Toxins2014, 6(3), 1021-1035; doi:10.3390/toxins6031021 - published online 6 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Limnothrix (strain AC0243) is a cyanobacterium, which has only recently been identified as toxin producing. Under laboratory conditions, Bufo marinus larvae were exposed to 100,000 cells mL−1 of Limnothrix (strain AC0243) live cultures for seven days. Histological examinations were conducted post mortem and revealed damage to the notochord, eyes, brain, liver, kidney, pancreas, gastrointestinal tract, and heart. The histopathological results highlight the toxicological impact of this strain, particularly during developmental stages. Toxicological similarities to β-N-Methylamino-L-alanine are discussed.
Toxins2014, 6(3), 1002-1020; doi:10.3390/toxins6031002 - published online 6 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The hallmark of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is its ability to persist for a long-term in host granulomas, in a non-replicating and drug-tolerant state, and later awaken to cause disease. To date, the cellular factors and the molecular mechanisms that mediate entry into the persistence phase are poorly understood. Remarkably, M. tuberculosis possesses a very high number of toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems in its chromosome, 79 in total, regrouping both well-known (68) and novel (11) families, with some of them being strongly induced in drug-tolerant persisters. In agreement with the capacity of stress-responsive TA systems to generate persisters in other bacteria, it has been proposed that activation of TA systems in M. tuberculosis could contribute to its pathogenesis. Herein, we review the current knowledge on the multiple TA families present in this bacterium, their mechanism, and their potential role in physiology and virulence.
Abstract: Selenocosmia jiafu is a medium-sized theraphosid spider and an attractive source of venom, because it can be bred in captivity and it produces large amounts of venom. We performed reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) and matrix-assisted laser-desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) analyses and showed that S. jiafu venom contains hundreds of peptides with a predominant mass of 3000–4500 Da. Patch clamp analyses indicated that the venom could inhibit voltage-gated Na+, K+ and Ca2+ channels in rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. The venom exhibited inhibitory effects on tetrodotoxin-resistant (TTX-R) Na+ currents and T-type Ca2+ currents, suggesting the presence of antagonists to both channel types and providing a valuable tool for the investigation of these channels and for drug development. Intra-abdominal injection of the venom had severe toxic effects on cockroaches and caused death at higher concentrations. The LD50 was 84.24 μg/g of body weight in the cockroach. However, no visible symptoms or behavioral changes were detected after intraperitoneal injection of the venom into mice even at doses up to 10 mg/kg body weight. Our results provide a basis for further case-by-case investigations of peptide toxins from this venom.
Abstract: Deoxynivalenol is also known as vomitoxin due to its impact on livestock through interference with animal growth and acceptance of feed. At the molecular level, deoxynivalenol disrupts normal cell function by inhibiting protein synthesis via binding to the ribosome and by activating critical cellular kinases involved in signal transduction related to proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. Because of concerns related to deoxynivalenol, the United States FDA has instituted advisory levels of 5 µg/g for grain products for most animal feeds and 10 µg/g for grain products for cattle feed. The aim of the study was to determine the effect of low doses of deoxynivalenol applied per os on the presence of this mycotoxin in selected tissues of the alimentary canal of gilts. The study was performed on 39 animals divided into two groups (control, C; n = 21 and experimental, E; n = 18), of 20 kg body weight at the beginning of the experiment. Gilts received the toxin in doses of 12 µg/kg b.w./day (experimental group) or placebo (control group) over a period of 42 days. Three animals from two experimental groups were sacrificed on days 1, 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 and 42, excluding day 1 when only three control group animals were scarified. Tissues samples were prepared for high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analyses with the application of solid phase extraction (SPE). The results show that deoxynivalenol doses used in our study, even when applied for a short period, resulted in its presence in gastrointestinal tissues. The highest concentrations of deoxynivalenol reported in small intestine samples ranged from 7.2 (in the duodenum) to 18.6 ng/g (in the ileum) and in large intestine samples from 1.8 (in transverse the colon) to 23.0 ng/g (in the caecum). In liver tissues, the deoxynivalenol contents ranged from 6.7 to 8.8 ng/g.
Abstract: Staphylococccus aureus represents one of the most challenging human pathogens as well as a common colonizer of human skin and mucosal surfaces. S. aureus causes a wide range of diseases from skin and soft tissue infection (SSTI) to debilitating and life-threatening conditions such as osteomyelitis, endocarditis, and necrotizing pneumonia. The range of diseases reflects the remarkable diversity of the virulence factors produced by this pathogen, including surface antigens involved in the establishment of infection and a large number of toxins that mediate a vast array of cellular responses. The staphylococcal toxins are generally believed to have evolved to disarm the innate immune system, the first line of defense against this pathogen. This review focuses on recent advances on elucidating the biological functions of S. aureus bicomponent pore-forming toxins (BCPFTs) and their utility as targets for preventive and therapeutic intervention. These toxins are cytolytic to a variety of immune cells, primarily neutrophils, as well as cells with a critical barrier function. The lytic activity of BCPFTs towards immune cells implies a critical role in immune evasion, and a number of epidemiological studies and animal experiments relate these toxins to clinical disease, particularly SSTI and necrotizing pneumonia. Antibody-mediated neutralization of this lytic activity may provide a strategy for development of toxoid-based vaccines or immunotherapeutics for prevention or mitigation of clinical diseases. However, certain BCPFTs have been proposed to act as danger signals that may alert the immune system through an inflammatory response. The utility of a neutralizing vaccination strategy must be weighed against such immune-activating potential.
Abstract: Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and suffer from accelerated atherosclerosis. CKD patients are permanently exposed to uremic toxins, making them good candidates as pathogenic agents. We focus here on uremic toxins from tryptophan metabolism because of their potential involvement in cardiovascular toxicity: indolic uremic toxins (indoxyl sulfate, indole-3 acetic acid, and indoxyl-β-d-glucuronide) and uremic toxins from the kynurenine pathway (kynurenine, kynurenic acid, anthranilic acid, 3-hydroxykynurenine, 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid, and quinolinic acid). Uremic toxins derived from tryptophan are endogenous ligands of the transcription factor aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). AhR, also known as the dioxin receptor, interacts with various regulatory and signaling proteins, including protein kinases and phosphatases, and Nuclear Factor-Kappa-B. AhR activation by 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin and some polychlorinated biphenyls is associated with an increase in cardiovascular disease in humans and in mice. In addition, this AhR activation mediates cardiotoxicity, vascular inflammation, and a procoagulant and prooxidant phenotype of vascular cells. Uremic toxins derived from tryptophan have prooxidant, proinflammatory, procoagulant, and pro-apoptotic effects on cells involved in the cardiovascular system, and some of them are related with cardiovascular complications in CKD. We discuss here how the cardiovascular effects of these uremic toxins could be mediated by AhR activation, in a “dioxin-like” effect.