Next Issue
Previous Issue

E-Mail Alert

Add your e-mail address to receive forthcoming issues of this journal:

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Table of Contents

Toxins, Volume 6, Issue 7 (July 2014), Pages 1951-2209

  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-17
Export citation of selected articles as:

Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessEditorial Scorpions: A Presentation
Toxins 2014, 6(7), 2137-2148; doi:10.3390/toxins6072137
Received: 20 December 2013 / Revised: 7 July 2014 / Accepted: 8 July 2014 / Published: 21 July 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (507 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Scorpions, at least the species of the family Buthidæ whose venoms are better known, appear as animals that have evolved very little over time. The composition of their venoms is relatively simple as most toxins have a common structural motif that is [...] Read more.
Scorpions, at least the species of the family Buthidæ whose venoms are better known, appear as animals that have evolved very little over time. The composition of their venoms is relatively simple as most toxins have a common structural motif that is found in other venoms from primitive species. Moreover, all the scorpion venom toxins principally act on membrane ionic channels of excitable cells. The results of recent works lead to the conclusion that in scorpions there is a close relationship between venomous function and innate immune function both remarkably efficient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Scorpion Toxins)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle Comparative Studies of the Venom of a New Taipan Species, Oxyuranus temporalis, with Other Members of Its Genus
Toxins 2014, 6(7), 1979-1995; doi:10.3390/toxins6071979
Received: 5 May 2014 / Revised: 11 June 2014 / Accepted: 16 June 2014 / Published: 2 July 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (900 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Taipans are highly venomous Australo-Papuan elapids. A new species of taipan, the Western Desert Taipan (Oxyuranus temporalis), has been discovered with two specimens housed in captivity at the Adelaide Zoo. This study is the first investigation of O. temporalis venom [...] Read more.
Taipans are highly venomous Australo-Papuan elapids. A new species of taipan, the Western Desert Taipan (Oxyuranus temporalis), has been discovered with two specimens housed in captivity at the Adelaide Zoo. This study is the first investigation of O. temporalis venom and seeks to characterise and compare the neurotoxicity, lethality and biochemical properties of O. temporalis venom with other taipan venoms. Analysis of O. temporalis venom using size-exclusion and reverse-phase HPLC indicated a markedly simplified “profile” compared to other taipan venoms. SDS-PAGE and agarose gel electrophoresis analysis also indicated a relatively simple composition. Murine LD50 studies showed that O. temporalis venom is less lethal than O. microlepidotus venom. Venoms were tested in vitro, using the chick biventer cervicis nerve-muscle preparation. Based on t90 values, O. temporalis venom is highly neurotoxic abolishing indirect twitches far more rapidly than other taipan venoms. O. temporalis venom also abolished responses to exogenous acetylcholine and carbachol, indicating the presence of postsynaptic neurotoxins. Prior administration of CSL Taipan antivenom (CSL Limited) neutralised the inhibitory effects of all taipan venoms. The results of this study suggest that the venom of the O. temporalis is highly neurotoxic in vitro and may contain procoagulant toxins, making this snake potentially dangerous to humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
Open AccessArticle Determination of Urinary Biomarkers for Assessment of Short-Term Human Exposure to Aflatoxins in São Paulo, Brazil
Toxins 2014, 6(7), 1996-2007; doi:10.3390/toxins6071996
Received: 21 May 2014 / Revised: 18 June 2014 / Accepted: 26 June 2014 / Published: 8 July 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (525 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the present study, a longitudinal assessment was carried out to evaluate the short-term human exposure to aflatoxins in Pirassununga region, São Paulo, Brazil, by determination of urinary aflatoxins by a liquid chromatography coupled to mass sprectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) method. Sixteen volunteers with [...] Read more.
