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Toxins, Volume 6, Issue 12 (December 2014) , Pages 3208-3612

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Open AccessArticle
Triggering of Programmed Erythrocyte Death by Alantolactone
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3596-3612; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123596 - 22 Dec 2014
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2638
Abstract
The sesquiterpene alantolactone counteracts malignancy, an effect at least in part due to stimulation of suicidal death or apoptosis of tumor cells. Signaling of alantolactone induced apoptosis involves altered gene expression and mitochondrial depolarization. Erythrocytes lack mitochondria and nuclei but may enter suicidal [...] Read more.
The sesquiterpene alantolactone counteracts malignancy, an effect at least in part due to stimulation of suicidal death or apoptosis of tumor cells. Signaling of alantolactone induced apoptosis involves altered gene expression and mitochondrial depolarization. Erythrocytes lack mitochondria and nuclei but may enter suicidal death or eryptosis, which is characterized by cell shrinkage and cell membrane scrambling with phosphatidylserine exposure at the erythrocyte surface. Cellular mechanisms involved in triggering of eryptosis include increase of cytosolic Ca2+-activity ([Ca2+]i) and oxidative stress. The present study explored, whether alantolactone stimulates eryptosis. To this end, erythrocyte volume was estimated from forward scatter, phosphatidylserine-exposure at the erythrocyte surface from FITC-annexin-V-binding, [Ca2+]i from Fluo3-fluorescence, ceramide abundance from binding of fluorescent antibodies, and oxidative stress from 2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein-diacetate (DCFDA) fluorescence. As a result, a 48 h exposure of human erythrocytes to alantolactone (≥20 μM) significantly decreased erythrocyte forward scatter and increased the percentage of annexin-V-binding cells. Alantolactone significantly increased Fluo3 fluorescence (60 μM), ceramide abundance (60 μM) and DCFDA fluorescence (≥40 μM). The effect of alantolactone (60 μM) on annexin-V-binding was not significantly modified by removal of extracellular Ca2+. In conclusion, alantolactone stimulates suicidal erythrocyte death or eryptosis, an effect paralleled by increase of [Ca2+]i, ceramide abundance and oxidative stress. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fossilized Venom: The Unusually Conserved Venom Profiles of Heloderma Species (Beaded Lizards and Gila Monsters)
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3582-3595; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123582 - 22 Dec 2014
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3067
Abstract
Research into snake venoms has revealed extensive variation at all taxonomic levels. Lizard venoms, however, have received scant research attention in general, and no studies of intraclade variation in lizard venom composition have been attempted to date. Despite their iconic status and proven [...] Read more.
Research into snake venoms has revealed extensive variation at all taxonomic levels. Lizard venoms, however, have received scant research attention in general, and no studies of intraclade variation in lizard venom composition have been attempted to date. Despite their iconic status and proven usefulness in drug design and discovery, highly venomous helodermatid lizards (gila monsters and beaded lizards) have remained neglected by toxinological research. Proteomic comparisons of venoms of three helodermatid lizards in this study has unravelled an unusual similarity in venom-composition, despite the long evolutionary time (~30 million years) separating H. suspectum from the other two species included in this study (H. exasperatum and H. horridum). Moreover, several genes encoding the major helodermatid toxins appeared to be extremely well-conserved under the influence of negative selection (but with these results regarded as preliminary due to the scarcity of available sequences). While the feeding ecologies of all species of helodermatid lizard are broadly similar, there are significant morphological differences between species, which impact upon relative niche occupation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from the 5th Venoms to Drugs Meeting)
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Open AccessArticle
Indole Alkaloids from Fischerella Inhibit Vertebrate Development in the Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Embryo Model
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3568-3581; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123568 - 22 Dec 2014
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2801
Abstract
Cyanobacteria are recognized producers of toxic or otherwise bioactive metabolite associated, in particular, with so-called “harmful algal blooms” (HABs) and eutrophication of freshwater systems. In the present study, two apparently teratogenic indole alkaloids from a freshwater strain of the widespread cyanobacterial genus, Fischerella [...] Read more.
