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Toxins, Volume 7, Issue 5 (May 2015) , Pages 1396-1853

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Open AccessArticle
Honeybee (Apis mellifera) Venom Reinforces Viral Clearance during the Early Stage of Infection with Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus through the Up-Regulation of Th1-Specific Immune Responses
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1837-1853; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051837 - 22 May 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2660
Abstract
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is a chronic and immunosuppressive viral disease that is responsible for substantial economic losses for the swine industry. Honeybee venom (HBV) is known to possess several beneficial biological properties, particularly, immunomodulatory effects. Therefore, this study aimed at [...] Read more.
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is a chronic and immunosuppressive viral disease that is responsible for substantial economic losses for the swine industry. Honeybee venom (HBV) is known to possess several beneficial biological properties, particularly, immunomodulatory effects. Therefore, this study aimed at evaluating the effects of HBV on the immune response and viral clearance during the early stage of infection with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) in pigs. HBV was administered via three routes of nasal, neck, and rectal and then the pigs were inoculated with PRRSV intranasally. The CD4+/CD8+ cell ratio and levels of interferon (IFN)-γ and interleukin (IL)-12 were significantly increased in the HBV-administered healthy pigs via nasal and rectal administration. In experimentally PRRSV-challenged pigs with virus, the viral genome load in the serum, lung, bronchial lymph nodes and tonsil was significantly decreased, as was the severity of interstitial pneumonia, in the nasal and rectal administration group. Furthermore, the levels of Th1 cytokines (IFN-γ and IL-12) were significantly increased, along with up-regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α and IL-1β) with HBV administration. Thus, HBV administration—especially via the nasal or rectal route—could be a suitable strategy for immune enhancement and prevention of PRRSV infection in pigs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Superantigens Modulate Bacterial Density during Staphylococcus aureus Nasal Colonization
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1821-1836; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051821 - 22 May 2015
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2382
Abstract
Superantigens (SAgs) are potent microbial toxins that function to activate large numbers of T cells in a T cell receptor (TCR) Vβ-specific manner, resulting in excessive immune system activation. Staphylococcus aureus possesses a large repertoire of distinct SAgs, and in the context of [...] Read more.
Superantigens (SAgs) are potent microbial toxins that function to activate large numbers of T cells in a T cell receptor (TCR) Vβ-specific manner, resulting in excessive immune system activation. Staphylococcus aureus possesses a large repertoire of distinct SAgs, and in the context of host-pathogen interactions, staphylococcal SAg research has focused primarily on the role of these toxins in severe and invasive diseases. However, the contribution of SAgs to colonization by S. aureus remains unclear. We developed a two-week nasal colonization model using SAg-sensitive transgenic mice expressing HLA-DR4, and evaluated the role of SAgs using two well-studied stains of S. aureus. S. aureus Newman produces relatively low levels of staphylococcal enterotoxin A (SEA), and although we did not detect significant TCR-Vβ specific changes during wild-type S. aureus Newman colonization, S. aureus Newman Δsea established transiently higher bacterial loads in the nose. S. aureus COL produces relatively high levels of staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB), and colonization with wild-type S. aureus COL resulted in clear Vβ8-specific T cell skewing responses. S. aureus COL Δseb established consistently higher bacterial loads in the nose. These data suggest that staphylococcal SAgs may be involved in regulating bacterial densities during nasal colonization. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Honeybee Sting on Peptidome Profile in Human Serum
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1808-1820; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051808 - 22 May 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2545
Abstract
The aim of this study was to explore the serum peptide profiles from honeybee stung and non-stung individuals. Two groups of serum samples obtained from 27 beekeepers were included in our study. The first group of samples was collected within 3 h after [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to explore the serum peptide profiles from honeybee stung and non-stung individuals. Two groups of serum samples obtained from 27 beekeepers were included in our study. The first group of samples was collected within 3 h after a bee sting (stung beekeepers), and the samples were collected from the same person a second time after at least six weeks after the last bee sting (non-stung beekeepers). Peptide profile spectra were determined using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry combined with Omix, ZipTips and magnetic beads based on weak-cation exchange (MB-WCX) enrichment strategies in the mass range of 1–10 kDa. The samples were classified, and discriminative models were established by using the quick classifier, genetic algorithm and supervised neural network algorithms. All of the statistical algorithms used in this study allow distinguishing analyzed groups with high statistical significance, which confirms the influence of honeybee sting on the serum peptidome profile. The results of this study may broaden the understanding of the human organism’s response to honeybee venom. Due to the fact that our pilot study was carried out on relatively small datasets, it is necessary to conduct further proteomic research of the response to honeybee sting on a larger group of samples. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
First Detection of Tetrodotoxin in Greek Shellfish by UPLC-MS/MS Potentially Linked to the Presence of the Dinoflagellate Prorocentrum minimum
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1779-1807; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051779 - 20 May 2015
Cited by 63 | Viewed by 3622
Abstract
During official shellfish control for the presence of marine biotoxins in Greece in year 2012, a series of unexplained positive mouse bioassays (MBA) for lipophilic toxins with nervous symptomatology prior to mice death was observed in mussels from Vistonikos Bay–Lagos, Rodopi. This atypical [...] Read more.
