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Toxins, Volume 3, Issue 1 (January 2011), Pages 1-119

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Studies in the Use of Magnetic Microspheres for Immunoaffinity Extraction of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning Toxins from Shellfish
Toxins 2011, 3(1), 1-16; doi:10.3390/toxins3010001
Received: 19 November 2010 / Revised: 10 December 2010 / Accepted: 14 December 2010 / Published: 4 January 2011
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (262 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) is a potentially fatal human health condition caused by the consumption of shellfish containing high levels of PSP toxins. Toxin extraction from shellfish and from algal cultures for use as standards and analysis by alternative analytical monitoring methods [...] Read more.
Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) is a potentially fatal human health condition caused by the consumption of shellfish containing high levels of PSP toxins. Toxin extraction from shellfish and from algal cultures for use as standards and analysis by alternative analytical monitoring methods to the mouse bioassay is extensive and laborious. This study investigated whether a selected MAb antibody could be coupled to a novel form of magnetic microsphere (hollow glass magnetic microspheres, brand name Ferrospheres-N) and whether these coated microspheres could be utilized in the extraction of low concentrations of the PSP toxin, STX, from potential extraction buffers and spiked mussel extracts. The feasibility of utilizing a mass of 25 mg of Ferrospheres-N, as a simple extraction procedure for STX from spiked sodium acetate buffer, spiked PBS buffer and spiked mussel extracts was determined. The effects of a range of toxin concentrations (20–300 ng/mL), incubation times and temperature on the capability of the immuno-capture of the STX from the spiked mussel extracts were investigated. Finally, the coated microspheres were tested to determine their efficiency at extracting PSP toxins from naturally contaminated mussel samples. Toxin recovery after each experiment was determined by HPLC analysis. This study on using a highly novel immunoaffinity based extraction procedure, using STX as a model, has indicated that it could be a convenient alternative to conventional extraction procedures used in toxin purification prior to sample analysis. Full article
Open AccessArticle Changes in Astrocyte Shape Induced by Sublytic Concentrations of the Cholesterol-Dependent Cytolysin Pneumolysin Still Require Pore-Forming Capacity
Toxins 2011, 3(1), 43-62; doi:10.3390/toxins3010043
Received: 26 November 2010 / Revised: 30 December 2010 / Accepted: 4 January 2011 / Published: 7 January 2011
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1389 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a common pathogen that causes various infections, such as sepsis and meningitis. A major pathogenic factor of S. pneumoniae is the cholesterol-dependent cytolysin, pneumolysin. It produces cell lysis at high concentrations and apoptosis at lower concentrations. We have shown [...] Read more.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a common pathogen that causes various infections, such as sepsis and meningitis. A major pathogenic factor of S. pneumoniae is the cholesterol-dependent cytolysin, pneumolysin. It produces cell lysis at high concentrations and apoptosis at lower concentrations. We have shown that sublytic amounts of pneumolysin induce small GTPase-dependent actin cytoskeleton reorganization and microtubule stabilization in human neuroblastoma cells that are manifested by cell retraction and changes in cell shape. In this study, we utilized a live imaging approach to analyze the role of pneumolysin’s pore-forming capacity in the actin-dependent cell shape changes in primary astrocytes. After the initial challenge with the wild-type toxin, a permeabilized cell population was rapidly established within 20–40 minutes. After the initial rapid permeabilization, the size of the permeabilized population remained unchanged and reached a plateau. Thus, we analyzed the non-permeabilized (non-lytic) population, which demonstrated retraction and shape changes that were inhibited by actin depolymerization. Despite the non-lytic nature of pneumolysin treatment, the toxin’s lytic capacity remained critical for the initiation of cell shape changes. The non-lytic pneumolysin mutants W433F-pneumolysin and delta6-pneumolysin, which bind the cell membrane with affinities similar to that of the wild-type toxin, were not able to induce shape changes. The initiation of cell shape changes and cell retraction by the wild-type toxin were independent of calcium and sodium influx and membrane depolarization, which are known to occur following cellular challenge and suggested to result from the ion channel-like properties of the pneumolysin pores. Excluding the major pore-related phenomena as the initiation mechanism of cell shape changes, the existence of a more complex relationship between the pore-forming capacity of pneumolysin and the actin cytoskeleton reorganization is suggested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurotoxins of Biological Origin)
Open AccessArticle Loss of msnA, a Putative Stress Regulatory Gene, in Aspergillus parasiticus and Aspergillus flavus Increased Production of Conidia, Aflatoxins and Kojic Acid
Toxins 2011, 3(1), 82-104; doi:10.3390/toxins3010082
Received: 10 November 2010 / Revised: 30 December 2010 / Accepted: 6 January 2011 / Published: 12 January 2011
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (494 KB) | XML Full-text
Abstract
Production of the harmful carcinogenic aflatoxins by Aspergillus parasiticus and Aspergillus flavus has been postulated to be a mechanism to relieve oxidative stress. The msnA gene of A. parasiticus and A. flavus is the ortholog of Saccharomyces cerevisiae MSN2 that is associated [...] Read more.
