Toxins2015, 7(10), 4054-4066; doi:10.3390/toxins7104054 (registering DOI) - published 9 October 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Infection by Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) results in severe diarrhea, hemorrhagic colitis, and, occasionally, hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS is associated with an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, many of which are produced by macrophages in the kidneys, indicating that localized host innate immunity likely plays a role in renal pathogenesis. EHEC serotypes may express one or two classes of serologically defined but structurally and functionally-related Shiga toxins called Stx1 and Stx2. Of these, Stx2 appears to be linked to higher rates of HUS than Stx1. To investigate a possible reason for this, we exposed human macrophage-like THP-1 cells to Stx1 or Stx2 and then used the Luminex multiplex system to assess cytokine/chemokine concentrations in culture supernatant solutions. This analysis revealed that, relative to Stx1, Stx2 significantly caused increased expression of GRO, G-CSF, IL-1β, IL-8 and TNFα in macrophage-like THP-1 cells. This was determined to not be due to a difference in cytotoxicity since both Stx1 and Stx2 displayed similar cytotoxic activities on macrophage-like THP-1 cells. These observations indicate that, in vitro, Stx2 can provoke a greater pro-inflammatory response than Stx1 in macrophages and provides a possible partial explanation for higher rates of HUS in patients infected with EHEC strains expressing Stx2. To begin to determine a mechanism for Shiga toxin-mediated cytokine production, we exposed macrophage-like THP-1 cells to Stx1 or Stx2 A and B subunits. Luminex analysis of cytokines in cell culture supernatant solutions demonstrated that neither subunit alone induced a cytokine response in THP-1 cells.
Toxins2015, 7(10), 4035-4053; doi:10.3390/toxins7104035 (registering DOI) - published 9 October 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is a fast-track mechanism that allows genetically unrelated organisms to exchange genes for rapid environmental adaptation. We developed a new phyletic distribution-based software, HGT-Finder, which implements a novel bioinformatics algorithm to calculate a horizontal transfer index and a probability value for each query gene. Applying this new tool to the Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus flavus, and Aspergillus nidulans genomes, we found 273, 542, and 715 transferred genes (HTGs), respectively. HTGs have shorter length, higher guanine-cytosine (GC) content, and relaxed selection pressure. Metabolic process and secondary metabolism functions are significantly enriched in HTGs. Gene clustering analysis showed that 61%, 41% and 74% of HTGs in the three genomes form physically linked gene clusters (HTGCs). Overlapping manually curated, secondary metabolite gene clusters (SMGCs) with HTGCs found that 9 of the 33 A.fumigatus SMGCs and 31 of the 65 A. nidulans SMGCs share genes with HTGCs, and that HTGs are significantly enriched in SMGCs. Our genome-wide analysis thus presented very strong evidence to support the hypothesis that HGT has played a very critical role in the evolution of SMGCs. The program is freely available at http://cys.bios.niu.edu/HGTFinder/ HGTFinder.tar.gz.
Toxins2015, 7(10), 4023-4034; doi:10.3390/toxins7104023 (registering DOI) - published 9 October 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Rice false smut has become an increasingly serious fungal disease in rice (Oryza sativa L.) production worldwide. Ustilaginoidins are bis-naphtho-γ-pyrone mycotoxins previously isolated from the rice false smut balls (FSBs) infected by the pathogen Villosiclava virens in rice spikelets on panicles. To investigate the main ustilaginoidins and their distribution in rice FSBs, five main bis-naphtho-γ-pyrones, namely ustilaginoidins A (1), G (2), B (3), I (4) and C (5), were isolated and identified by NMR and high-resolution mass spectrometry as well as by comparison with the data in the literature. The rice FSBs at early, middle and late maturity stages were divided into their different parts and the contents of five main ustilaginoidins for each part were determined by HPLC analysis. The results revealed that the highest levels of ustilaginoidins were in late stage rice FSBs, followed by those at middle stage. Most ustilaginoidins, 96.4% of the total quantity, were distributed in the middle layer at early stage. However, ustilaginoidins were mainly distributed in the outer and middle layers at middle and late stages. Small amounts of ustilaginoidins A (1) and G (2) were found in the inner part of rice FSBs at each maturity stage. The contents of ustilaginoidins A (1) and G (2) without hydroxymethyl groups at C-2 and C-2’ of the γ-pyrone rings in rice FSBs were relatively high at early stage, while the contents of ustilaginoidins B (3), I (4), and C (5) with hydroxymethyl groups at C-2 or C-2’ were relatively high at late stage.
