheriae, C. ulcerans and C. pseudotuberculosis. Moreover, new Corynebacterium species with the potential to produce diphtheria toxin have also been described. Therefore, the detection of the toxin is the most important test in the microbiological diagnosis of diphtheria and other corynebacteria infections. Since the first demonstration in 1888 that DT is a major virulence factor of C. diphtheriae, responsible for the systemic manifestation of the disease, various methods for DT detection have been developed, but the diagnostic usefulness of most of them has not been confirmed on a sufficiently large group of samples. Despite substantial progress in the science and diagnostics of infectious diseases, the Elek test is still the basic recommended diagnostic test for DT detection. The challenge here is the poor availability of an antitoxin and declining experience even in reference laboratories due to the low prevalence of diphtheria in developed countries. However, recent and very promising assays have been developed with the potential for use as rapid point-of-care testing (POCT), such as ICS and LFIA for toxin detection, LAMP for tox gene detection, and biosensors for both. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multi Methods for Detecting Natural Toxins)
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23 pages, 2756 KiB  
Review
Progress on Electrochemical Biomimetic Nanosensors for the Detection and Monitoring of Mycotoxins and Pesticides
by Kavitha Lakavath, Chandan Kafley, Anjana Sajeevan, Soumyajit Jana, Jean Louis Marty and Yugender Goud Kotagiri
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060244 - 26 May 2024
Viewed by 327
Abstract
Monitoring agricultural toxins such as mycotoxins is crucial for a healthy society. High concentrations of these toxins lead to the cause of several chronic diseases; therefore, developing analytical systems for detecting/monitoring agricultural toxins is essential. These toxins are found in crops such as [...] Read more.
Monitoring agricultural toxins such as mycotoxins is crucial for a healthy society. High concentrations of these toxins lead to the cause of several chronic diseases; therefore, developing analytical systems for detecting/monitoring agricultural toxins is essential. These toxins are found in crops such as vegetables, fruits, food, and beverage products. Currently, screening of these toxins is mostly performed with sophisticated instrumentation such as chromatography and spectroscopy techniques. However, these techniques are very expensive and require extensive maintenance, and their availability is limited to metro cities only. Alternatively, electrochemical biomimetic sensing methodologies have progressed hugely during the last decade due to their unique advantages like point-of-care sensing, miniaturized instrumentations, and mobile/personalized monitoring systems. Specifically, affinity-based sensing strategies including immunosensors, aptasensors, and molecular imprinted polymers offer tremendous sensitivity, selectivity, and stability to the sensing system. The current review discusses the principal mechanisms and the recent developments in affinity-based sensing methodologies for the detection and continuous monitoring of mycotoxins and pesticides. The core discussion has mainly focused on the fabrication protocols, advantages, and disadvantages of affinity-based sensing systems and different exploited electrochemical transduction techniques. Full article
29 pages, 8762 KiB  
Article
Glycan Profile and Sequence Variants of Certified Ricin Reference Material and Other Ricin Samples Yield Unique Molecular Signature Features
by Roland Josuran, Andreas Wenger, Christian Müller, Bettina Kampa, Sylvia Worbs, Brigitte G. Dorner and Sabina Gerber
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060243 - 26 May 2024
Viewed by 360
Abstract
A certified reference material of ricin (CRM-LS-1) was produced by the EuroBioTox consortium to standardise the analysis of this biotoxin. This study established the N-glycan structures and proportions including their loci and occupancy of ricin CRM-LS-1. The glycan profile was compared with [...] Read more.
A certified reference material of ricin (CRM-LS-1) was produced by the EuroBioTox consortium to standardise the analysis of this biotoxin. This study established the N-glycan structures and proportions including their loci and occupancy of ricin CRM-LS-1. The glycan profile was compared with ricin from different preparations and other cultivars and isoforms. A total of 15 different oligomannosidic or paucimannosidic structures were identified in CRM-LS-1. Paucimannose was mainly found within the A-chain and oligomannose constituted the major glycan type of the B-chain. Furthermore, the novel primary structure variants E138 and D138 and four different C-termini of the A-chain as well as two B-chain variants V250 and F250 were elucidated. While the glycan proportions and loci were similar among all variants in CRM-LS-1 and ricin isoforms D and E of all cultivars analysed, a different stoichiometry for isoforms D and E and the amino acid variants were found. This detailed physicochemical characterization of ricin regarding the glycan profile and amino acid sequence variations yields unprecedented insight into the molecular features of this protein toxin. The variable attributes discovered within different cultivars present signature motifs and may allow discrimination of the biotoxin’s origin that are important in molecular forensic profiling. In conclusion, our data of in-depth CRM-LS-1 characterization combined with the analysis of other cultivars is representative for known ricin variants. Full article
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29 pages, 742 KiB  
Review
Revitalizing the Gut Microbiome in Chronic Kidney Disease: A Comprehensive Exploration of the Therapeutic Potential of Physical Activity
by Marieke Vandecruys, Stefan De Smet, Jasmine De Beir, Marie Renier, Sofie Leunis, Hanne Van Criekinge, Griet Glorieux, Jeroen Raes, Karsten Vanden Wyngaert, Evi Nagler, Patrick Calders, Diethard Monbaliu, Véronique Cornelissen, Pieter Evenepoel and Amaryllis H. Van Craenenbroeck
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 242; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060242 - 26 May 2024
Viewed by 343
Abstract
Both physical inactivity and disruptions in the gut microbiome appear to be prevalent in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Engaging in physical activity could present a novel nonpharmacological strategy for enhancing the gut microbiome and mitigating the adverse effects associated with microbial [...] Read more.
