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Special Issue "Toxins:10th Anniversary"

A special issue of Toxins (ISSN 2072-6651).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Jay Fox

Department of Microbiology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 4349240050
Interests: Snake venom metalloproteinases, SVMPs, ADAMs, Disintegrins, Pathophysiology/Histology, Hemorrhagic toxins, Coagulopathy, Disintegrin-like/Cysteine-rich domains
Guest Editor
Prof. Michel R. Popoff

Bacteries Anaerobies et Toxines, Institut Pasteur, 28 rue du Docteur Roux, Paris 75724, France
E-Mail
Phone: 33 1 45688307
Fax: +33 1 40613123
Interests: bacterial protein toxins; clostridial toxins; pore-forming toxins; cellular uptake of bacterial toxins; Rho-GTPases; interactions of clostridial toxins with the actin cytoskeleton; botulinum neurotoxins; passage of the neurotoxins through epithelial barrier; regulation of clostridial toxin synthesis
Guest Editor
Assoc. Prof. Bryan Grieg Fry

Venom Evolution Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD, 4072, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 61400193182
Interests: venom molecular evolution; phylogenetics and structure-function relationships; toxins
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Sarah De Saeger

Department of Bioanalysis, Laboratory of Food Analysis, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
Website | E-Mail
Interests: mycotoxins; analysis; metabolomics; food safety
Guest Editor
Prof. Vítor Vasconcelos

1. CIIMAR – Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, Matosinhos, Portugal
2. Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Porto University, Porto 4069-007, Portugal
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +351 223401814
Fax: +351 223380609
Interests: blue-biotechnology; emerging marine toxins; bioassay-guided approach; cyanobacteria bioactive compounds
Guest Editor
Dr. Nilgun E. Tumer

Department of Plant Biology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 848-932-6358
Interests: plant, bacterial and fungal toxins, ribosome inactivating proteins, toxin ribosome interactions, toxin mechanism of action, toxin-host interactions
Guest Editor
Prof. R. Vanholder

Nephrology Section, 0K12, Department of Internal Medicine, Ghent University Hospital, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
E-Mail
Phone: ++32475612751
Interests: uremia, chronic kidney disease, hemodialysis, adequacy of dialysis, acute kidney injury

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

To the Toxins MDPI Community: Fellow toxicologists, 2018 is the 10th anniversary of Toxins and I must state this has been an outstanding 10 years for the development of our journal thanks to the scientists who have submitted excellent manuscripts to the journal and our many editors and reviewers who manage the submissions. In 2012, for example, we published 88 manuscripts from a submission of 148. In five short years at close of 2017 our numbers were 748 submissions with 393 publications, an approximate 25:75 ratio of acceptances to publications. This ratio seems to be a stable number for the journal. Furthermore, a key brand mark for our journal is the rapid and effective handling of manuscripts. As of 2017, our time for submission to first decision was 17 days and time to publication for accepted manuscripts 42 days, clearly demonstrating Toxins as a leader for rapid publication of quality manuscripts. Since 2014, our Impact Factor has been above 3 driven by the strength of the high quality reviews we have published. With this as a brief outline of our history I am delighted to announce a 10th anniversary of Toxins Special Review Issue and welcome critical and impactful reviews of the domains represented by Toxins. Please help us celebrate our 10th anniversary and submit your review to the Anniversary Edition.

Prof. Jay Fox
Prof. Michel R. Popoff
Prof. Bryan Grieg Fry
Prof. Sarah De Saeger
Prof. Vítor Vasconcelos
Dr. Nilgun E. Tumer
Prof. R. Vanholder
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxins is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Review

