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Toxins, Volume 9, Issue 1 (January 2017)

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Cover Story The food toxicologists working on natural toxins should face in the next years the challenge of [...] Read more.
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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review, Other

Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Toxins in 2016
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 30; doi:10.3390/toxins9010030
Received: 11 January 2017 / Revised: 11 January 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 11 January 2017
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Abstract The editors of Toxins would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2016.[...] Full article
Open AccessEditorial Introduction to the Toxins Special Issue on Dietary and Non-Dietary Phytochemicals and Cancer
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 12; doi:10.3390/toxins9010012
Received: 15 December 2016 / Revised: 21 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 28 December 2016
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Abstract
The role of many phytochemicals in the modulation of the carcinogenesis process has been well documented by combining in vitro and animal studies, as well as epidemiological evidence. When acting in synergy, phytochemicals exert potential anti-cancer properties, and much progress has been made
[...] Read more.
The role of many phytochemicals in the modulation of the carcinogenesis process has been well documented by combining in vitro and animal studies, as well as epidemiological evidence. When acting in synergy, phytochemicals exert potential anti-cancer properties, and much progress has been made in defining their many biological activities at the molecular level. However, an interesting feature in the field of phytochemicals and cancer is the role of some phytochemicals in promoting cancer development. This Special Issue of Toxins aims to provide a comprehensive look at the contribution of dietary and non-dietary phytochemicals to cancer development and at the molecular mechanisms by which phytochemicals inhibit or promote cancer.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary and Non-Dietary Phytochemicals and Cancer)
Open AccessEditorial Understanding the Snake Venom Metalloproteinases: An Interview with Jay Fox and José María Gutiérrez
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 33; doi:10.3390/toxins9010033
Received: 3 January 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 16 January 2017
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Abstract
Jay W. Fox and José María Gutiérrez recently finished editing a Special Issue on the topic “Snake Venom Metalloproteinases” in Toxins. The Special Issue covers a wide range of topics, including the molecular evolution and structure of snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMPs), the
[...] Read more.
Jay W. Fox and José María Gutiérrez recently finished editing a Special Issue on the topic “Snake Venom Metalloproteinases” in Toxins. The Special Issue covers a wide range of topics, including the molecular evolution and structure of snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMPs), the mechanisms involved in the generation of diversity of SVMPs, the mechanism of action of SVMPs, and their role in the pathophysiology of envenomings, with implications for improving the therapy of envenomings. In this interview, we discussed with Jay W. Fox and José María Gutiérrez their research on the SVMPs and their perspectives on the future trends and challenges for studying snake venoms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Snake Venom Metalloproteinases)
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Open AccessEditorial Announcing the 2017 Toxins Travel Awards for Post-Doctoral Fellows and Ph.D. Students
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 37; doi:10.3390/toxins9010037
Received: 13 January 2017 / Revised: 13 January 2017 / Accepted: 13 January 2017 / Published: 17 January 2017
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Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