Both physical inactivity and disruptions in the gut microbiome appear to be prevalent in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Engaging in physical activity could present a novel nonpharmacological strategy for enhancing the gut microbiome and mitigating the adverse effects associated with microbial dysbiosis in individuals with CKD. This narrative review explores the underlying mechanisms through which physical activity may favorably modulate microbial health, either through direct impact on the gut or through interorgan crosstalk. Also, the development of microbial dysbiosis and its interplay with physical inactivity in patients with CKD are discussed. Mechanisms and interventions through which physical activity may restore gut homeostasis in individuals with CKD are explored. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxins: 15th Anniversary)
13 pages, 1000 KiB  
Review
Clostridioides difficile Toxins: Host Cell Interactions and Their Role in Disease Pathogenesis
by Md Zahidul Alam and Rajat Madan
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060241 - 24 May 2024
Viewed by 377
Abstract
Clostridioides difficile, a Gram-positive anaerobic bacterium, is the leading cause of hospital-acquired antibiotic-associated diarrhea worldwide. The severity of C. difficile infection (CDI) varies, ranging from mild diarrhea to life-threatening conditions such as pseudomembranous colitis and toxic megacolon. Central to the pathogenesis of [...] Read more.
Clostridioides difficile, a Gram-positive anaerobic bacterium, is the leading cause of hospital-acquired antibiotic-associated diarrhea worldwide. The severity of C. difficile infection (CDI) varies, ranging from mild diarrhea to life-threatening conditions such as pseudomembranous colitis and toxic megacolon. Central to the pathogenesis of the infection are toxins produced by C. difficile, with toxin A (TcdA) and toxin B (TcdB) as the main virulence factors. Additionally, some strains produce a third toxin known as C. difficile transferase (CDT). Toxins damage the colonic epithelium, initiating a cascade of cellular events that lead to inflammation, fluid secretion, and further tissue damage within the colon. Mechanistically, the toxins bind to cell surface receptors, internalize, and then inactivate GTPase proteins, disrupting the organization of the cytoskeleton and affecting various Rho-dependent cellular processes. This results in a loss of epithelial barrier functions and the induction of cell death. The third toxin, CDT, however, functions as a binary actin-ADP-ribosylating toxin, causing actin depolymerization and inducing the formation of microtubule-based protrusions. In this review, we summarize our current understanding of the interaction between C. difficile toxins and host cells, elucidating the functional consequences of their actions. Furthermore, we will outline how this knowledge forms the basis for developing innovative, toxin-based strategies for treating and preventing CDI. Full article
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19 pages, 10599 KiB  
Article
Identification and Evolutionary Analysis of the Widely Distributed CAP Superfamily in Spider Venom
by Hongcen Jiang, Yiru Wang, Guoqing Zhang, Anqiang Jia, Zhaoyuan Wei and Yi Wang
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 240; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060240 - 24 May 2024
Viewed by 519
Abstract
Venom plays a crucial role in the defense and predation of venomous animals. Spiders (Araneae) are among the most successful predators and have a fascinating venom composition. Their venom mainly contains disulfide-rich peptides and large proteins. Here, we analyzed spider venom protein families, [...] Read more.
Venom plays a crucial role in the defense and predation of venomous animals. Spiders (Araneae) are among the most successful predators and have a fascinating venom composition. Their venom mainly contains disulfide-rich peptides and large proteins. Here, we analyzed spider venom protein families, utilizing transcriptomic and genomic data, and highlighted their similarities and differences. We show that spiders have specific combinations of toxins for better predation and defense, typically comprising a core toxin expressed alongside several auxiliary toxins. Among them, the CAP superfamily is widely distributed and highly expressed in web-building Araneoidea spiders. Our analysis of evolutionary relationships revealed four subfamilies (subA-subD) of the CAP superfamily that differ in structure and potential functions. CAP proteins are composed of a conserved CAP domain and diverse C-terminal domains. CAP subC shares similar domains with the snake ion channel regulator svCRISP proteins, while CAP subD possesses a sequence similar to that of insect venom allergen 5 (Ag5). Furthermore, we show that gene duplication and selective expression lead to increased expression of CAP subD, making it a core member of the CAP superfamily. This study sheds light on the functional diversity of CAP subfamilies and their evolutionary history, which has important implications for fully understanding the composition of spider venom proteins and the core toxin components of web-building spiders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcriptomic and Proteomic Study on Animal Venom: Looking Forward)
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