In the present study, a longitudinal assessment was carried out to evaluate the short-term human exposure to aflatoxins in Pirassununga region, São Paulo, Brazil, by determination of urinary aflatoxins by a liquid chromatography coupled to mass sprectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) method. Sixteen volunteers with ages ranging from 14 to 55 years old were instructed to collect the early morning first urine four times every three months, from June 2011 to March 2012, totaling 64 samples. Aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) was found in 39 samples (61%) at levels ranging from 0.19 to 12.7 pg·mg−1 creatinine (mean: 1.2 ± 2.0 pg·mg−1 creatinine). Residues of aflatoxins B1, B2, G1, G2 and aflatoxicol were not identified in any urine sample. No significant difference was found among the AFM1 mean levels in urine samples collected in the four sampling periods. The levels of AFM1 found in urine samples indicate a low short-term exposure of the population studied to aflatoxins through the diet, although further investigations are needed to assess other long-term biomarkers of exposure to AFB1. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Efficacy of Bamboo Charcoal in Comparison with Smectite to Reduce the Detrimental Effect of Aflatoxin B1 on In Vitro Rumen Fermentation of a Hay-Rich Feed Mixture
Toxins 2014, 6(7), 2008-2023; doi:10.3390/toxins6072008
Received: 24 April 2014 / Revised: 20 June 2014 / Accepted: 3 July 2014 / Published: 10 July 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (252 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Two commercial materials, a bamboo charcoal (BC) and a smectite clay (SC), were assessed in vitro with aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) in an equilibrium adsorption test. The adsorption capacity and proportion adsorbed (0.381 μg/mg, 0.955) for BC were greater than for SC (0.372 [...] Read more.
Two commercial materials, a bamboo charcoal (BC) and a smectite clay (SC), were assessed in vitro with aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) in an equilibrium adsorption test. The adsorption capacity and proportion adsorbed (0.381 μg/mg, 0.955) for BC were greater than for SC (0.372 μg/mg, 0.931). The effects of in vitro ruminal fermentation of hay-rich feed incubated with 1.0 μg/mL AFB1 for 0–10 g/L doses of BC and SC were measured at 39 °C for 72 h. The BC and SC binders increased AFB1 loss at dosages ≥1.0 g/L (p < 0.0001). Average AFB1 loss (p < 0.0001) was greater for SC (0.904) than BC (0.881). Both SC and SC addition increased in vitro dry matter loss, and the average dry matter losses were similar. Asymptotic gas volume and volatile fatty acid production were greater for BC than for SC (p < 0.0001). Thus, BC may be as effective as SC in removing aflatoxin B1’s detrimental effects on rumen degradability and fermentation under the occurrence of microbial aflatoxin degradation. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle Identification and Characterization of the Insecticidal Toxin “Makes Caterpillars Floppy” in Photorhabdus temperata M1021 Using a Cosmid Library
Toxins 2014, 6(7), 2024-2040; doi:10.3390/toxins6072024
Received: 19 April 2014 / Revised: 20 June 2014 / Accepted: 2 July 2014 / Published: 10 July 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1695 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Photorhabdus temperata is an entomopathogenic enterobacterium; it is a nematode symbiont that possesses pathogenicity islands involved in insect virulence. Herein, we constructed a P. temperata M1021 cosmid library in Escherichia coli XL1-Blue MRF` and obtained 7.14 × 105 clones. However, only [...] Read more.
Photorhabdus temperata is an entomopathogenic enterobacterium; it is a nematode symbiont that possesses pathogenicity islands involved in insect virulence. Herein, we constructed a P. temperata M1021 cosmid library in Escherichia coli XL1-Blue MRF` and obtained 7.14 × 105 clones. However, only 1020 physiologically active clones were screened for insect virulence factors by injection of each E. coli cosmid clone into Galleria mellonella and Tenebrio molitor larvae. A single cosmid clone, PtC1015, was consequently selected due to its characteristic virulent properties, e.g., loss of body turgor followed by death of larvae when the clone was injected into the hemocoel. The sequence alignment against the available sequences in Swiss-Prot and NCBI databases, confirmed the presence of the mcf gene homolog in the genome of P. temperata M1021 showing 85% homology and 98% query coverage with the P. luminescens counterpart. Furthermore, a 2932 amino acid long Mcf protein revealed limited similarity with three protein domains. The N-terminus of the Mcf encompassed consensus sequence for a BH3 domain, the central region revealed similarity to toxin B, and the C-terminus of Mcf revealed similarity to the bacterial export domain of ApxIVA, an RTX-like toxin. In short, the Mcf toxin is likely to play a role in the elimination of insect pests, making it a promising model for use in the agricultural field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
Open AccessArticle Identification of Distinct Bacillus thuringiensis 4A4 Nematicidal Factors Using the Model Nematodes Pristionchus pacificus and Caenorhabditis elegans
Toxins 2014, 6(7), 2050-2063; doi:10.3390/toxins6072050
Received: 14 April 2014 / Revised: 2 June 2014 / Accepted: 27 June 2014 / Published: 14 July 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1116 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Bacillus thuringiensis has been extensively used for the biological control of insect pests. Nematicidal B. thuringiensis strains have also been identified; however, virulence factors of such strains are poorly investigated. Here, we describe virulence factors of the nematicidal B. thuringiensis 4A4 strain, [...] Read more.