Open AccessFeature PaperReview The Incidence of Marine Toxins and the Associated Seafood Poisoning Episodes in the African Countries of the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea
Received: 27 November 2018 / Revised: 10 January 2019 / Accepted: 10 January 2019 / Published: 21 January 2019
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Abstract
The occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and bacteria can be one of the great threats to public health due to their ability to produce marine toxins (MTs). The most reported MTs include paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs), amnesic shellfish toxins (ASTs), diarrheic shellfish [...] Read more.
The occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and bacteria can be one of the great threats to public health due to their ability to produce marine toxins (MTs). The most reported MTs include paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs), amnesic shellfish toxins (ASTs), diarrheic shellfish toxins (DSTs), cyclic imines (CIs), ciguatoxins (CTXs), azaspiracids (AZTs), palytoxin (PlTXs), tetrodotoxins (TTXs) and their analogs, some of them leading to fatal outcomes. MTs have been reported in several marine organisms causing human poisoning incidents since these organisms constitute the food basis of coastal human populations. In African countries of the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, to date, only South Africa has a specific monitoring program for MTs and some other countries count only with respect to centers of seafood poisoning control. Therefore, the aim of this review is to evaluate the occurrence of MTs and associated poisoning episodes as a contribution to public health and monitoring programs as an MT risk assessment tool for this geographic region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxins:10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessReview Why Are Botulinum Neurotoxin-Producing Bacteria So Diverse and Botulinum Neurotoxins So Toxic?
Received: 14 November 2018 / Revised: 3 January 2019 / Accepted: 9 January 2019 / Published: 11 January 2019
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Abstract
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are the most lethal toxins among all bacterial, animal, plant and chemical poisonous compounds. Although a great effort has been made to understand their mode of action, some questions are still open. Why, and for what benefit, have environmental bacteria [...] Read more.
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are the most lethal toxins among all bacterial, animal, plant and chemical poisonous compounds. Although a great effort has been made to understand their mode of action, some questions are still open. Why, and for what benefit, have environmental bacteria that accidentally interact with their host engineered so diverse and so specific toxins targeting one of the most specialized physiological processes, the neuroexocytosis of higher organisms? The extreme potency of BoNT does not result from only one hyperactive step, but in contrast to other potent lethal toxins, from multi-step activity. The cumulative effects of the different steps, each having a limited effect, make BoNTs the most potent lethal toxins. This is a unique mode of evolution of a toxic compound, the high potency of which results from multiple steps driven by unknown selection pressure, targeting one of the most critical physiological process of higher organisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxins:10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessReview Phylogenetic Comparative Methods can Provide Important Insights into the Evolution of Toxic Weaponry
Toxins 2018, 10(12), 518; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins10120518
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 14 November 2018 / Accepted: 3 December 2018 / Published: 5 December 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (638 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The literature on chemical weaponry of organisms is vast and provides a rich understanding of the composition and mechanisms of the toxins and other components involved. However, an ecological or evolutionary perspective has often been lacking and is largely limited to (1) molecular [...] Read more.
The literature on chemical weaponry of organisms is vast and provides a rich understanding of the composition and mechanisms of the toxins and other components involved. However, an ecological or evolutionary perspective has often been lacking and is largely limited to (1) molecular evolutionary studies of particular toxins (lacking an ecological view); (2) comparisons across different species that ignore phylogenetic relatedness (lacking an evolutionary view); or (3) descriptive studies of venom composition and toxicology that contain post hoc and untested ecological or evolutionary interpretations (a common event but essentially uninformative speculation). Conveniently, comparative biologists have prolifically been developing and using a wide range of phylogenetic comparative methods that allow us to explicitly address many ecological and evolutionary questions relating to venoms and poisons. Nevertheless, these analytical tools and approaches are rarely used and poorly known by biological toxinologists and toxicologists. In this review I aim to (1) introduce phylogenetic comparative methods to the latter audience; (2) highlight the range of questions that can be addressed using them; and (3) encourage biological toxinologists and toxicologists to either seek out adequate training in comparative biology or seek collaboration with comparative biologists to reap the fruits of a powerful interdisciplinary approach to the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxins:10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessReview Natural Products to Fight Cancer: A Focus on Juglans regia
Toxins 2018, 10(11), 469; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins10110469
Received: 27 October 2018 / Revised: 7 November 2018 / Accepted: 9 November 2018 / Published: 14 November 2018
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Abstract