During official shellfish control for the presence of marine biotoxins in Greece in year 2012, a series of unexplained positive mouse bioassays (MBA) for lipophilic toxins with nervous symptomatology prior to mice death was observed in mussels from Vistonikos Bay–Lagos, Rodopi. This atypical toxicity coincided with (a) absence or low levels of regulated and some non-regulated toxins in mussels and (b) the simultaneous presence of the potentially toxic microalgal species Prorocentrum minimum at levels up to 1.89 × 103 cells/L in the area’s seawater. Further analyses by different MBA protocols indicated that the unknown toxin was hydrophilic, whereas UPLC-MS/MS analyses revealed the presence of tetrodotoxins (TTXs) at levels up to 222.9 μg/kg. Reviewing of official control data from previous years (2006–2012) identified a number of sample cases with atypical positive to asymptomatic negative MBAs for lipophilic toxins in different Greek production areas, coinciding with periods of P. minimum blooms. UPLC-MS/MS analysis of retained sub-samples from these cases revealed that TTXs were already present in Greek shellfish since 2006, in concentrations ranging between 61.0 and 194.7 μg/kg. To our knowledge, this is the earliest reported detection of TTXs in European bivalve shellfish, while it is also the first work to indicate a possible link between presence of the toxic dinoflagellate P. minimum in seawater and that of TTXs in bivalves. Confirmed presence of TTX, a very heat-stable toxin, in filter-feeding mollusks of the Mediterranean Sea, even at lower levels to those inducing symptomatology to humans, indicates that this emerging risk should be seriously taken into account by the EU to protect the health of shellfish consumers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
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Open AccessArticle
Recommended Mass Spectrometry-Based Strategies to Identify Botulinum Neurotoxin-Containing Samples
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1765-1778; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051765 - 19 May 2015
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 2178
Abstract
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) cause the disease called botulism, which can be lethal. BoNTs are proteins secreted by some species of clostridia and are known to cause paralysis by interfering with nerve impulse transmission. Although the human lethal dose of BoNT is not accurately [...] Read more.
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) cause the disease called botulism, which can be lethal. BoNTs are proteins secreted by some species of clostridia and are known to cause paralysis by interfering with nerve impulse transmission. Although the human lethal dose of BoNT is not accurately known, it is estimated to be between 0.1 μg to 70 μg, so it is important to enable detection of small amounts of these toxins. Our laboratory previously reported on the development of Endopep-MS, a mass-spectrometric‑based endopeptidase method to detect, differentiate, and quantify BoNT immunoaffinity purified from complex matrices. In this work, we describe the application of Endopep-MS for the analysis of thirteen blinded samples supplied as part of the EQuATox proficiency test. This method successfully identified the presence or absence of BoNT in all thirteen samples and was able to successfully differentiate the serotype of BoNT present in the samples, which included matrices such as buffer, milk, meat extract, and serum. Furthermore, the method yielded quantitative results which had z-scores in the range of −3 to +3 for quantification of BoNT/A containing samples. These results indicate that Endopep-MS is an excellent technique for detection, differentiation, and quantification of BoNT in complex matrices. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Toxins Targeting the KV1.3 Channel: Potential Immunomodulators for Autoimmune Diseases
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1749-1764; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051749 - 19 May 2015
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2657
Abstract
Autoimmune diseases are usually accompanied by tissue injury caused by autoantigen-specific T-cells. KV1.3 channels participate in modulating calcium signaling to induce T-cell proliferation, immune activation and cytokine production. Effector memory T (TEM)-cells, which play major roles in many autoimmune [...] Read more.
Autoimmune diseases are usually accompanied by tissue injury caused by autoantigen-specific T-cells. KV1.3 channels participate in modulating calcium signaling to induce T-cell proliferation, immune activation and cytokine production. Effector memory T (TEM)-cells, which play major roles in many autoimmune diseases, are controlled by blocking KV1.3 channels on the membrane. Toxins derived from animal venoms have been found to selectively target a variety of ion channels, including KV1.3. By blocking the KV1.3 channel, these toxins are able to suppress the activation and proliferation of TEM cells and may improve TEM cell-mediated autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and type I diabetes mellitus. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Toxicity and Therapeutic Interventions in the Immune System)
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Open AccessArticle
Separation of Binding Protein of Celangulin V from the Midgut of Mythimna separata Walker by Affinity Chromatography
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1738-1748; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051738 - 19 May 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1935
Abstract
Celangulin V, an insecticidal compound isolated from the root bark of Chinese bittersweet, can affect the digestive system of insects. However, the mechanism of how Celangulin V induces a series of symptoms is still unknown. In this study, affinity chromatography was conducted through [...] Read more.