Bacillus thuringiensis has been extensively used for the biological control of insect pests. Nematicidal B. thuringiensis strains have also been identified; however, virulence factors of such strains are poorly investigated. Here, we describe virulence factors of the nematicidal B. thuringiensis 4A4 strain, using the model nematodes Pristionchus pacificus and Caenorhabditis elegans. We show that B. thuringiensis 4A4 kills both nematodes via intestinal damage. Whole genome sequencing of B. thuringiensis 4A4 identified Cry21Ha, Cry1Ba, Vip1/Vip2 and β-exotoxin as potential nematicidal factors. Only Cry21Ha showed toxicity to C. elegans, while neither Cry nor Vip toxins were active against P. pacificus, when expressed in E. coli. Purified crystals also failed to intoxicate P. pacificus, while autoclaved spore-crystal mixture of B. thuringiensis 4A4 retained toxicity, suggesting that primary β-exotoxin is responsible for P. pacificus killing. In support of this, we found that a β-exotoxin-deficient variant of B. thuringiensis 4A4, generated by plasmid curing lost virulence to the nematodes. Thus, using two model nematodes we revealed virulence factors of the nematicidal strain B. thuringiensis 4A4 and showed the multifactorial nature of its virulence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue <i>Bacillus thuringiensis</i> Toxins)
Figures

Open AccessArticle The Effect of Experimental Fusarium Mycotoxicosis on Microbiota Diversity in Porcine Ascending Colon Contents
Toxins 2014, 6(7), 2064-2081; doi:10.3390/toxins6072064
Received: 16 April 2014 / Revised: 1 July 2014 / Accepted: 4 July 2014 / Published: 14 July 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (781 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The objective of the study was to determine the effect of exposure of pigs to the Fusarium mycotoxins zearalenone (ZEN) and deoxynivalenol (DON), administered together and separately, on the colon microbiota. An experiment was conducted for 42 days on gilts, randomly assigned [...] Read more.
The objective of the study was to determine the effect of exposure of pigs to the Fusarium mycotoxins zearalenone (ZEN) and deoxynivalenol (DON), administered together and separately, on the colon microbiota. An experiment was conducted for 42 days on gilts, randomly assigned to four groups and administered either ZEN, DON, ZEN+DON, or a placebo. The number of aerobic mesophilic bacteria, yeasts, molds, anaerobic Clostridium perfringens, fecal streptococci, Enterobacteriaceae, Escherichia coli, and lactic acid bacteria (LAB) were determined in the contents of the ascending colon. The influence of mycotoxins on the functional diversity of the colonic microbiota was assessed using EcoPlate tests (Biolog). Analysis revealed the predominance of LAB in all groups of pigs. Zearalenone, administered separately and together with DON, was found to have an adverse effect on mesophilic aerobic bacteria, but only after long exposure to this mycotoxin. During the six weeks of the experiment, the concentration of C. perfringens, E. coli, and other bacteria in the family Enterobacteriaceae was most considerably reduced in the experimental groups exposed to zearalenone, both separately and together with DON. Mycotoxins also affected the functional biodiversity of microorganisms. Both Shannon’s diversity index and the number of catabolized substrates in Biolog plate (the R index) were much higher in the group subjected to mixed mycotoxicosis. Full article
Open AccessArticle Intraspecific Variation of Centruroides Edwardsii Venom from Two Regions of Colombia
Toxins 2014, 6(7), 2082-2096; doi:10.3390/toxins6072082
Received: 4 April 2014 / Revised: 20 May 2014 / Accepted: 6 June 2014 / Published: 14 July 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2814 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We report the first description studies, partial characterization, and intraspecific difference of Centruroides edwardsii, Gervais 1843, venom. C. edwardsii from two Colombian regions (Antioquia and Tolima) were evaluated. Both venoms showed hemolytic activity, possibly dependent of enzymatic active phospholipases, and neither [...] Read more.
