Toxins2015, 7(4), 1126-1150; doi:10.3390/toxins7041126 (registering DOI) - published 1 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: While knowledge of the composition and mode of action of bee and wasp venoms dates back 50 years, the therapeutic value of these toxins remains relatively unexploded. The properties of these venoms are now being studied with the aim to design and develop new therapeutic drugs. Far from evaluating the extensive number of monographs, journals and books related to bee and wasp venoms and the therapeutic effect of these toxins in numerous diseases, the following review focuses on the three most characterized peptides, namely melittin, apamin, and mastoparan. Here, we update information related to these compounds from the perspective of applied science and discuss their potential therapeutic and biotechnological applications in biomedicine.
Toxins2015, 7(4), 1116-1125; doi:10.3390/toxins7041116 (registering DOI) - published 1 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (CPE) is a three-domain polypeptide, which binds to Claudin-3 and Claudin-4 with high affinity. Because these receptors are highly differentially expressed in many human tumors, claudin-3 and claudin-4 may provide an efficient molecular tool to specifically identify and target biologically aggressive human cancer cells for CPE-specific binding and cytolysis. In this review we will discuss these surface proteins as targets for the detection and treatment of chemotherapy-resistant gynecologic malignancies overexpressing claudin-3 and -4 using CPE-based theranostic agents. We will also discuss the use of fluorescent c-CPE peptide in the operative setting for real time detection of micro-metastatic tumors during surgery and review the potential role of CPE in other medical applications.
Abstract: Microcystins (MCs) are cyclic heptapeptide toxins and can accumulate in the liver. Cytochrome P450s (CYPs) play an important role in the biotransformation of endogenous substances and xenobiotics in animals. It is unclear if the CYPs are affected by MCs exposure. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of microcystin-LR (MCLR) on cytochrome P450 isozymes (CYP1A1, CYP2E1, and CYP3A11) at mRNA level, protein content, and enzyme activity in the liver of mice the received daily, intraperitoneally, 2, 4, and 8 µg/kg body weight of MCLR for seven days. The result showed that MCLR significantly decreased ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) (CYP1A1) and erythromycin N-demthylase (ERND) (CYP3A11) activities and increased aniline hydroxylase (ANH) activity (CYP2E1) in the liver of mice during the period of exposure. Our findings suggest that MCLR exposure may disrupt the function of CYPs in liver, which may be partly attributed to the toxicity of MCLR in mice.
Abstract: Chlorotoxin is a small 36 amino-acid peptide identified from the venom of the scorpion Leiurus quinquestriatus. Initially, chlorotoxin was used as a pharmacological tool to characterize chloride channels. While studying glioma-specific chloride currents, it was soon discovered that chlorotoxin possesses targeting properties towards cancer cells including glioma, melanoma, small cell lung carcinoma, neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma. The investigation of the mechanism of action of chlorotoxin has been challenging because its cell surface receptor target remains under questioning since two other receptors have been claimed besides chloride channels. Efforts on chlorotoxin-based applications focused on producing analogues helpful for glioma diagnosis, imaging and treatment. These efforts are welcome since gliomas are very aggressive brain cancers, close to impossible to cure with the current therapeutic arsenal. Among all the chlorotoxin-based strategies, the most promising one to enhance patient mean survival time appears to be the use of chlorotoxin as a targeting agent for the delivery of anti-tumor agents. Finally, the discovery of chlorotoxin has led to the screening of other scorpion venoms to identify chlorotoxin-like peptides. So far several new candidates have been identified. Only detailed research and clinical investigations will tell us if they share the same anti-tumor potential as chlorotoxin.
Abstract: Harmful algal blooms (HABs) degrade water quality and produce toxins. The spatial distribution of HAbs may change rapidly due to variations wind, water currents, and population dynamics. Risk assessments, based on traditional sampling methods, are hampered by the sparseness of water sample data points, and delays between sampling and the availability of results. There is a need for local risk assessment and risk management at the spatial and temporal resolution relevant to local human and animal interactions at specific sites and times. Small, unmanned aircraft systems can gather color-infrared reflectance data at appropriate spatial and temporal resolutions, with full control over data collection timing, and short intervals between data gathering and result availability. Data can be interpreted qualitatively, or by generating a blue normalized difference vegetation index (BNDVI) that is correlated with cyanobacterial biomass densities at the water surface, as estimated using a buoyant packed cell volume (BPCV). Correlations between BNDVI and BPCV follow a logarithmic model, with r2-values under field conditions from 0.77 to 0.87. These methods provide valuable information that is complimentary to risk assessment data derived from traditional risk assessment methods, and could help to improve risk management at the local level.
Abstract: Algae and cyanobacteria are present in all aquatic environments. We do not have a good sense of the extent of human and animal exposures to cyanobacteria or their toxins, nor do we understand the public health impacts from acute exposures associated with recreational activities or chronic exposures associated with drinking water. We describe the Harmful Algal Bloom-related Illness Surveillance System (HABISS) and summarize the collected reports describing bloom events and associated adverse human and animal health events. For the period of 2007–2011, Departments of Health and/or Environment from 11 states funded by the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contributed reports for 4534 events. For 2007, states contributed 173 reports from historical data. The states participating in the HABISS program built response capacity through targeted public outreach and prevention activities, including supporting routine cyanobacteria monitoring for public recreation waters. During 2007–2010, states used monitoring data to support196 public health advisories or beach closures. The information recorded in HABISS and the application of these data to develop a wide range of public health prevention and response activities indicate that cyanobacteria and algae blooms are an environmental public health issue that needs continuing attention.