Celangulin V, an insecticidal compound isolated from the root bark of Chinese bittersweet, can affect the digestive system of insects. However, the mechanism of how Celangulin V induces a series of symptoms is still unknown. In this study, affinity chromatography was conducted through coupling of Celangulin V-6-aminoacetic acid ester to the CNBr-activated Sepharose 4B. SDS-PAGE was used to analyze the collected fraction eluted by Celangulin V. Eight binding proteins (Zinc finger protein, Thioredoxin peroxidase (TPx), Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), SUMO E3 ligase RanBP2, Transmembrane protein 1, Actin, APN and V-ATPase) were obtained and identified by LC/Q-TOF-MS from the midgut of Mythimna separata larvae. The potential of these proteins to serve as target proteins involved in the insecticidal activity of Celangulin V is discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of PKC-β Signaling Pathway on Expression of MCP-1 and VCAM-1 in Different Cell Models in Response to Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs)
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1722-1737; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051722 - 14 May 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2460
Abstract
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are compounds classified as uremic toxins in patients with chronic kidney disease that have several pro-inflammatory effects and are implicated in the development of cardiovascular diseases. To explore the mechanisms of AGEs–endothelium interactions through the receptor for AGEs [...] Read more.
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are compounds classified as uremic toxins in patients with chronic kidney disease that have several pro-inflammatory effects and are implicated in the development of cardiovascular diseases. To explore the mechanisms of AGEs–endothelium interactions through the receptor for AGEs (RAGE) in the PKC-β pathway, we evaluated the production of MCP-1 and VCAM-1 in human endothelial cells (HUVECs), monocytes, and a coculture of both. AGEs were prepared by albumin glycation and characterized by absorbance and electrophoresis. The effect of AGEs on cell viability was assessed with an MTT assay. The cells were also treated with AGEs with and without a PKC-β inhibitor. MCP-1 and VCAM-1 in the cell supernatants were estimated by ELISA, and RAGE was evaluated by immunocytochemistry. AGEs exposure did not affect cell viability, but AGEs induced RAGE, MCP-1, and VCAM-1 expression in HUVECs. When HUVECs or monocytes were incubated with AGEs and a PKC-β inhibitor, MCP-1 and VCAM-1 expression significantly decreased. However, in the coculture, exposure to AGEs and a PKC-β inhibitor produced no significant effect. This study demonstrates, in vitro, the regulatory mechanisms involved in MCP-1 production in three cellular models and VCAM-1 production in HUVECs, and thus mimics the endothelial dysfunction caused by AGEs in early atherosclerosis. Such mechanisms could serve as therapeutic targets to reduce the harmful effects of AGEs in patients with chronic kidney disease. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Perfringolysin O: The Underrated Clostridium perfringens Toxin?
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1702-1721; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051702 - 14 May 2015
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 4029
Abstract
The anaerobic bacterium Clostridium perfringens expresses multiple toxins that promote disease development in both humans and animals. One such toxin is perfringolysin O (PFO, classically referred to as θ toxin), a pore-forming cholesterol-dependent cytolysin (CDC). PFO is secreted as a water-soluble monomer that [...] Read more.
The anaerobic bacterium Clostridium perfringens expresses multiple toxins that promote disease development in both humans and animals. One such toxin is perfringolysin O (PFO, classically referred to as θ toxin), a pore-forming cholesterol-dependent cytolysin (CDC). PFO is secreted as a water-soluble monomer that recognizes and binds membranes via cholesterol. Membrane-bound monomers undergo structural changes that culminate in the formation of an oligomerized prepore complex on the membrane surface. The prepore then undergoes conversion into the bilayer-spanning pore measuring approximately 250–300 Å in diameter. PFO is expressed in nearly all identified C. perfringens strains and harbors interesting traits that suggest a potential undefined role for PFO in disease development. Research has demonstrated a role for PFO in gas gangrene progression and bovine necrohemorrhagic enteritis, but there is limited data available to determine if PFO also functions in additional disease presentations caused by C. perfringens. This review summarizes the known structural and functional characteristics of PFO, while highlighting recent insights into the potential contributions of PFO to disease pathogenesis. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Natural Compounds Interacting with Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors: From Low-Molecular Weight Ones to Peptides and Proteins
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1683-1701; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051683 - 14 May 2015
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2819
Abstract
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) fulfill a variety of functions making identification and analysis of nAChR subtypes a challenging task. Traditional instruments for nAChR research are d-tubocurarine, snake venom protein α-bungarotoxin (α-Bgt), and α-conotoxins, neurotoxic peptides from Conus snails. Various new compounds of different [...] Read more.