We report the first description studies, partial characterization, and intraspecific difference of Centruroides edwardsii, Gervais 1843, venom. C. edwardsii from two Colombian regions (Antioquia and Tolima) were evaluated. Both venoms showed hemolytic activity, possibly dependent of enzymatic active phospholipases, and neither coagulant nor proteolytic activities were observed. Venom electrophoretic profile showed significant differences between C. edwardsii venom from both regions. A high concentration of proteins with molecular masses between 31 kDa and 97.4 kDa, and an important concentration close or below 14.4 kDa were detected. RP-HPLC retention times between 38.2 min and 42.1 min, showed bands close to 14.4 kDa, which may correspond to phospholipases. RP-HPLC venom profile showed a well conserved region in both venoms between 7 and 17 min, after this, significant differences were detected. From Tolima region venom, 50 well-defined peaks were detected, while in the Antioquia region venom, 55 well-defined peaks were detected. Larvicidal activity was only detected in the C. edwardsii venom from Antioquia. No antimicrobial activity was observed using complete venom or RP-HPLC collected fractions of both venoms. Lethally activity (carried out on female albino swiss mice) was detected at doses over 19.2 mg/kg of crude venom. Toxic effects included distress, excitability, eye irritation and secretions, hyperventilation, ataxia, paralysis, and salivation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Tailored Cyclodextrin Pore Blocker Protects Mammalian Cells from Clostridium difficile Binary Toxin CDT
Toxins 2014, 6(7), 2097-2114; doi:10.3390/toxins6072097
Received: 28 May 2014 / Revised: 16 June 2014 / Accepted: 27 June 2014 / Published: 15 July 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (964 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Some Clostridium difficile strains produce, in addition to toxins A and B, the binary toxin Clostridium difficile transferase (CDT), which ADP-ribosylates actin and may contribute to the hypervirulence of these strains. The separate binding and translocation component CDTb mediates transport of the [...] Read more.
Some Clostridium difficile strains produce, in addition to toxins A and B, the binary toxin Clostridium difficile transferase (CDT), which ADP-ribosylates actin and may contribute to the hypervirulence of these strains. The separate binding and translocation component CDTb mediates transport of the enzyme component CDTa into mammalian target cells. CDTb binds to its receptor on the cell surface, CDTa assembles and CDTb/CDTa complexes are internalised. In acidic endosomes, CDTb mediates the delivery of CDTa into the cytosol, most likely by forming a translocation pore in endosomal membranes. We demonstrate that a seven-fold symmetrical positively charged β-cyclodextrin derivative, per-6-S-(3-aminomethyl)benzylthio-β-cyclodextrin, which was developed earlier as a potent inhibitor of the translocation pores of related binary toxins of Bacillus anthracis, Clostridium botulinum and Clostridium perfringens, protects cells from intoxication with CDT. The pore blocker did not interfere with the CDTa-catalyzed ADP-ribosylation of actin or toxin binding to Vero cells but inhibited the pH-dependent membrane translocation of CDTa into the cytosol. In conclusion, the cationic β-cyclodextrin could serve as the lead compound in a development of novel pharmacological strategies against the CDT-producing strains of C. difficile. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intracellular Traffic and Transport of Bacterial Protein Toxins)
Open AccessArticle Toxicity of Parasporin-4 and Health Effects of Pro-parasporin-4 Diet in Mice
Toxins 2014, 6(7), 2115-2126; doi:10.3390/toxins6072115
Received: 4 May 2014 / Revised: 23 June 2014 / Accepted: 8 July 2014 / Published: 16 July 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1126 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Parasporin-4 (PS4) is an aerolysin-type β-pore-forming toxin produced by Bacillus thuringiensis strain A1470. It exhibits specific cytotoxicity against human cancer cell lines; therefore, it is expected to be useful for the diagnosis and treatment of particular types of cancer cells. We examined [...] Read more.