Cyanobacteria are recognized producers of toxic or otherwise bioactive metabolite associated, in particular, with so-called “harmful algal blooms” (HABs) and eutrophication of freshwater systems. In the present study, two apparently teratogenic indole alkaloids from a freshwater strain of the widespread cyanobacterial genus, Fischerella (Stigonemataceae), were isolated by bioassay-guided fractionation, specifically using the zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryo, as a model of vertebrate development. The two alkaloids include the previously known 12-epi-hapalindole H isonitrile (1), and a new nitrile-containing variant, 12-epi-ambiguine B nitrile (2). Although both compounds were toxic to developing embryos, the former compound was shown to be relatively more potent, and to correlate best with the observed embryo toxicity. Related indole alkaloids from Fischerella, and other genera in the Stigonemataceae, have been widely reported as antimicrobial compounds, specifically in association with apparent allelopathy. However, this is the first report of their vertebrate toxicity, and the observed teratogenicity of these alkaloids supports a possible contribution to the toxicity of this widespread cyanobacterial family, particularly in relation to freshwater HABs and eutrophication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
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Open AccessArticle
Staphylococcal Enterotoxin H Induced Apoptosis of Bovine Mammary Epithelial Cells in Vitro
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3552-3567; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123552 - 19 Dec 2014
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3338
Abstract
Staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs) are powerful superantigenic toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). They can cause food poisoning and toxic shock. However, their impact on bovine mammary epithelial cells (bMECs) is still unknown. In this study, the distribution of SE genes [...] Read more.
Staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs) are powerful superantigenic toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). They can cause food poisoning and toxic shock. However, their impact on bovine mammary epithelial cells (bMECs) is still unknown. In this study, the distribution of SE genes was evaluated in 116 S. aureus isolates from bovine mastitis, and the most prevalent genes were seh (36.2%), followed by sei (12.1%), seg (11.2%), ser (4.3%), sec (3.4%), sea (2.6%) and sed (1.7%). To better understand the effect of staphylococcal enterotoxin H (SEH) on bMECs, the seh gene was cloned and inserted into the prokaryotic expression vector, pET28a, and transformed into Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3). The recombinant staphylococcal enterotoxin H (rSEH) was expressed and purified as soluble protein. Bioactivity analysis showed that rSEH possessed the activity of stimulating lymphocytes proliferation. The XTT assay showed that 100 μg/mL of rSEH produced the cytotoxic effect on bMECs, and fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry analysis revealed that a certain dose of rSEH is effective at inducing bMECs apoptosis in vitro. This indicates that SEs can directly lead to cellular apoptosis of bMECs in bovine mastitis associated with S. aureus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
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Open AccessReview
Quo Vadis Venomics? A Roadmap to Neglected Venomous Invertebrates
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3488-3551; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123488 - 19 Dec 2014
Cited by 42 | Viewed by 4459
Abstract
Venomics research is being revolutionized by the increased use of sensitive -omics techniques to identify venom toxins and their transcripts in both well studied and neglected venomous taxa. The study of neglected venomous taxa is necessary both for understanding the full diversity of [...] Read more.
Venomics research is being revolutionized by the increased use of sensitive -omics techniques to identify venom toxins and their transcripts in both well studied and neglected venomous taxa. The study of neglected venomous taxa is necessary both for understanding the full diversity of venom systems that have evolved in the animal kingdom, and to robustly answer fundamental questions about the biology and evolution of venoms without the distorting effect that can result from the current bias introduced by some heavily studied taxa. In this review we draw the outlines of a roadmap into the diversity of poorly studied and understood venomous and putatively venomous invertebrates, which together represent tens of thousands of unique venoms. The main groups we discuss are crustaceans, flies, centipedes, non-spider and non-scorpion arachnids, annelids, molluscs, platyhelminths, nemerteans, and echinoderms. We review what is known about the morphology of the venom systems in these groups, the composition of their venoms, and the bioactivities of the venoms to provide researchers with an entry into a large and scattered literature. We conclude with a short discussion of some important methodological aspects that have come to light with the recent use of new -omics techniques in the study of venoms. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Evolution of Venom Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
The Finding of a Group IIE Phospholipase A2 Gene in a Specified Segment of Protobothrops flavoviridis Genome and Its Possible Evolutionary Relationship to Group IIA Phospholipase A2 Genes
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3471-3487; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123471 - 18 Dec 2014
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2874
Abstract
The genes encoding group IIE phospholipase A2, abbreviated as IIE PLA2, and its 5' and 3' flanking regions of Crotalinae snakes such as Protobothrops flavoviridis, P. tokarensis, P. elegans, and Ovophis okinavensis, were found and [...] Read more.