Abstract: Microcystins (MCs) are a major group of cyanotoxins with side effects in many organisms; thus, compounds in this group are recognized as potent stressors and health hazards in aquatic ecosystems. In order to assess the toxicity of MCs and detoxification mechanism of freshwater shrimp Macrobrachium nipponense, the full-length cDNAs of the glutathione S-transferase (gst) and catalase (cat) genes were isolated from the hepatopancreas.The transcription level and activity changes in the biotransformation enzyme (glutathione S-transferase (GST)) and antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx)) in the hepatopancreas of M. nipponense exposed to MC-LR (0.2, 1, 5, and 25 μg/L) for 12, 24, 72 and 96 h were analyzed. The results showed that the isolated full-length cDNAs of cat and gst genes from M. nipponense displayed a high similarity to other crustaceans, and their mRNAs were mainly expressed in the hepatopancreas. MC-LR caused significant increase of GST activity following 48–96 h (p < 0.05) and an increase in SOD activity especially in 24- and 48-h exposures. CAT activity was activated when exposed to MC-LR in 12-, 24- and 48-h exposures and then it was inhibited at 96-h exposure. There was no significant effect on GPx activity after the 12- and 24-h exposures, whereas it was significantly stimulated after the 72- and 96-h exposures (p < 0.05). The transcription was altered similarly to enzyme activity, but the transcriptional response was generally more immediate and had greater amplitude than enzymatic response, particularly for GST. All of the results suggested that MC-LR can induce antioxidative modulation variations in M. nipponense hepatopancreas in order to eliminate oxidative damage.
Abstract: Anuran secretions are rich sources of bioactive molecules, including antimicrobial and antitumoral compounds. The aims of this study were to investigate the therapeutic potential of Physalaemus nattereri skin secretion against skin cancer cells, and to assess its cytotoxic action mechanisms on the murine melanoma cell line B16F10. Our results demonstrated that the crude secretion reduced the viability of B16F10 cells, causing changes in cell morphology (e.g., round shape and structure shrinkage), reduction in mitochondrial membrane potential, increase in phosphatidylserine exposure, and cell cycle arrest in S-phase. Together, these changes suggest that tumor cells die by apoptosis. This skin secretion was also subjected to chromatographic fractioning using RP-HPLC, and eluted fractions were assayed for antiproliferative and antibacterial activities. Three active fractions showed molecular mass components in a range compatible with peptides. Although the specific mechanisms causing the reduced cell viability and cytotoxicity after the treatment with crude secretion are still unknown, it may be considered that molecules, such as the peptides found in the secretion, are effective against B16F10 tumor cells. Considering the growing need for new anticancer drugs, data presented in this study strongly reinforce the validity of P. nattereri crude secretion as a rich source of new anticancer molecules.
Abstract: High accumulations of phytoplankton species that produce toxins are referred to as harmful algal blooms (HABs). HABs represent one of the most important sources of contamination in marine environments, as well as a serious threat to public health, fisheries, aquaculture-based industries, and tourism. Therefore, methods effectively controlling HABs with minimal impact on marine ecology are required. Marine dinoflagellates of the genera Dinophysis and Prorocentrum are representative producers of okadaic acid (OA) and dinophysistoxins responsible for the diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) which is a human intoxication caused by the consumption of shellfish that bioaccumulate those toxins. In this work we explore the use of natural clay for removing Prorocentrum lima. We evaluate the adsorption properties of clays in seawater containing thedinoflagellates. The experimental results confirmed the cell removal through the flocculation of algal and mineral particles leading to the formation of aggregates, which rapidly settle and further entrain cells during their descent. Moreover, the microscopy images of the samples enable one to observe the clays in aggregates of two or more cells where the mineral particles were bound to the outer membranes of the dinoflagellates. Therefore, this preliminary data offers promising results to use these clays for the mitigation of HABs.