Parasporin-4 (PS4) is an aerolysin-type β-pore-forming toxin produced by Bacillus thuringiensis strain A1470. It exhibits specific cytotoxicity against human cancer cell lines; therefore, it is expected to be useful for the diagnosis and treatment of particular types of cancer cells. We examined the acute toxicity of PS4 on ICR mice. The LD50 value was 160 μg/kg by a subcutaneous route. Potassium, ammonium, magnesium ion, creatinine, and urea nitrogen decreased in urine by the injection of PS4. Simultaneously, creatinine and urea nitrogen in mice serum increased. These results imply that PS4 impairs kidney function in mice. PS4 is obtained from Pro-parasporin-4 (ProPS4) by processing, and ProPS4 is produced by recombinant Escherichia coli as the inclusion body. The inclusion body of ProPS4 can be solubilized in a weak acid solution and activated by pepsin, implying that it would be solubilized and activated in the stomach of mammals after oral administration. Thus, the influence of the oral administration of it by C57BL/6J mice was examined. Although ProPS4 was activated to PS4 in the mouse digestive tract, any serious health hazard was not observed and there was no significant difference in body weight change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue <i>Bacillus thuringiensis</i> Toxins)
Open AccessCommunication Removal of Paralytic Shellfish Toxins by Probiotic Lactic Acid Bacteria
Toxins 2014, 6(7), 2127-2136; doi:10.3390/toxins6072127
Received: 8 June 2014 / Revised: 30 June 2014 / Accepted: 30 June 2014 / Published: 18 July 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (506 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) are non-protein neurotoxins produced by saltwater dinoflagellates and freshwater cyanobacteria. The ability of Lactobacillus rhamnosus strains GG and LC-705 (in viable and non-viable forms) to remove PSTs (saxitoxin (STX), neosaxitoxin (neoSTX), gonyautoxins 2 and 3 (GTX2/3), C-toxins 1 [...] Read more.
Paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) are non-protein neurotoxins produced by saltwater dinoflagellates and freshwater cyanobacteria. The ability of Lactobacillus rhamnosus strains GG and LC-705 (in viable and non-viable forms) to remove PSTs (saxitoxin (STX), neosaxitoxin (neoSTX), gonyautoxins 2 and 3 (GTX2/3), C-toxins 1 and 2 (C1/2)) from neutral and acidic solution (pH 7.3 and 2) was examined using HPLC. Binding decreased in the order of STX ~ neoSTX > C2 > GTX3 > GTX2 > C1. Removal of STX and neoSTX (77%–97.2%) was significantly greater than removal of GTX3 and C2 (33.3%–49.7%). There were no significant differences in toxin removal capacity between viable and non-viable forms of lactobacilli, which suggested that binding rather than metabolism is the mechanism of the removal of toxins. In general, binding was not affected by the presence of other organic molecules in solution. Importantly, this is the first study to demonstrate the ability of specific probiotic lactic bacteria to remove PSTs, particularly the most toxic PST-STX, from solution. Further, these results warrant thorough screening and assessment of safe and beneficial microbes for their usefulness in the seafood and water industries and their effectiveness in vivo. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle Binding Modes of Two Scorpion Toxins to the Voltage-Gated Potassium Channel Kv1.3 Revealed from Molecular Dynamics
Toxins 2014, 6(7), 2149-2161; doi:10.3390/toxins6072149
Received: 30 May 2014 / Revised: 8 July 2014 / Accepted: 10 July 2014 / Published: 22 July 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1369 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are used to examine the binding modes of two scorpion toxins, margatoxin (MgTx) and hongotoxin (HgTx), to the voltage gated K+ channel, Kv1.3. Using steered MD simulations, we insert either Lys28 or Lys35 of the toxins into [...] Read more.
Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are used to examine the binding modes of two scorpion toxins, margatoxin (MgTx) and hongotoxin (HgTx), to the voltage gated K+ channel, Kv1.3. Using steered MD simulations, we insert either Lys28 or Lys35 of the toxins into the selectivity filter of the channel. The MgTx-Kv1.3 complex is stable when the side chain of Lys35 from the toxin occludes the channel filter, suggesting that Lys35 is the pore-blocking residue for Kv1.3. In this complex, Lys28 of the toxin forms one additional salt bridge with Asp449 just outside the filter of the channel. On the other hand, HgTx forms a stable complex with Kv1.3 when the side chain of Lys28 but not Lys35 protrudes into the filter of the channel. A survey of all the possible favorable binding modes of HgTx-Kv1.3 is carried out by rotating the toxin at 3° intervals around the channel axis while the position of HgTx-Lys28 relative to the filter is maintained. We identify two possible favorable binding modes: HgTx-Arg24 can interact with either Asp433 or Glu420 on the vestibular wall of the channel. The dissociation constants calculated from the two binding modes of HgTx-Kv1.3 differ by approximately 20 fold, suggesting that the two modes are of similar energetics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ion Channel Neurotoxins)
Open AccessArticle The Combined Repetitive Oligopeptides of Clostridium difficile Toxin A Counteract Premature Cleavage of the Glucosyl-Transferase Domain by Stabilizing Protein Conformation
Toxins 2014, 6(7), 2162-2176; doi:10.3390/toxins6072162
Received: 22 April 2014 / Revised: 3 July 2014 / Accepted: 4 July 2014 / Published: 22 July 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1589 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Toxin A (TcdA) and B (TcdB) from Clostridium difficile enter host cells by receptor-mediated endocytosis. A prerequisite for proper toxin action is the intracellular release of the glucosyltransferase domain by an inherent cysteine protease, which is allosterically activated by inositol hexaphosphate (IP [...] Read more.