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) fulfill a variety of functions making identification and analysis of nAChR subtypes a challenging task. Traditional instruments for nAChR research are d-tubocurarine, snake venom protein α-bungarotoxin (α-Bgt), and α-conotoxins, neurotoxic peptides from Conus snails. Various new compounds of different structural classes also interacting with nAChRs have been recently identified. Among the low-molecular weight compounds are alkaloids pibocin, varacin and makaluvamines C and G. 6-Bromohypaphorine from the mollusk Hermissenda crassicornis does not bind to Torpedo nAChR but behaves as an agonist on human α7 nAChR. To get more selective α-conotoxins, computer modeling of their complexes with acetylcholine-binding proteins and distinct nAChRs was used. Several novel three-finger neurotoxins targeting nAChRs were described and α-Bgt inhibition of GABA-A receptors was discovered. Information on the mechanisms of nAChR interactions with the three-finger proteins of the Ly6 family was found. Snake venom phospholipases A2 were recently found to inhibit different nAChR subtypes. Blocking of nAChRs in Lymnaea stagnalis neurons was shown for venom C-type lectin-like proteins, appearing to be the largest molecules capable to interact with the receptor. A huge nAChR molecule sensible to conformational rearrangements accommodates diverse binding sites recognizable by structurally very different compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from the 5th Venoms to Drugs Meeting)
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Open AccessArticle
A Method for Simultaneous Determination of 20 Fusarium Toxins in Cereals by High-Resolution Liquid Chromatography-Orbitrap Mass Spectrometry with a Pentafluorophenyl Column
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1664-1682; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051664 - 14 May 2015
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2558
Abstract
A high-resolution liquid chromatography-Orbitrap mass spectrometry (LC-Orbitrap MS) method was developed for simultaneous determination of 20 Fusarium toxins (nivalenol, fusarenon-X, deoxynivalenol, 3-acetyl deoxynivalenol, 15-acetyl deoxynivalenol, HT-2 toxin, T-2 toxin, neosolaniol, diacetoxyscirpenol, fumonisin B1, fumonisin B2, fumonisin B3, [...] Read more.
A high-resolution liquid chromatography-Orbitrap mass spectrometry (LC-Orbitrap MS) method was developed for simultaneous determination of 20 Fusarium toxins (nivalenol, fusarenon-X, deoxynivalenol, 3-acetyl deoxynivalenol, 15-acetyl deoxynivalenol, HT-2 toxin, T-2 toxin, neosolaniol, diacetoxyscirpenol, fumonisin B1, fumonisin B2, fumonisin B3, fumonisin A1, fumonisin A2, fumonisin A3, zearalenone, α-zearalenol, β-zearalenol, α-zearalanol, and β-zearalanol) in cereals. The separation of 20 Fusarium toxins with good peak shapes was achieved using a pentafluorophenyl column, and Orbitrap MS was able to detect accurately from cereal matrix components within ±0.77 ppm. The samples were prepared using a QuEChERS kit for extraction and a multifunctional cartridge for purification. The linearity, repeatability, and recovery of the method were >0.9964, 0.8%–14.7%, and 71%–106%, respectively. Using this method, an analysis of 34 commercially available cereals detected the presence of deoxynivalenol, 15-acetyl deoxynivalenol, fumonisin B1, fumonisin B2, fumonisin B3, fumonisn A1, fumonisin A2, fumonisin A3, and zearalenone in corn samples with high concentration and frequency. Trichothecenes was detected from wheat samples with high frequency; in particular, the concentration of deoxynivalenol was high. Conversely, α-zearalenol, β-zearalenol, α-zearalanol, and β-zearalanol were not detected in any of the samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial and Temporal Patterns in the Seasonal Distribution of Toxic Cyanobacteria in Western Lake Erie from 2002–2014
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1649-1663; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051649 - 12 May 2015
Cited by 59 | Viewed by 3371
Abstract
Lake Erie, the world’s tenth largest freshwater lake by area, has had recurring blooms of toxic cyanobacteria for the past two decades. These blooms pose potential health risks for recreation, and impact the treatment of drinking water. Understanding the timing and distribution of [...] Read more.
Lake Erie, the world’s tenth largest freshwater lake by area, has had recurring blooms of toxic cyanobacteria for the past two decades. These blooms pose potential health risks for recreation, and impact the treatment of drinking water. Understanding the timing and distribution of the blooms may aid in planning by local communities and resources managers. Satellite data provides a means of examining spatial patterns of the blooms. Data sets from MERIS (2002–2012) and MODIS (2012–2014) were analyzed to evaluate bloom patterns and frequencies. The blooms were identified using previously published algorithms to detect cyanobacteria (~25,000 cells mL−1), as well as a variation of these algorithms to account for the saturation of the MODIS ocean color bands. Images were binned into 10-day composites to reduce cloud and mixing artifacts. The 13 years of composites were used to determine frequency of presence of both detectable cyanobacteria and high risk (>100,000 cells mL−1) blooms. The bloom season according to the satellite observations falls within June 1 and October 31. Maps show the pattern of development and areas most commonly impacted during all years (with minor and severe blooms). Frequencies during years with just severe blooms (minor bloom years were not included in the analysis) were examined in the same fashion. With the annual forecasts of bloom severity, these frequency maps can provide public water suppliers and health departments with guidance on the timing of potential risk. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Best Clinical Practice in Botulinum Toxin Treatment for Children with Cerebral Palsy
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1629-1648; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051629 - 11 May 2015
Cited by 45 | Viewed by 5606
Abstract
Botulinum toxin A (BoNT-A) is considered a safe and effective therapy for children with cerebral palsy (CP), especially in the hands of experienced injectors and for the majority of children. Recently, some risks have been noted for children with Gross Motor Classification Scale [...] Read more.