The genes encoding group IIE phospholipase A2, abbreviated as IIE PLA2, and its 5' and 3' flanking regions of Crotalinae snakes such as Protobothrops flavoviridis, P. tokarensis, P. elegans, and Ovophis okinavensis, were found and sequenced. The genes consisted of four exons and three introns and coded for 22 or 24 amino acid residues of the signal peptides and 134 amino acid residues of the mature proteins. These IIE PLA2s show high similarity to those from mammals and Colubridae snakes. The high expression level of IIE PLA2s in Crotalinae venom glands suggests that they should work as venomous proteins. The blast analysis indicated that the gene encoding OTUD3, which is ovarian tumor domain-containing protein 3, is located in the 3' downstream of IIE PLA2 gene. Moreover, a group IIA PLA2 gene was found in the 5' upstream of IIE PLA2 gene linked to the OTUD3 gene (OTUD3) in the P. flavoviridis genome. It became evident that the specified arrangement of IIA PLA2 gene, IIE PLA2 gene, and OTUD3 in this order is common in the genomes of humans to snakes. The present finding that the genes encoding various secretory PLA2s form a cluster in the genomes of humans to birds is closely related to the previous finding that six venom PLA2 isozyme genes are densely clustered in the so-called NIS-1 fragment of the P. flavoviridis genome. It is also suggested that venom IIA PLA2 genes may be evolutionarily derived from the IIE PLA2 gene. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Evolution of Venom Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Systematic Study of Binding of μ-Conotoxins to the Sodium Channel NaV1.4
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3454-3470; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123454 - 18 Dec 2014
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2337
Abstract
Voltage-gated sodium channels (NaV) are fundamental components of the nervous system. Their dysfunction is implicated in a number of neurological disorders, such as chronic pain, making them potential targets for the treatment of such disorders. The prominence of the NaV channels in the [...] Read more.
Voltage-gated sodium channels (NaV) are fundamental components of the nervous system. Their dysfunction is implicated in a number of neurological disorders, such as chronic pain, making them potential targets for the treatment of such disorders. The prominence of the NaV channels in the nervous system has been exploited by venomous animals for preying purposes, which have developed toxins that can block the NaV channels, thereby disabling their function. Because of their potency, such toxins could provide drug leads for the treatment of neurological disorders associated with NaV channels. However, most toxins lack selectivity for a given target NaV channel, and improving their selectivity profile among the NaV1 isoforms is essential for their development as drug leads. Computational methods will be very useful in the solution of such design problems, provided accurate models of the protein-ligand complex can be constructed. Using docking and molecular dynamics simulations, we have recently constructed a model for the NaV1.4-μ-conotoxin-GIIIA complex and validated it with the ample mutational data available for this complex. Here, we use the validated NaV1.4 model in a systematic study of binding other μ-conotoxins (PIIIA, KIIIA and BuIIIB) to NaV1.4. The binding mode obtained for each complex is shown to be consistent with the available mutation data and binding constants. We compare the binding modes of PIIIA, KIIIA and BuIIIB to that of GIIIA and point out the similarities and differences among them. The detailed information about NaV1.4-μ-conotoxin interactions provided here will be useful in the design of new NaV channel blocking peptides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ion Channel Neurotoxins)
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Open AccessArticle
Transfer of Ochratoxin A into Tea and Coffee Beverages
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3438-3453; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123438 - 17 Dec 2014
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2570
Abstract
Ochratoxin A (OTA) is nephrotoxic, hepatotoxic, immunotoxic, neurotoxic, reprotoxic, teratogenic, and carcinogenic (group 2B), being characterized by species and sex differences in sensitivity. Despite the fact that OTA is in some aspects a controversial topic, OTA is the most powerful renal carcinogen. The [...] Read more.