Toxin A (TcdA) and B (TcdB) from Clostridium difficile enter host cells by receptor-mediated endocytosis. A prerequisite for proper toxin action is the intracellular release of the glucosyltransferase domain by an inherent cysteine protease, which is allosterically activated by inositol hexaphosphate (IP6). We found that in in vitro assays, the C-terminally-truncated TcdA1–1065 was more efficient at IP6-induced cleavage compared with full-length TcdA. We hypothesized that the C-terminally-located combined repetitive oligopeptides (CROPs) interact with the N-terminal part of the toxin, thereby preventing autoproteolysis. Glutathione-S-transferase (GST) pull-down assays and microscale thermophoresis confirmed binding between the CROPs and the glucosyltransferase (TcdA1–542) or intermediate (TcdA1102–1847) domain of TcdA, respectively. This interaction between the N- and C-terminus was not found for TcdB. Functional assays revealed that TcdB was more susceptible to inactivation by extracellular IP6-induced cleavage. In vitro autoprocessing and inactivation of TcdA, however, significantly increased, either by acidification of the surrounding milieu or following exchange of its CROP domain by the homologous CROP domain of TcdB. Thus, TcdA CROPs contribute to the stabilization and protection of toxin conformation in addition to function as the main receptor binding domain. Full article
Open AccessArticle Molecular Surface of JZTX-V (β-Theraphotoxin-Cj2a) Interacting with Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel Subtype NaV1.4
Toxins 2014, 6(7), 2177-2193; doi:10.3390/toxins6072177
Received: 15 May 2014 / Revised: 24 June 2014 / Accepted: 3 July 2014 / Published: 23 July 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1602 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs; NaV1.1–NaV1.9) have been proven to be critical in controlling the function of excitable cells, and human genetic evidence shows that aberrant function of these channels causes channelopathies, including epilepsy, arrhythmia, paralytic myotonia, and pain. [...] Read more.
Voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs; NaV1.1–NaV1.9) have been proven to be critical in controlling the function of excitable cells, and human genetic evidence shows that aberrant function of these channels causes channelopathies, including epilepsy, arrhythmia, paralytic myotonia, and pain. The effects of peptide toxins, especially those isolated from spider venom, have shed light on the structure–function relationship of these channels. However, most of these toxins have not been analyzed in detail. In particular, the bioactive faces of these toxins have not been determined. Jingzhaotoxin (JZTX)-V (also known as β-theraphotoxin-Cj2a) is a 29-amino acid peptide toxin isolated from the venom of the spider Chilobrachys jingzhao. JZTX-V adopts an inhibitory cysteine knot (ICK) motif and has an inhibitory effect on voltage-gated sodium and potassium channels. Previous experiments have shown that JZTX-V has an inhibitory effect on TTX-S and TTX-R sodium currents on rat DRG cells with IC50 values of 27.6 and 30.2 nM, respectively, and is able to shift the activation and inactivation curves to the depolarizing and the hyperpolarizing direction, respectively. Here, we show that JZTX-V has a much stronger inhibitory effect on NaV1.4, the isoform of voltage-gated sodium channels predominantly expressed in skeletal muscle cells, with an IC50 value of 5.12 nM, compared with IC50 values of 61.7–2700 nM for other heterologously expressed NaV1 subtypes. Furthermore, we investigated the bioactive surface of JZTX-V by alanine-scanning the effect of toxin on NaV1.4 and demonstrate that the bioactive face of JZTX-V is composed of three hydrophobic (W5, M6, and W7) and two cationic (R20 and K22) residues. Our results establish that, consistent with previous assumptions, JZTX-V is a Janus-faced toxin which may be a useful tool for the further investigation of the structure and function of sodium channels. Full article

Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research

Open AccessReview Impact of Environmental Factors on the Regulation of Cyanotoxin Production
Toxins 2014, 6(7), 1951-1978; doi:10.3390/toxins6071951
Received: 30 April 2014 / Revised: 6 June 2014 / Accepted: 17 June 2014 / Published: 25 June 2014
Cited by 21 | PDF Full-text (1005 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cyanobacteria are capable of thriving in almost all environments. Recent changes in climatic conditions due to increased human activities favor the occurrence and severity of harmful cyanobacterial bloom all over the world. Knowledge of the regulation of cyanotoxins by the various environmental [...] Read more.