Botulinum toxin A (BoNT-A) is considered a safe and effective therapy for children with cerebral palsy (CP), especially in the hands of experienced injectors and for the majority of children. Recently, some risks have been noted for children with Gross Motor Classification Scale (GMFCS) of IV and the risks are substantial for level V. Recommendations for treatment with BoNT-A have been published since 1993, with continuous optimisation and development of new treatment concepts. This leads to modifications in the clinical decision making process, indications, injection techniques, assessments, and evaluations. This article summarises the state of the art of BoNT-A treatment in children with CP, based mainly on the literature and expert opinions by an international paediatric orthopaedic user group. BoNT-A is an important part of multimodal management, to support motor development and improve function when the targeted management of spasticity in specific muscle groups is clinically indicated. Individualised assessment and treatment are essential, and should be part of an integrated approach chosen to support the achievement of motor milestones. To this end, goals should be set for both the long term and for each injection cycle. The correct choice of target muscles is also important; not all spastic muscles need to be injected. A more focused approach needs to be established to improve function and motor development, and to prevent adverse compensations and contractures. Furthermore, the timeline of BoNT-A treatment extends from infancy to adulthood, and treatment should take into account the change in indications with age. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Botulinum Toxins on Human Pain)
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Open AccessArticle
Induction of Suicidal Erythrocyte Death by Nelfinavir
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1616-1628; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051616 - 08 May 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1960
Abstract
The HIV protease inhibitor, nelfinavir, primarily used for the treatment of HIV infections, has later been shown to be effective in various infectious diseases including malaria. Nelfinavir may trigger mitochondria-independent cell death. Erythrocytes may undergo eryptosis, a mitochondria-independent suicidal cell death characterized by [...] Read more.
The HIV protease inhibitor, nelfinavir, primarily used for the treatment of HIV infections, has later been shown to be effective in various infectious diseases including malaria. Nelfinavir may trigger mitochondria-independent cell death. Erythrocytes may undergo eryptosis, a mitochondria-independent suicidal cell death characterized by cell shrinkage and phosphatidylserine translocation to the erythrocyte surface. Triggers of eryptosis include oxidative stress and increase of cytosolic Ca2+-activity ([Ca2+]i). During malaria, accelerated death of infected erythrocytes may decrease parasitemia and thus favorably influence the clinical course of the disease. In the present study, phosphatidylserine abundance at the cell surface was estimated from annexin V binding, cell volume from forward scatter, reactive oxidant species (ROS) from 2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (DCFDA) fluorescence, and [Ca2+]i from Fluo3-fluorescence. A 48 h treatment of human erythrocytes with nelfinavir significantly increased the percentage of annexin-V-binding cells (≥5µg/mL), significantly decreased forward scatter (≥2.5µg/mL), significantly increased ROS abundance (10 µg/mL), and significantly increased [Ca2+]i (≥5 µg/mL). The up-regulation of annexin-V-binding following nelfinavir treatment was significantly blunted, but not abolished by either addition of the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (1 mM) or removal of extracellular Ca2+. In conclusion, exposure of erythrocytes to nelfinavir induces oxidative stress and Ca2+ entry, thus leading to suicidal erythrocyte death characterized by erythrocyte shrinkage and erythrocyte membrane scrambling. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Ribosome-Inactivating and Related Proteins
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1556-1615; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051556 - 08 May 2015
Cited by 42 | Viewed by 3042
Abstract
Ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs) are toxins that act as N-glycosidases (EC 3.2.2.22). They are mainly produced by plants and classified as type 1 RIPs and type 2 RIPs. There are also RIPs and RIP related proteins that cannot be grouped into the classical [...] Read more.
Ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs) are toxins that act as N-glycosidases (EC 3.2.2.22). They are mainly produced by plants and classified as type 1 RIPs and type 2 RIPs. There are also RIPs and RIP related proteins that cannot be grouped into the classical type 1 and type 2 RIPs because of their different sizes, structures or functions. In addition, there is still not a uniform nomenclature or classification existing for RIPs. In this review, we give the current status of all known plant RIPs and we make a suggestion about how to unify those RIPs and RIP related proteins that cannot be classified as type 1 or type 2 RIPs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Toxins)
Open AccessArticle
Botulinum Neurotoxin Serotypes Detected by Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1544-1555; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051544 - 06 May 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2789
Abstract
Botulinum neurotoxin is one of the deadliest biological toxins known to mankind and is able to cause the debilitating disease botulism. The rapid detection of the different serotypes of botulinum neurotoxin is essential for both diagnosis of botulism and identifying the presence of [...] Read more.
