Biological Toxins: Challenges and Medical Countermeasures

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2021) | Viewed by 3941

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Institut Pasteur, Département de Microbiologie, Unité des Toxines Bactériennes, CNRS ERL6002, 75724 Paris

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since recent bioterrorists incidents worldwide, dealing with a wide range of biological toxins is now recognized as vital for an effective response to a bioterrorist attack. Adequate preparedness is of utmost importance in a world increasingly dominated by several bioterrorist threat. Raising awareness of international institutions, national governments and other public and private funding sources to the benefits of countermeasures and the need to stockpile them in advance is also paramount. The immense diversity of microorganisms, animals, insects and plants producing toxins, and toxins subtypes, represent a major challenge. As a consequence, there is a pressing need for the development of potential effective countermeasures against biological weapons. Moreover, botulinum toxin is also available in licensed drugs for the treatment of a variety of medical disorders, in addition to increased use in cosmetic and aesthetic medicine.  A wide range of available in vitro analytical tools are currently employed globally for countermeasures assessments. However there is also a need to reduce animal use globally. The evaluation of currently available in vitro methods for replacement of animal tests able to entirely replace animal model will have a great impact on public health and economy.

Dr. Christine Rasetti-Escargueil
Guest Editor

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  • Ricin
  • abrin
  • botulinum neurotoxins
  • staphylococcal enterotoxins
  • saxitoxin
  • detection
  • replacement tests

Published Papers (1 paper)

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14 pages, 3042 KiB  
Ligand-Based Virtual Screening, Molecular Docking, Molecular Dynamics, and MM-PBSA Calculations towards the Identification of Potential Novel Ricin Inhibitors
by Fernanda D. Botelho, Marcelo C. dos Santos, Arlan da S. Gonçalves, Kamil Kuca, Martin Valis, Steven R. LaPlante, Tanos C. C. França and Joyce S. F. D. de Almeida
Toxins 2020, 12(12), 746; - 26 Nov 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3517
Ricin is a toxin found in the castor seeds and listed as a chemical weapon by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) due to its high toxicity combined with the easiness of obtention and lack of available antidotes. The relatively frequent episodes of usage [...] Read more.
Ricin is a toxin found in the castor seeds and listed as a chemical weapon by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) due to its high toxicity combined with the easiness of obtention and lack of available antidotes. The relatively frequent episodes of usage or attempting to use ricin in terrorist attacks reinforce the urge to develop an antidote for this toxin. In this sense, we selected in this work the current RTA (ricin catalytic subunit) inhibitor with the best experimental performance, as a reference molecule for virtual screening in the PubChem database. The selected molecules were then evaluated through docking studies, followed by drug-likeness investigation, molecular dynamics simulations and Molecular Mechanics Poisson–Boltzmann Surface Area (MM-PBSA) calculations. In every step, the selection of molecules was mainly based on their ability to occupy both the active and secondary sites of RTA, which are located right next to each other, but are not simultaneously occupied by the current RTA inhibitors. Results show that the three PubChem compounds 18309602, 18498053, and 136023163 presented better overall results than the reference molecule itself, showing up as new hits for the RTA inhibition, and encouraging further experimental evaluation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Toxins: Challenges and Medical Countermeasures)
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