Cyanobacteria are capable of thriving in almost all environments. Recent changes in climatic conditions due to increased human activities favor the occurrence and severity of harmful cyanobacterial bloom all over the world. Knowledge of the regulation of cyanotoxins by the various environmental factors is essential for effective management of toxic cyanobacterial bloom. In recent years, progress in the field of molecular mechanisms involved in cyanotoxin production has paved the way for assessing the role of various factors on the cyanotoxin production. In this review, we present an overview of the influence of various environmental factors on the production of major group of cyanotoxins, including microcystins, nodularin, cylindrospermopsin, anatoxins and saxitoxins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genomics and Proteomics of Cyanotoxins)
Open AccessReview Large Outbreaks of Ciguatera after Consumption of Brown Marbled Grouper
Toxins 2014, 6(7), 2041-2049; doi:10.3390/toxins6072041
Received: 23 May 2014 / Revised: 23 June 2014 / Accepted: 25 June 2014 / Published: 11 July 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (608 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Brown marbled grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus) is an apex predator from coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific region. All five published case series of ciguatera after consumption of brown marbled grouper were reviewed to characterize the types, severity and chronicity of ciguatera [...] Read more.
Brown marbled grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus) is an apex predator from coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific region. All five published case series of ciguatera after consumption of brown marbled grouper were reviewed to characterize the types, severity and chronicity of ciguatera symptoms associated with its consumption. Three of these case series were from large outbreaks affecting over 100–200 subjects who had eaten this reef fish served at banquets. Affected subjects generally developed a combination of gastrointestinal, neurological and, less commonly, cardiovascular symptoms. Gastrointestinal symptoms occurred early and generally subsided in 1–2 days. Some neurological symptoms (e.g., paresthesia of four limbs) could last for weeks or months. Sinus bradycardia and hypotension occurred early, but could be severe and prolonged, necessitating the timely use of intravenous fluids, atropine and dopamine. Other cardiovascular and neurological features included atrial ectopics, ventricular ectopics, dyspnea, chest tightness, PR interval >0.2 s, ST segment changes, polymyositis and coma. Concomitant alcohol consumption was associated with a much higher risk of developing bradycardia, hypotension and altered skin sensation. The public should realize that consumption of the high-risk fish (especially the ciguatoxin-rich parts and together with alcohol use) and repeated ciguatoxin exposures will result in more severe and chronic illness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
Open AccessReview Regulation of cry Gene Expression in Bacillus thuringiensis
Toxins 2014, 6(7), 2194-2209; doi:10.3390/toxins6072194
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 11 July 2014 / Accepted: 15 July 2014 / Published: 23 July 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (777 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Bacillus thuringiensis differs from the closely related Bacillus cereus group species by its ability to produce crystalline inclusions. The production of these crystals mainly results from the expression of the cry genes, from the stability of their transcripts and from the synthesis, [...] Read more.
Bacillus thuringiensis differs from the closely related Bacillus cereus group species by its ability to produce crystalline inclusions. The production of these crystals mainly results from the expression of the cry genes, from the stability of their transcripts and from the synthesis, accumulation and crystallization of large amounts of insecticidal Cry proteins. This process normally coincides with sporulation and is regulated by various factors operating at the transcriptional, post-transcriptional, metabolic and post-translational levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue <i>Bacillus thuringiensis</i> Toxins)

Journal Contact

MDPI AG
Toxins Editorial Office
St. Alban-Anlage 66, 4052 Basel, Switzerland
toxins@mdpi.com
Tel. +41 61 683 77 34
Fax: +41 61 302 89 18
Editorial Board
Contact Details Submit to Toxins
Back to Top