Even if cancer represents a burden for human society, an exhaustive cure has not been discovered yet. Low therapeutic index and resistance to pharmacotherapy are two of the major limits of antitumour treatments. Natural products represent an excellent library of bioactive molecules. Thus, [...] Read more.
Even if cancer represents a burden for human society, an exhaustive cure has not been discovered yet. Low therapeutic index and resistance to pharmacotherapy are two of the major limits of antitumour treatments. Natural products represent an excellent library of bioactive molecules. Thus, tapping into the natural world may prove useful in identifying new therapeutic options with favourable pharmaco-toxicological profiles. Juglans regia, or common walnut, is a very resilient tree that has inhabited our planet for thousands of years. Many studies correlate walnut consumption to beneficial effects towards several chronic diseases, such as cancer, mainly due to the bioactive molecules stored in different parts of the plant. Among others, polyphenols, quinones, proteins, and essential fatty acids contribute to its pharmacologic activity. The present review aims to offer a comprehensive perspective about the antitumour potential of the most promising compounds stored in this plant, such as juglanin, juglone, and the ellagitannin-metabolites urolithins or deriving from walnut dietary intake. All molecules and a chronic intake of the fruit provide tangible anticancer effects. However, the scarcity of studies on humans does not allow results to be conclusive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxins:10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessReview Functional Assays for Measuring the Catalytic Activity of Ribosome Inactivating Proteins
Received: 18 April 2018 / Revised: 1 June 2018 / Accepted: 7 June 2018 / Published: 14 June 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (278 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs) are potent toxins that inactivate ribosomes by catalytically removing a specific adenine from the α-sarcin/ricin loop (SRL) of the large rRNA. Direct assays for measuring depurination activity and indirect assays for measuring the resulting translation inhibition have been employed to [...] Read more.
Ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs) are potent toxins that inactivate ribosomes by catalytically removing a specific adenine from the α-sarcin/ricin loop (SRL) of the large rRNA. Direct assays for measuring depurination activity and indirect assays for measuring the resulting translation inhibition have been employed to determine the enzyme activity of RIPs. Rapid and sensitive methods to measure the depurination activity of RIPs are critical for assessing their reaction mechanism, enzymatic properties, interaction with ribosomal proteins, ribotoxic stress signaling, in the search for inhibitors and in the detection and diagnosis of enteric infections. Here, we review the major assays developed for measuring the catalytic activity of RIPs, discuss their advantages and disadvantages and explain how they are used in understanding the catalytic mechanism, ribosome specificity, and dynamic enzymatic features of RIPs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxins:10th Anniversary)
Open AccessFeature PaperReview Snakebite: When the Human Touch Becomes a Bad Touch
Received: 7 April 2018 / Revised: 19 April 2018 / Accepted: 20 April 2018 / Published: 21 April 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (457 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many issues and complications in treating snakebite are a result of poor human social, economic and clinical intervention and management. As such, there is scope for significant improvements for reducing incidence and increasing patient outcomes. Snakes do not target humans as prey, but [...] Read more.
Many issues and complications in treating snakebite are a result of poor human social, economic and clinical intervention and management. As such, there is scope for significant improvements for reducing incidence and increasing patient outcomes. Snakes do not target humans as prey, but as our dwellings and farms expand ever farther and climate change increases snake activity periods, accidental encounters with snakes seeking water and prey increase drastically. Despite its long history, the snakebite crisis is neglected, ignored, underestimated and fundamentally misunderstood. Tens of thousands of lives are lost to snakebites each year and hundreds of thousands of people will survive with some form of permanent damage and reduced work capacity. These numbers are well recognized as being gross underestimations due to poor to non-existent record keeping in some of the most affected areas. These underestimations complicate achieving the proper recognition of snakebite’s socioeconomic impact and thus securing foreign aid to help alleviate this global crisis. Antivenoms are expensive and hospitals are few and far between, leaving people to seek help from traditional healers or use other forms of ineffective treatment. In some cases, cheaper, inappropriately manufactured antivenom from other regions is used despite no evidence for their efficacy, with often robust data demonstrating they are woefully ineffective in neutralizing many venoms for which they are marketed for. Inappropriate first-aid and treatments include cutting the wound, tourniquets, electrical shock, immersion in ice water, and use of ineffective herbal remedies by traditional healers. Even in the developed world, there are fundamental controversies including fasciotomy, pressure bandages, antivenom dosage, premedication such as adrenalin, and lack of antivenom for exotic snakebites in the pet trade. This review explores the myriad of human-origin factors that influence the trajectory of global snakebite causes and treatment failures and illustrate that snakebite is as much a sociological and economic problem as it is a medical one. Reducing the incidence and frequency of such controllable factors are therefore realistic targets to help alleviate the global snakebite burden as incremental improvements across several areas will have a strong cumulative effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxins:10th Anniversary)
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