Ochratoxin A (OTA) is nephrotoxic, hepatotoxic, immunotoxic, neurotoxic, reprotoxic, teratogenic, and carcinogenic (group 2B), being characterized by species and sex differences in sensitivity. Despite the fact that OTA is in some aspects a controversial topic, OTA is the most powerful renal carcinogen. The aim of this study was to make a small survey concerning OTA content in black tea, fruit tea, and ground roasted coffee, and to assess OTA transfer into beverages. OTA content was measured using a validated and accredited HPLC-FLD method with a limit of quantification (LOQ) of 0.35 ng/g. The OTA amount ranged from LOQ up to 250 ng/g in black tea and up to 104 ng/g in fruit tea. Black tea and fruit tea, naturally contaminated, were used to prepare tea infusions. The transfer from black tea to the infusion was 34.8% ± 1.3% and from fruit tea 4.1% ± 0.2%. Ground roasted coffee naturally contaminated at 0.92 ng/g was used to prepare seven kinds of coffee beverages. Depending on the type of process used, OTA transfer into coffee ranged from 22.3% to 66.1%. OTA intakes from fruit and black tea or coffee represent a non-negligible human source. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Aflatoxin Control in Maize by Trametes versicolor
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3426-3437; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123426 - 17 Dec 2014
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2843
Abstract
Aspergillus flavus is a well-known ubiquitous fungus able to contaminate both in pre- and postharvest period different feed and food commodities. During their growth, these fungi can synthesise aflatoxins, secondary metabolites highly hazardous for animal and human health. The requirement of products with [...] Read more.
Aspergillus flavus is a well-known ubiquitous fungus able to contaminate both in pre- and postharvest period different feed and food commodities. During their growth, these fungi can synthesise aflatoxins, secondary metabolites highly hazardous for animal and human health. The requirement of products with low impact on the environment and on human health, able to control aflatoxin production, has increased. In this work the effect of the basidiomycete Trametes versicolor on the aflatoxin production by A. flavus both in vitro and in maize, was investigated. The goal was to propose an environmental loyal tool for a significant control of aflatoxin production, in order to obtain feedstuffs and feed with a high standard of quality and safety to enhance the wellbeing of dairy cows. The presence of T. versicolor, grown on sugar beet pulp, inhibited the production of aflatoxin B1 in maize by A. flavus. Furthermore, treatment of contaminated maize with culture filtrates of T. versicolor containing ligninolytic enzymes, showed a significant reduction of the content of aflatoxin B1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Detoxification of Mycotoxins)
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Open AccessArticle
Direct Activation of Ribosome-Associated Double-Stranded RNA-Dependent Protein Kinase (PKR) by Deoxynivalenol, Anisomycin and Ricin: A New Model for Ribotoxic Stress Response Induction
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3406-3425; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123406 - 16 Dec 2014
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 3296
Abstract
Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-activated protein kinase (PKR) is a critical upstream mediator of the ribotoxic stress response (RSR) to the trichothecene deoxynivalenol (DON) and other translational inhibitors. Here, we employed HeLa cell lysates to: (1) characterize PKR’s interactions with the ribosome and ribosomal RNA [...] Read more.
Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-activated protein kinase (PKR) is a critical upstream mediator of the ribotoxic stress response (RSR) to the trichothecene deoxynivalenol (DON) and other translational inhibitors. Here, we employed HeLa cell lysates to: (1) characterize PKR’s interactions with the ribosome and ribosomal RNA (rRNA); (2) demonstrate cell-free activation of ribosomal-associated PKR and (3) integrate these findings in a unified model for RSR. Robust PKR-dependent RSR was initially confirmed in intact cells. PKR basally associated with 40S, 60S, 80S and polysome fractions at molar ratios of 7, 2, 23 and 3, respectively. Treatment of ATP-containing HeLa lysates with DON or the ribotoxins anisomycin and ricin concentration-dependently elicited phosphorylation of PKR and its substrate eIF2α. These phosphorylations could be blocked by PKR inhibitors. rRNA immunoprecipitation (RNA-IP) of HeLa lysates with PKR-specific antibody and sequencing revealed that in the presence of DON or not, the kinase associated with numerous discrete sites on both the 18S and 28S rRNA molecules, a number of which contained double-stranded hairpins. These findings are consistent with a sentinel model whereby multiple PKR molecules basally associate with the ribosome positioning them to respond to ribotoxin-induced alterations in rRNA structure by dimerizing, autoactivating and, ultimately, evoking RSR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
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Open AccessReview
Omics Meets Biology: Application to the Design and Preclinical Assessment of Antivenoms
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3388-3405; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123388 - 15 Dec 2014
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 2544
Abstract
Snakebite envenoming represents a neglected tropical disease that has a heavy public health impact worldwide, mostly affecting poor people involved in agricultural activities in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania. A key issue that complicates the treatment of snakebite envenomings is the poor [...] Read more.