Botulinum neurotoxin is one of the deadliest biological toxins known to mankind and is able to cause the debilitating disease botulism. The rapid detection of the different serotypes of botulinum neurotoxin is essential for both diagnosis of botulism and identifying the presence of toxin in potential cases of terrorism and food contamination. The modes of action of botulinum neurotoxins are well-established in literature and differ for each serotype. The toxins are known to specifically cleave portions of the SNARE proteins SNAP-25 or VAMP; an interaction that can be monitored by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. This study presents a SNAP-25 and a VAMP biosensors for detecting the activity of five botulinum neurotoxin serotypes (A–E) using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. The biosensors are able to detect concentrations of toxins as low as 25 fg/mL, in a short time-frame compared with the current standard methods of detection. Both biosensors show greater specificity for their compatible serotypes compared with incompatible serotypes and denatured toxins. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Rapid Detection of Bacterial Toxins)
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Open AccessArticle
Extracts of Renealmia alpinia (Rottb.) MAAS Protect against Lethality and Systemic Hemorrhage Induced by Bothrops asper Venom: Insights from a Model with Extract Administration before Venom Injection
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1532-1543; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051532 - 30 Apr 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2420
Abstract
Renealmia alpinia (Rottb.) MAAS, obtained by micropropagation (in vitro) and wild forms have previously been shown to inhibit some toxic activities of Bothrops asper snake venom if preincubated before injection. In this study, assays were performed in a murine model in [...] Read more.
Renealmia alpinia (Rottb.) MAAS, obtained by micropropagation (in vitro) and wild forms have previously been shown to inhibit some toxic activities of Bothrops asper snake venom if preincubated before injection. In this study, assays were performed in a murine model in which extracts were administered for three days before venom injection. R. alpinia extracts inhibited lethal activity of B. asper venom injected by intraperitoneal route. Median Effective Dose (ED50) values were 36.6 ± 3.2 mg/kg and 31.7 ± 5.4 mg/kg (p > 0.05) for R. alpinia wild and in vitro extracts, respectively. At a dose of 75 mg/kg, both extracts totally inhibited the lethal activity of the venom. Moreover, this dose prolonged survival time of mice receiving a lethal dose of venom by the intravenous route. At 75 mg/kg, both extracts of R. alpinia reduced the extent of venom-induced pulmonary hemorrhage by 48.0% (in vitro extract) and 34.7% (wild extract), in agreement with histological observations of lung tissue. R. alpinia extracts also inhibited hemorrhage in heart and kidneys, as evidenced by a decrease in mg of hemoglobin/g of organ. These results suggest the possibility of using R. alpinia as a prophylactic agent in snakebite, a hypothesis that needs to be further explored. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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Open AccessReview
Bioactive Components in Fish Venoms
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1497-1531; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051497 - 30 Apr 2015
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 3610
Abstract
Animal venoms are widely recognized excellent resources for the discovery of novel drug leads and physiological tools. Most are comprised of a large number of components, of which the enzymes, small peptides, and proteins are studied for their important bioactivities. However, in spite [...] Read more.
Animal venoms are widely recognized excellent resources for the discovery of novel drug leads and physiological tools. Most are comprised of a large number of components, of which the enzymes, small peptides, and proteins are studied for their important bioactivities. However, in spite of there being over 2000 venomous fish species, piscine venoms have been relatively underrepresented in the literature thus far. Most studies have explored whole or partially fractioned venom, revealing broad pharmacology, which includes cardiovascular, neuromuscular, cytotoxic, inflammatory, and nociceptive activities. Several large proteinaceous toxins, such as stonustoxin, verrucotoxin, and Sp-CTx, have been isolated from scorpaenoid fish. These form pores in cell membranes, resulting in cell death and creating a cascade of reactions that result in many, but not all, of the physiological symptoms observed from envenomation. Additionally, Natterins, a novel family of toxins possessing kininogenase activity have been found in toadfish venom. A variety of smaller protein toxins, as well as a small number of peptides, enzymes, and non-proteinaceous molecules have also been isolated from a range of fish venoms, but most remain poorly characterized. Many other bioactive fish venom components remain to be discovered and investigated. These represent an untapped treasure of potentially useful molecules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from the 5th Venoms to Drugs Meeting)
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Open AccessCommunication
Membrane-Pore Forming Characteristics of the Bordetella pertussis CyaA-Hemolysin Domain
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1486-1496; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051486 - 30 Apr 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2418
Abstract
Previously, the 126-kDa Bordetella pertussis CyaA pore-forming/hemolysin (CyaA-Hly) domain was shown to retain its hemolytic activity causing lysis of susceptible erythrocytes. Here, we have succeeded in producing, at large quantity and high purity, the His-tagged CyaA-Hly domain over-expressed in Escherichia coli as a [...] Read more.