Production of the harmful carcinogenic aflatoxins by Aspergillus parasiticus and Aspergillus flavus has been postulated to be a mechanism to relieve oxidative stress. The msnA gene of A. parasiticus and A. flavus is the ortholog of Saccharomyces cerevisiae MSN2 that is associated with multi-stress response. Compared to wild type strains, the msnA deletion (∆msnA) strains of A. parasiticus and A. flavus exhibited retarded colony growth with increased conidiation. The ∆msnA strains also produced slightly higher amounts of aflatoxins and elevated amounts of kojic acid on mixed cereal medium. Microarray assays showed that expression of genes encoding oxidative stress defense enzymes, i.e., superoxide dismutase, catalase, and cytochrome c peroxidase in A. parasiticus ∆msnA, and the catalase A gene in A. flavus ∆msnA, was up-regulated. Both A. parasiticus and A. flavus ∆msnA strains produced higher levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and ROS production of A. flavus msnA addback strains was decreased to levels comparable to that of the wild type A. flavus. The msnA gene appears to be required for the maintenance of the normal oxidative state. The impairment of msnA resulted in the aforementioned changes, which might be used to combat the increased oxidative stress in the cells. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Discodermia calyx Toxin Calyculin A Enhances Cyclin D1 Phosphorylation and Degradation, and Arrests Cell Cycle Progression in Human Breast Cancer Cells
Toxins 2011, 3(1), 105-119; doi:10.3390/toxins3010105
Received: 8 October 2010 / Revised: 8 January 2011 / Accepted: 21 January 2011 / Published: 24 January 2011
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (541 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cyclin D1 is a key regulator of the cell cycle that is over expressed in more than half of breast cancer patients. The levels of cyclin D1 are controlled primarily through post-translational mechanisms and phosphorylation of cyclin D1 at T286 induces its [...] Read more.
Cyclin D1 is a key regulator of the cell cycle that is over expressed in more than half of breast cancer patients. The levels of cyclin D1 are controlled primarily through post-translational mechanisms and phosphorylation of cyclin D1 at T286 induces its proteasomal degradation. To date, no studies have explored the involvement of phosphatases in this process. Here we treated human breast cancer cells with the structurally distinct toxins calyculin A, okadaic acid, and cantharidin, which are known to inhibit Ser/Thr phosphatases of the PPP family. At low nanomolar concentrations calyculin A induced T286 phosphorylation and degradation of cyclin D1 via the proteosome in MDA-MB-468 and MDA-MB-231 cells. Cyclin D1 degradation also was dose-dependently induced by okadaic acid and catharidin, implicating a negative regulatory role for type-2A phosphatases. These effects occurred without increasing phosphorylation of p70S6K, cyclin D3, or myosin light chain that were used as endogenous reporters of cellular PP2A and PP1 activity. A reverse phase phosphoprotein array analysis revealed increased phosphorylation of only 6 out of 33 Ser/Thr phosphosites, indicating selective inhibition of phosphatases by calyculin A. Calyculin A treatment induced cell cycle arrest in MDA-MB-468 and MCF-7 breast cancer cells. These findings suggest that a specific pool of type-2A phosphatase is inhibited by calyculin A leading to the degradation of cyclin D1 in human breast cancer cells. The results highlight the utility of toxins as pharmacological probes and points to the T286 cyclin D1 phosphatase inhibited by calyculin A as a possible target for chemotherapy to treat triple negative breast cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxins as Therapeutics)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Peptide Neurotoxins That Affect Voltage-Gated Calcium Channels: A Close-Up on ω-Agatoxins
Toxins 2011, 3(1), 17-42; doi:10.3390/toxins3010017
Received: 14 October 2010 / Revised: 23 December 2010 / Accepted: 30 December 2010 / Published: 4 January 2011
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (483 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Peptide neurotoxins found in animal venoms have gained great interest in the field of neurotransmission. As they are high affinity ligands for calcium, potassium and sodium channels, they have become useful tools for studying channel structure and activity. Peptide neurotoxins represent the [...] Read more.
Peptide neurotoxins found in animal venoms have gained great interest in the field of neurotransmission. As they are high affinity ligands for calcium, potassium and sodium channels, they have become useful tools for studying channel structure and activity. Peptide neurotoxins represent the clinical potential of ion-channel modulators across several therapeutic fields, especially in developing new strategies for treatment of ion channel-related diseases. The aim of this review is to overview the latest updates in the domain of peptide neurotoxins that affect voltage-gated calcium channels, with a special focus on ω-agatoxins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurotoxins of Biological Origin)
Open AccessReview Towards New Uses of Botulinum Toxin as a Novel Therapeutic Tool
Toxins 2011, 3(1), 63-81; doi:10.3390/toxins3010063
Received: 7 December 2010 / Revised: 3 January 2011 / Accepted: 4 January 2011 / Published: 12 January 2011
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (535 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The uses of botulinum toxin in the fields of neurology, ophthalmology, urology, rehabilitation medicine and aesthetic applications have been revolutionary for the treatment of patients. This non-invasive therapeutic has continually been developed since first discovered in the 1970s as a new approach [...] Read more.
The uses of botulinum toxin in the fields of neurology, ophthalmology, urology, rehabilitation medicine and aesthetic applications have been revolutionary for the treatment of patients. This non-invasive therapeutic has continually been developed since first discovered in the 1970s as a new approach to what were previously surgical treatments. As these applications develop, so also the molecules are developing into tools with new therapeutic properties in specific clinical areas. This review examines how the botulinum toxin molecule is being adapted to new therapeutic uses and also how new areas of use for the existing molecules are being identified. Prospects for future developments are also considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxins as Therapeutics)

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