Snakebite envenoming represents a neglected tropical disease that has a heavy public health impact worldwide, mostly affecting poor people involved in agricultural activities in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania. A key issue that complicates the treatment of snakebite envenomings is the poor availability of the only validated treatment for this disease, antivenoms. Antivenoms can be an efficacious treatment for snakebite envenoming, provided they are safe, effective, affordable, accessible and administered appropriately. The shortage of antivenoms in various regions, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and some parts of Asia, can be significantly alleviated by optimizing the use of current antivenoms and by the generation of novel polyspecific antivenoms having a wide spectrum of efficacy. Complementing preclinical testing of antivenom efficacy using in vivo and in vitro functional neutralization assays, developments in venomics and antivenomics are likely to revolutionize the design and preclinical assessment of antivenoms by being able to test new antivenom preparations and to predict their paraspecific neutralization to the level of species-specific toxins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antivenom and Venom Therapeutics)
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Open AccessReview
The Fate of Microcystins in the Environment and Challenges for Monitoring
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3354-3387; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123354 - 12 Dec 2014
Cited by 56 | Viewed by 6029
Abstract
Microcystins are secondary metabolites produced by cyanobacteria that act as hepatotoxins in higher organisms. These toxins can be altered through abiotic processes, such as photodegradation and adsorption, as well as through biological processes via metabolism and bacterial degradation. Some species of bacteria can [...] Read more.
Microcystins are secondary metabolites produced by cyanobacteria that act as hepatotoxins in higher organisms. These toxins can be altered through abiotic processes, such as photodegradation and adsorption, as well as through biological processes via metabolism and bacterial degradation. Some species of bacteria can degrade microcystins, and many other organisms metabolize microcystins into a series of conjugated products. There are toxicokinetic models used to examine microcystin uptake and elimination, which can be difficult to compare due to differences in compartmentalization and speciation. Metabolites of microcystins are formed as a detoxification mechanism, and little is known about how quickly these metabolites are formed. In summary, microcystins can undergo abiotic and biotic processes that alter the toxicity and structure of the microcystin molecule. The environmental impact and toxicity of these alterations and the metabolism of microcystins remains uncertain, making it difficult to establish guidelines for human health. Here, we present the current state of knowledge regarding the alterations microcystins can undergo in the environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Protective Effect of Two Yeast Based Feed Additives on Pigs Chronically Exposed to Deoxynivalenol and Zearalenone
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3336-3353; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123336 - 12 Dec 2014
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2465
Abstract
To evaluate the effects of the mycotoxins deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEA) on pigs and the benefits of two mycotoxin mitigation strategies, gilts (n = 84, 9.1 ± 0.1 kg) were allotted to four treatments: CON (control); MT (4.8 mg/kg feed DON [...] Read more.
To evaluate the effects of the mycotoxins deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEA) on pigs and the benefits of two mycotoxin mitigation strategies, gilts (n = 84, 9.1 ± 0.1 kg) were allotted to four treatments: CON (control); MT (4.8 mg/kg feed DON and 0.3 mg/kg feed ZEA); MT-YC (MT + 2 g/kg of yeast cell wall product); and MT-YF (MT + 2 g/kg of yeast fermentation product). After 42 days of feeding, pigs fed MT had reduced (p < 0.05) growth performance compared with pigs fed CON. Pigs fed MT-YF had greater (p < 0.05) average daily gain and tended to have greater (p = 0.080) average daily feed intake than MT, whereas pigs fed MT-YC did not differ from MT. Oxidative DNA damage increased (p < 0.05) in MT, whereas pigs fed MT-YF tended to have lower (p = 0.067) oxidative stress. Liver hydropic degeneration was increased (p < 0.05) in MT in contrast to CON and MT-YF, and tended to be greater (p = 0.079) than MT-YC. Collectively, feeding diets contaminated with mycotoxins significantly reduced growth performance and impacted pig health. The yeast additives had varied ability to reduce mycotoxin effects on pig growth and health, but may still play a beneficial role in reducing the overall impacts of a mycotoxin challenge on pigs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Detoxification of Mycotoxins)
Open AccessArticle
Quantitative Analysis of Cereulide Toxin from Bacillus cereus in Rice and Pasta Using Synthetic Cereulide Standard and 13C6-Cereulide Standard—A Short Validation Study
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3326-3335; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123326 - 11 Dec 2014
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2830
Abstract
A single laboratory validation study of a rapid and sensitive quantitative method for the analysis of cereulide toxin produced by Bacillus cereus using ultra high performance liquid chromatography-electrospray-tandem mass spectrometry is presented. The analysis of this cyclic peptide toxin was validated for pasta [...] Read more.