Previously, the 126-kDa Bordetella pertussis CyaA pore-forming/hemolysin (CyaA-Hly) domain was shown to retain its hemolytic activity causing lysis of susceptible erythrocytes. Here, we have succeeded in producing, at large quantity and high purity, the His-tagged CyaA-Hly domain over-expressed in Escherichia coli as a soluble hemolytically-active form. Quantitative assays of hemolysis against sheep erythrocytes revealed that the purified CyaA-Hly domain could function cooperatively by forming an oligomeric pore in the target cell membrane with a Hill coefficient of ~3. When the CyaA-Hly toxin was incorporated into planar lipid bilayers (PLBs) under symmetrical conditions at 1.0 M KCl, 10 mM HEPES buffer (pH 7.4), it produced a clearly resolved single channel with a maximum conductance of ~35 pS. PLB results also revealed that the CyaA-Hly induced channel was unidirectional and opened more frequently at higher negative membrane potentials. Altogether, our results first provide more insights into pore-forming characteristics of the CyaA-Hly domain as being the major pore-forming determinant of which the ability to induce such ion channels in receptor-free membranes could account for its cooperative hemolytic action on the target erythrocytes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
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Open AccessReview
Do the A Subunits Contribute to the Differences in the Toxicity of Shiga Toxin 1 and Shiga Toxin 2?
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1467-1485; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051467 - 29 Apr 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3365
Abstract
Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (STEC) is one of the leading causes of food-poisoning around the world. Some STEC strains produce Shiga toxin 1 (Stx1) and/or Shiga toxin 2 (Stx2) or variants of either toxin, which are critical for the development of [...] Read more.
Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (STEC) is one of the leading causes of food-poisoning around the world. Some STEC strains produce Shiga toxin 1 (Stx1) and/or Shiga toxin 2 (Stx2) or variants of either toxin, which are critical for the development of hemorrhagic colitis (HC) or hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Currently, there are no therapeutic treatments for HC or HUS. E. coli O157:H7 strains carrying Stx2 are more virulent and are more frequently associated with HUS, which is the most common cause of renal failure in children in the US. The basis for the increased potency of Stx2 is not fully understood. Shiga toxins belong to the AB5 family of protein toxins with an A subunit, which depurinates a universally conserved adenine residue in the α-sarcin/ricin loop (SRL) of the 28S rRNA and five copies of the B subunit responsible for binding to cellular receptors. Recent studies showed differences in the structure, receptor binding, dependence on ribosomal proteins and pathogenicity of Stx1 and Stx2 and supported a role for the B subunit in differential toxicity. However, the current data do not rule out a potential role for the A1 subunits in the differential toxicity of Stx1 and Stx2. This review highlights the recent progress in understanding the differences in the A1 subunits of Stx1 and Stx2 and their role in defining toxicity. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Sphingomyelinase D/Ceramide 1-Phosphate in Cell Survival and Inflammation
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1457-1466; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051457 - 29 Apr 2015
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 3643
Abstract
Sphingolipids are major constituents of biological membranes of eukaryotic cells. Many studies have shown that sphingomyelin (SM) is a major phospholipid in cell bilayers and is mainly localized to the plasma membrane of cells, where it serves both as a building block for [...] Read more.
Sphingolipids are major constituents of biological membranes of eukaryotic cells. Many studies have shown that sphingomyelin (SM) is a major phospholipid in cell bilayers and is mainly localized to the plasma membrane of cells, where it serves both as a building block for cell architecture and as a precursor of bioactive sphingolipids. In particular, upregulation of (C-type) sphingomyelinases will produce ceramide, which regulates many physiological functions including apoptosis, senescence, or cell differentiation. Interestingly, the venom of some arthropodes including spiders of the genus Loxosceles, or the toxins of some bacteria such as Corynebacterium tuberculosis, or Vibrio damsela possess high levels of D-type sphingomyelinase (SMase D). This enzyme catalyzes the hydrolysis of SM to yield ceramide 1-phosphate (C1P), which promotes cell growth and survival and is a potent pro-inflammatory agent in different cell types. In particular, C1P stimulates cytosolic phospholipase A2 leading to arachidonic acid release and the subsequent formation of eicosanoids, actions that are all associated to the promotion of inflammation. In addition, C1P potently stimulates macrophage migration, which has also been associated to inflammatory responses. Interestingly, this action required the interaction of C1P with a specific plasma membrane receptor, whereas accumulation of intracellular C1P failed to stimulate chemotaxis. The C1P receptor is coupled to Gi proteins and activates of the PI3K/Akt and MEK/ERK1-2 pathways upon ligation with C1P. The proposed review will address novel aspects on the control of inflammatory responses by C1P and will highlight the molecular mechanisms whereby C1P exerts these actions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue G-Protein Coupled Receptors as mediators of Toxin effects)
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Open AccessArticle
Links between Genetic Groups, Indole Alkaloid Profiles and Ecology within the Grass-Parasitic Claviceps purpurea Species Complex
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1431-1456; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051431 - 28 Apr 2015
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2824
Abstract
The grass parasitic fungus Claviceps purpurea sensu lato produces sclerotia with toxic indole alkaloids. It constitutes several genetic groups with divergent habitat preferences that recently were delimited into separate proposed species. We aimed to 1) analyze genetic variation of C. purpurea sensu lato [...] Read more.
