Abstract: A duplicate diet study was designed to explore the occurrence of 15 Fusarium mycotoxins in the 24 h-diet consumed by one volunteer as well as the levels of mycotoxins in his 24 h-collected urine. The employed methodology involved solvent extraction at high ionic strength followed by dispersive solid phase extraction and gas chromatography determination coupled to mass spectrometry in tandem. Satisfactory results in method performance were achieved. The method’s accuracy was in a range of 68%–108%, with intra-day relative standard deviation and inter-day relative standard deviation lower than 12% and 15%, respectively. The limits of quantitation ranged from 0.1 to 8 µg/Kg. The matrix effect was evaluated and matrix-matched calibrations were used for quantitation. Only deoxynivalenol (DON) was quantified in both food and urine samples. A total DON daily intake amounted to 49.2 ± 5.6 µg whereas DON daily excretion of 35.2 ± 4.3 µg was determined. DON daily intake represented 68.3% of the established DON provisional maximum tolerable daily intake (PMTDI). Valuable preliminary information was obtained as regards DON excretion and needs to be confirmed in large-scale monitoring studies.
Abstract: Centipedes are among the oldest extant venomous predators on the planet. Armed with a pair of modified, venom-bearing limbs, they are an important group of predatory arthropods and are infamous for their ability to deliver painful stings. Despite this, very little is known about centipede venom and its composition. Advances in analytical tools, however, have recently provided the first detailed insights into the composition and evolution of centipede venoms. This has revealed that centipede venom proteins are highly diverse, with 61 phylogenetically distinct venom protein and peptide families. A number of these have been convergently recruited into the venoms of other animals, providing valuable information on potential underlying causes of the occasionally serious complications arising from human centipede envenomations. However, the majority of venom protein and peptide families bear no resemblance to any characterised protein or peptide family, highlighting the novelty of centipede venoms. This review highlights recent discoveries and summarises the current state of knowledge on the fascinating venom system of centipedes.
Abstract: Ergot is a disease of cereals and grasses caused by fungi in the genus Claviceps.Of particular concern are Claviceps purpurea in temperate regions, C. africana in sorghum (worldwide), and C. fusiformis in pearl millet (Africa, Asia). The fungi infect young, usually unfertilized ovaries, replacing the seeds by dark mycelial masses known as sclerotia. The percentage of sclerotia in marketable grain is strictly regulated in many countries. In winter rye, ergot has been known in Europe since the early Middle Ages. The alkaloids produced by the fungus severely affect the health of humans and warm-blooded animals. In sorghum and pearl millet, ergot became a problem when growers adopted hybrid technology, which increased host susceptibility. Plant traits reducing ergot infection include immediate pollination of receptive stigmas, closed flowering (cleistogamy), and physiological resistance. Genetic, nonpollen-mediated variation in ergot susceptibility could be demonstrated in all three affected cereals. Fungicides have limited efficacy and application is weather dependent. Sorting out the sclerotia from the harvest by photocells is expensive and time consuming. In conclusion, molecular-based hybrid rye breeding could improve pollen fertility by introgressing effective restorer genes thus bringing down the ergot infection level to that of conventional population cultivars. A further reduction might be feasible in the future by selecting more resistant germplasm.
Abstract: Sambucus ebulus L. (dwarf elder) is a medicinal plant, the usefulness of which also as food is restricted due to its toxicity. In the last few years, both the chemistry and pharmacology of Sambucus ebulus L. have been investigated. Among the structural and functional proteins present in the plant, sugar-binding proteins (lectins) with or without anti-ribosomal activity and single chain ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs) have been isolated. RIPs are enzymes (E.C. 22.214.171.124) that display N-glycosidase activity on the 28S rRNA subunit, leading to the inhibition of protein synthesis by arresting the step of polypeptide chain elongation. The biological role of all these proteins is as yet unknown. The evidence suggests that they could be involved in the defense of the plant against predators and viruses or/and a nitrogen store, with an impact on the nutritional characteristics and food safety. In this mini-review we describe all the isoforms of ebulin that have to date been isolated from dwarf elder, as well as their functional characteristics and potential uses, whilst highlighting concern regarding ebulin toxicity.
Abstract: Ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIP) are RNA N-glycosidases that inactivate ribosomes by specifically depurinating a conserved adenine residue at the α-sarcin/ricin loop of 28S rRNA. Recent studies have pointed to the involvement of the C-terminal domain of the eukaryotic stalk proteins in facilitating the toxic action of RIPs. This review highlights how structural studies of eukaryotic stalk proteins provide insights into the recruitment of RIPs to the ribosomes. Since the C-terminal domain of eukaryotic stalk proteins is involved in specific recognition of elongation factors and some eukaryote-specific RIPs (e.g., trichosanthin and ricin), we postulate that these RIPs may have evolved to hijack the translation-factor-recruiting function of ribosomal stalk in reaching their target site of rRNA.
Abstract: The Gram-negative, intracellular bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis causes acute and chronic urogenital tract infection, potentially leading to infertility and ectopic pregnancy. The only partially characterized cytotoxin CT166 of serovar D exhibits a DXD motif, which is important for the enzymatic activity of many bacterial and mammalian type A glycosyltransferases, leading to the hypothesis that CT166 possess glycosyltransferase activity. CT166-expressing HeLa cells exhibit actin reorganization, including cell rounding, which has been attributed to the inhibition of the Rho-GTPases Rac/Cdc42. Exploiting the glycosylation-sensitive Ras(27H5) antibody, we here show that CT166 induces an epitope change in Ras, resulting in inhibited ERK and PI3K signaling and delayed cell cycle progression. Consistent with the hypothesis that these effects strictly depend on the DXD motif, CT166 with the mutated DXD motif causes neither Ras-ERK inhibition nor delayed cell cycle progression. In contrast, CT166 with the mutated DXD motif is still capable of inhibiting cell migration, suggesting that CT166 with the mutated DXD motif cannot be regarded as inactive in any case. Taken together, CT166 affects various fundamental cellular processes, strongly suggesting its importance for the intracellular survival of chlamydia.