A single laboratory validation study of a rapid and sensitive quantitative method for the analysis of cereulide toxin produced by Bacillus cereus using ultra high performance liquid chromatography-electrospray-tandem mass spectrometry is presented. The analysis of this cyclic peptide toxin was validated for pasta and rice samples using a newly presented synthetic cereulide peptide standard, together with 13C6-cereulide that previously have not been commercially available. The use of cereulide standard was also compared to the most frequently used surrogate standard, the antibiotic valinomycin. The performance of the method was evaluated by analyzing spiked sample pools from different types of rice and pasta, as well as 21 individual rice and pasta samples from differently prepared meals. Inoculation of samples with three cereulide toxin-producing strains of Bacillus cereus was finally used to mimic naturally contaminated foods. The quantification range of the method was 1–500 ng/g (R2 = 0.999) and the limits of detection and quantification were 0.1 and 1 ng/g, respectively. The precision varied from 3% to 7% relative standard deviation and the trueness from −2% to +6% relative bias at different concentration levels in cooked rice and pasta. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
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Open AccessReview
Bacillus thuringiensis Toxins: An Overview of Their Biocidal Activity
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3296-3325; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123296 - 11 Dec 2014
Cited by 151 | Viewed by 10658
Abstract
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a Gram positive, spore-forming bacterium that synthesizes parasporal crystalline inclusions containing Cry and Cyt proteins, some of which are toxic against a wide range of insect orders, nematodes and human-cancer cells. These toxins have been successfully used as bioinsecticides [...] Read more.
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a Gram positive, spore-forming bacterium that synthesizes parasporal crystalline inclusions containing Cry and Cyt proteins, some of which are toxic against a wide range of insect orders, nematodes and human-cancer cells. These toxins have been successfully used as bioinsecticides against caterpillars, beetles, and flies, including mosquitoes and blackflies. Bt also synthesizes insecticidal proteins during the vegetative growth phase, which are subsequently secreted into the growth medium. These proteins are commonly known as vegetative insecticidal proteins (Vips) and hold insecticidal activity against lepidopteran, coleopteran and some homopteran pests. A less well characterized secretory protein with no amino acid similarity to Vip proteins has shown insecticidal activity against coleopteran pests and is termed Sip (secreted insecticidal protein). Bin-like and ETX_MTX2-family proteins (Pfam PF03318), which share amino acid similarities with mosquitocidal binary (Bin) and Mtx2 toxins, respectively, from Lysinibacillus sphaericus, are also produced by some Bt strains. In addition, vast numbers of Bt isolates naturally present in the soil and the phylloplane also synthesize crystal proteins whose biological activity is still unknown. In this review, we provide an updated overview of the known active Bt toxins to date and discuss their activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacillus thuringiensis Toxins)
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Open AccessReview
Biosynthetic Pathways of Ergot Alkaloids
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3281-3295; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123281 - 10 Dec 2014
Cited by 42 | Viewed by 3865
Abstract
Ergot alkaloids are nitrogen-containing natural products belonging to indole alkaloids. The best known producers are fungi of the phylum Ascomycota, e.g., Claviceps, Epichloë, Penicillium and Aspergillus species. According to their structures, ergot alkaloids can be divided into three groups: clavines, lysergic [...] Read more.