The grass parasitic fungus Claviceps purpurea sensu lato produces sclerotia with toxic indole alkaloids. It constitutes several genetic groups with divergent habitat preferences that recently were delimited into separate proposed species. We aimed to 1) analyze genetic variation of C. purpurea sensu lato in Norway, 2) characterize the associated indole alkaloid profiles, and 3) explore relationships between genetics, alkaloid chemistry and ecology. Approximately 600 sclerotia from 14 different grass species were subjected to various analyses including DNA sequencing and HPLC-MS. Molecular results, supported by chemical and ecological data, revealed one new genetic group (G4) in addition to two of the three known; G1 (C. purpurea sensu stricto) and G2 (C. humidiphila). G3 (C. spartinae) was not found. G4, which was apparently con-specific with the recently described C. arundinis sp. nov, was predominantly found in very wet habitats on Molinia caerulea and infrequently in saline habitats on Leymus arenarius. Its indole-diterpene profile resembled G2, while its ergot alkaloid profile differed from G2 in high amounts of ergosedmam. In contrast to G1, indole-diterpenes were consistently present in G2 and G4. Our study supports and complements the newly proposed species delimitation of the C. purpurea complex, but challenges some species characteristics including host spectrum, habitat preferences and sclerotial floating ability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ergot Alkaloids: Chemistry, Biology and Toxicology)
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Open AccessArticle
Aflatoxin Biosynthesis Is a Novel Source of Reactive Oxygen Species—A Potential Redox Signal to Initiate Resistance to Oxidative Stress?
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1411-1430; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051411 - 28 Apr 2015
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 2886
Abstract
Aflatoxin biosynthesis in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus parasiticus involves a minimum of 21 enzymes, encoded by genes located in a 70 kb gene cluster. For aflatoxin biosynthesis to be completed, the required enzymes must be transported to specialized early and late endosomes called [...] Read more.
Aflatoxin biosynthesis in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus parasiticus involves a minimum of 21 enzymes, encoded by genes located in a 70 kb gene cluster. For aflatoxin biosynthesis to be completed, the required enzymes must be transported to specialized early and late endosomes called aflatoxisomes. Of particular significance, seven aflatoxin biosynthetic enzymes are P450/monooxygenases which catalyze reactions that can produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) as byproducts. Thus, oxidative reactions in the aflatoxin biosynthetic pathway could potentially be an additional source of intracellular ROS. The present work explores the hypothesis that the aflatoxin biosynthetic pathway generates ROS (designated as “secondary” ROS) in endosomes and that secondary ROS possess a signaling function. We used specific dyes that stain ROS in live cells and demonstrated that intracellular ROS levels correlate with the levels of aflatoxin synthesized. Moreover, feeding protoplasts with precursors of aflatoxin resulted in the increase in ROS generation. These data support the hypothesis. Our findings also suggest that secondary ROS may fulfill, at least in part, an important mechanistic role in increased tolerance to oxidative stress in germinating spores (seven-hour germlings) and in regulation of fungal development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Enhanced Eryptosis Following Gramicidin Exposure
Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1396-1410; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7051396 - 23 Apr 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2098
Abstract
The peptide antibiotic and ionophore gramicidin has previously been shown to trigger apoptosis of nucleated cells. In analogy to apoptosis, the suicidal death of erythrocytes or eryptosis involves cell shrinkage and cell membrane scrambling with phosphatidylserine translocation to the erythrocyte surface. Triggers of [...] Read more.
The peptide antibiotic and ionophore gramicidin has previously been shown to trigger apoptosis of nucleated cells. In analogy to apoptosis, the suicidal death of erythrocytes or eryptosis involves cell shrinkage and cell membrane scrambling with phosphatidylserine translocation to the erythrocyte surface. Triggers of eryptosis include oxidative stress, increase of cytosolic Ca2+ activity ([Ca2+]i), and ceramide. The present study explored, whether gramicidin triggers eryptosis. To this end phosphatidylserine exposure at the cell surface was estimated from annexin V binding, cell volume from forward scatter, red blood cell distribution width (RDW) from electronic particle counting, reactive oxidant species (ROS) from 2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (DCFDA) fluorescence, [Ca2+]i from Fluo3- and Fluo4 fluorescence, and ceramide abundance from binding of specific antibodies. As a result, a 24 h exposure of human erythrocytes to gramicidin significantly increased the percentage of annexin-V-binding cells (≥1 µg/mL), forward scatter (≥0.5 µg/mL) and hemolysis. Gramicidin enhanced ROS activity, [Ca2+]i and ceramide abundance at the erythrocyte surface. The stimulation of annexin-V-binding by gramicidin was significantly blunted but not abolished by removal of extracellular Ca2+. In conclusion, gramicidin stimulates phospholipid scrambling of the erythrocyte cell membrane, an effect at least partially due to induction of oxidative stress, increase of [Ca2+]i and up-regulation of ceramide abundance. Despite increase of [Ca2+]i, gramicidin increases cell volume and slightly reduces RWD. Full article
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