Ergot alkaloids are nitrogen-containing natural products belonging to indole alkaloids. The best known producers are fungi of the phylum Ascomycota, e.g., Claviceps, Epichloë, Penicillium and Aspergillus species. According to their structures, ergot alkaloids can be divided into three groups: clavines, lysergic acid amides and peptides (ergopeptines). All of them share the first biosynthetic steps, which lead to the formation of the tetracyclic ergoline ring system (except the simplest, tricyclic compound: chanoclavine). Different modifications on the ergoline ring by specific enzymes result in an abundance of bioactive natural products, which are used as pharmaceutical drugs or precursors thereof. From the 1950s through to recent years, most of the biosynthetic pathways have been elucidated. Gene clusters from several ergot alkaloid producers have been identified by genome mining and the functions of many of those genes have been demonstrated by knock-out experiments or biochemical investigations of the overproduced enzymes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ergot Alkaloids: Chemistry, Biology and Toxicology)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Hydrogen Peroxide and Ultrasound on Biomass Reduction and Toxin Release in the Cyanobacterium, Microcystis aeruginosa
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3260-3280; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123260 - 10 Dec 2014
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 3370
Abstract
Cyanobacterial blooms are expected to increase, and the toxins they produce threaten human health and impair ecosystem services. The reduction of the nutrient load of surface waters is the preferred way to prevent these blooms; however, this is not always feasible. Quick curative [...] Read more.
Cyanobacterial blooms are expected to increase, and the toxins they produce threaten human health and impair ecosystem services. The reduction of the nutrient load of surface waters is the preferred way to prevent these blooms; however, this is not always feasible. Quick curative measures are therefore preferred in some cases. Two of these proposed measures, peroxide and ultrasound, were tested for their efficiency in reducing cyanobacterial biomass and potential release of cyanotoxins. Hereto, laboratory assays with a microcystin (MC)-producing cyanobacterium (Microcystis aeruginosa) were conducted. Peroxide effectively reduced M. aeruginosa biomass when dosed at 4 or 8 mg L−1, but not at 1 and 2 mg L−1. Peroxide dosed at 4 or 8 mg L−1 lowered total MC concentrations by 23%, yet led to a significant release of MCs into the water. Dissolved MC concentrations were nine-times (4 mg L−1) and 12-times (8 mg L−1 H2O2) higher than in the control. Cell lysis moreover increased the proportion of the dissolved hydrophobic variants, MC-LW and MC-LF (where L = Leucine, W = tryptophan, F = phenylalanine). Ultrasound treatment with commercial transducers sold for clearing ponds and lakes only caused minimal growth inhibition and some release of MCs into the water. Commercial ultrasound transducers are therefore ineffective at controlling cyanobacteria. Full article
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Open AccessComment
Comment on Warrick, B.J., Boyer, L.V., Seifert, S.A. Non-Native (Exotic) Snake Envenomations in the U.S., 2005–2011. Toxins 2014, 6, 2899–2911
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3258-3259; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123258 - 05 Dec 2014
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1852
Abstract
We have read with interest the article by Warrick et al., which was recently published in this journal [1]. The authors provided in their discussion reference and some comments to our article published in the journal “Clinical Toxicology” earlier this year [2]. [...] Read more.
We have read with interest the article by Warrick et al., which was recently published in this journal [1]. The authors provided in their discussion reference and some comments to our article published in the journal “Clinical Toxicology” earlier this year [2]. We appreciate their interest in our work, however, we would like to correct some information provided by Warrick et al.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
Open AccessArticle
The Dynamics of Microcystis Genotypes and Microcystin Production and Associations with Environmental Factors during Blooms in Lake Chaohu, China
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3238-3257; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123238 - 02 Dec 2014
Cited by 33 | Viewed by 2362
Abstract
Lake Chaohu, which is a large, shallow, hypertrophic freshwater lake in southeastern China, has been experiencing lake-wide toxic Microcystis blooms in recent decades. To illuminate the relationships between microcystin (MC) production, the genotypic composition of the Microcystis community and environmental factors, water samples [...] Read more.
Lake Chaohu, which is a large, shallow, hypertrophic freshwater lake in southeastern China, has been experiencing lake-wide toxic Microcystis blooms in recent decades. To illuminate the relationships between microcystin (MC) production, the genotypic composition of the Microcystis community and environmental factors, water samples and associated environmental data were collected from June to October 2012 within Lake Chaohu. The Microcystis genotypes and MC concentrations were quantified using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and HPLC, respectively. The results showed that the abundances of Microcystis genotypes and MC concentrations varied on spatial and temporal scales. Microcystis exists as a mixed population of toxic and non-toxic genotypes, and the proportion of toxic Microcystis genotypes ranged from 9.43% to 87.98%. Both Pearson correlation and stepwise multiple regressions demonstrated that throughout the entire lake, the abundances of total and toxic Microcystis and MC concentrations showed significant positive correlation with the total phosphorus and water temperature, suggesting that increases in temperature together with the phosphorus concentrations may promote more frequent toxic Microcystis blooms and higher concentrations of MC. Whereas, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) was negatively correlated with the abundances of total and toxic Microcystis and MC concentrations, indicating that rising DIC concentrations may suppress toxic Microcystis abundance and reduce the MC concentrations in the future. Therefore, our results highlight the fact that future eutrophication and global climate change can affect the dynamics of toxic Microcystis blooms and hence change the MC levels in freshwater. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
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Open AccessArticle
Sensitive Quantification of Aflatoxin B1 in Animal Feeds, Corn Feed Grain, and Yellow Corn Meal Using Immunomagnetic Bead-Based Recovery and Real-Time Immunoquantitative-PCR
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3223-3237; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123223 - 02 Dec 2014
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2617
Abstract
Aflatoxins are considered unavoidable natural mycotoxins encountered in foods, animal feeds, and feed grains. In this study, we demonstrate the application of our recently developed real-time immunoquantitative PCR (RT iq-PCR) assay for sensitive detection and quantification of aflatoxins in poultry feed, two types [...] Read more.
Aflatoxins are considered unavoidable natural mycotoxins encountered in foods, animal feeds, and feed grains. In this study, we demonstrate the application of our recently developed real-time immunoquantitative PCR (RT iq-PCR) assay for sensitive detection and quantification of aflatoxins in poultry feed, two types of dairy feed (1 and 2), horse feed, whole kernel corn feed grains, and retail yellow ground corn meal. Upon testing methanol/water (60:40) extractions of the above samples using competitive direct enzyme linked immunosorbent assay, the aflatoxin content was found to be <20 μg/kg. The RT iq-PCR assay exhibited high antigen hook effect in samples containing aflatoxin levels higher than the quantification limits (0.1–10 μg/kg), addressed by comparing the quantification results of undiluted and diluted extracts. In testing the reliability of the immuno-PCR assay, samples were spiked with 200 μg/kg of aflatoxin B1, but the recovery of spiked aflatoxin was found to be poor. Considering the significance of determining trace levels of aflatoxins and their serious implications for animal and human health, the RT iq-PCR method described in this study can be useful for quantifying low natural aflatoxin levels in complex matrices of food or animal feed samples without the requirement of extra sample cleanup. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Uniform Orientation of Biotinylated Nanobody as an Affinity Binder for Detection of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Cry1Ac Toxin
Toxins 2014, 6(12), 3208-3222; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins6123208 - 02 Dec 2014
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2914
Abstract
Nanobodies are the smallest natural fragments with useful properties such as high affinity, distinct paratope and high stability, which make them an ideal tool for detecting target antigens. In this study, we generated and characterized nanobodies against the Cry1Ac toxin and applied them [...] Read more.
Nanobodies are the smallest natural fragments with useful properties such as high affinity, distinct paratope and high stability, which make them an ideal tool for detecting target antigens. In this study, we generated and characterized nanobodies against the Cry1Ac toxin and applied them in a biotin-streptavidin based double antibodies (nanobodies) sandwich-ELISA (DAS-ELISA) assay. After immunizing a camel with soluble Cry1Ac toxin, a phage displayed library was constructed to generate Nbs against the Cry1Ac toxin. Through successive rounds of affinity bio-panning, four nanobodies with greatest diversity in CDR3 sequences were obtained. After affinity determination and conjugating to HRP, two nanobodies with high affinity which can recognize different epitopes of the same antigen (Cry1Ac) were selected as capture antibody (Nb61) and detection antibody (Nb44). The capture antibody (Nb61) was biotinylated in vivo for directional immobilization on wells coated with streptavidin matrix. Both results of specificity analysis and thermal stability determination add support for reliability of the following DAS-ELISA with a minimum detection limit of 0.005 μg·mL−1 and a working range 0.010–1.0 μg·mL−1. The linear curve displayed an acceptable correlation coefficient of 0.9976. These results indicated promising applications of nanobodies for detection of Cry1Ac toxin with biotin-streptavidin based DAS-ELISA system. Full article
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