Open AccessArticle A Survey of Aflatoxin-Producing Aspergillus sp. from Peanut Field Soils in Four Agroecological Zones of China
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 40; doi:10.3390/toxins9010040
Received: 25 October 2016 / Revised: 5 January 2017 / Accepted: 6 January 2017 / Published: 20 January 2017
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Abstract
Peanut pods are easily infected by aflatoxin-producing Aspergillus sp.ecies from field soil. To assess the aflatoxin-producing Aspergillus sp. in different peanut field soils, 344 aflatoxin-producing Aspergillus strains were isolated from 600 soil samples of four agroecological zones in China (the Southeast coastal zone
[...] Read more.
Peanut pods are easily infected by aflatoxin-producing Aspergillus sp.ecies from field soil. To assess the aflatoxin-producing Aspergillus sp. in different peanut field soils, 344 aflatoxin-producing Aspergillus strains were isolated from 600 soil samples of four agroecological zones in China (the Southeast coastal zone (SEC), the Yangtze River zone (YZR), the Yellow River zone (YR) and the Northeast zone (NE)). Nearly 94.2% (324/344) of strains were A. flavus and 5.8% (20/344) of strains were A. parasiticus. YZR had the highest population density of Aspergillus sp. and positive rate of aflatoxin production in isolated strains (1039.3 cfu·g−1, 80.7%), the second was SEC (191.5 cfu·g−1, 48.7%), the third was YR (26.5 cfu·g−1, 22.7%), and the last was NE (2.4 cfu·g−1, 6.6%). The highest risk of AFB1 contamination on peanut was in YZR which had the largest number of AFB1 producing isolates in 1g soil, followed by SEC and YR, and the lowest was NE. The potential risk of AFB1 contamination in peanuts can increase with increasing population density and a positive rate of aflatoxin-producing Aspergillus sp. in field soils, suggesting that reducing aflatoxigenic Aspergillus sp. in field soils could prevent AFB1 contamination in peanuts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exposure and Risk Assessment for Mycotoxins)
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Open AccessArticle Modeling Growth and Toxin Production of Toxigenic Fungi Signaled in Cheese under Different Temperature and Water Activity Regimes
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 4; doi:10.3390/toxins9010004
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 20 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 24 December 2016
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate in vitro and model the effect of temperature (T) and water activity (aw) conditions on growth and toxin production by some toxigenic fungi signaled in cheese. Aspergillus versicolor, Penicillium camemberti,
[...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate in vitro and model the effect of temperature (T) and water activity (aw) conditions on growth and toxin production by some toxigenic fungi signaled in cheese. Aspergillus versicolor, Penicillium camemberti, P. citrinum, P. crustosum, P. nalgiovense, P. nordicum, P. roqueforti, P. verrucosum were considered they were grown under different T (0–40 °C) and aw (0.78–0.99) regimes. The highest relative growth occurred around 25 °C; all the fungi were very susceptible to aw and 0.99 was optimal for almost all species (except for A. versicolor, awopt = 0.96). The highest toxin production occurred between 15 and 25 °C and 0.96–0.99 aw. Therefore, during grana cheese ripening, managed between 15 and 22 °C, ochratoxin A (OTA), penitrem A (PA), roquefortine-C (ROQ-C) and mycophenolic acid (MPA) are apparently at the highest production risk. Bete and logistic function described fungal growth under different T and aw regimes well, respectively. Bete function described also STC, PA, ROQ-C and OTA production as well as function of T. These models would be very useful as starting point to develop a mechanistic model to predict fungal growth and toxin production during cheese ripening and to help advising the most proper setting of environmental factors to minimize the contamination risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Understanding Mycotoxin Occurrence in Food and Feed Chains)
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Open AccessArticle Ameliorating Effects of Bacillus subtilis ANSB060 on Growth Performance, Antioxidant Functions, and Aflatoxin Residues in Ducks Fed Diets Contaminated with Aflatoxins
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 1; doi:10.3390/toxins9010001
Received: 22 August 2016 / Revised: 13 December 2016 / Accepted: 15 December 2016 / Published: 22 December 2016
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Abstract
Bacillus subtilis ANSB060 isolated from fish gut is very effective in detoxifying aflatoxins in feed and feed ingredients. The purpose of this research was to investigate the effects of B. subtilis ANSB060 on growth performance, body antioxidant functions, and aflatoxin residues in ducks
[...] Read more.
Bacillus subtilis ANSB060 isolated from fish gut is very effective in detoxifying aflatoxins in feed and feed ingredients. The purpose of this research was to investigate the effects of B. subtilis ANSB060 on growth performance, body antioxidant functions, and aflatoxin residues in ducks fed moldy maize naturally contaminated with aflatoxins. A total of 1500 18-d-old male Cherry Valley ducks with similar body weight were randomly assigned to five treatments with six replicates of 50 ducks per repeat. The experiment design consisted of five dietary treatments labeled as C0 (basal diet containing 60% normal maize), M0 (basal diet containing 60% moldy maize contaminated with aflatoxins substituted for normal maize), M500, M1000, and M2000 (M0 +500, 1000 or 2000 g/t aflatoxin biodegradation preparation mainly consisted of B. subtilis ANSB060). The results showed that ducks fed 22.44 ± 2.46 μg/kg of AFB1 (M0) exhibited a decreasing tendency in average daily gain (ADG) and total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD) activity in serum, and T-SOD and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activities in the liver significantly decreased along with the appearance of AFB1 and AFM1 compared with those in Group C0. The supplementation of B. subtilis ANSB060 into aflatoxin-contaminated diets increased the ADG of ducks (p > 0.05), significantly improved antioxidant enzyme activities, and reduced aflatoxin accumulation in duck liver. In conclusion, Bacillus subtilis ANSB060 in diets showed an ameliorating effect to duck aflatoxicosis and may be a promising feed additive. Full article
Open AccessArticle Role of p38alpha/beta MAP Kinase in Cell Susceptibility to Clostridium sordellii Lethal Toxin and Clostridium difficile Toxin B
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 2; doi:10.3390/toxins9010002
Received: 12 September 2016 / Revised: 16 December 2016 / Accepted: 19 December 2016 / Published: 22 December 2016
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Abstract
Lethal Toxin from Clostridium sordellii (TcsL), which is casually involved in the toxic shock syndrome and in gas gangrene, enters its target cells by receptor-mediated endocytosis. Inside the cell, TcsL mono-O-glucosylates and thereby inactivates Rac/Cdc42 and Ras subtype GTPases, resulting in actin reorganization
[...] Read more.
Lethal Toxin from Clostridium sordellii (TcsL), which is casually involved in the toxic shock syndrome and in gas gangrene, enters its target cells by receptor-mediated endocytosis. Inside the cell, TcsL mono-O-glucosylates and thereby inactivates Rac/Cdc42 and Ras subtype GTPases, resulting in actin reorganization and an activation of p38 MAP kinase. While a role of p38 MAP kinase in TcsL-induced cell death is well established, data on a role of p38 MAP kinase in TcsL-induced actin reorganization are not available. In this study, TcsL-induced Rac/Cdc42 glucosylation and actin reorganization are differentially analyzed in p38alpha−/− MSCV empty vector MEFs and the corresponding cell line with reconstituted p38alpha expression (p38alpha−/− MSCV p38alpha MEFs). Genetic deletion of p38alpha results in reduced susceptibility of cells to TcsL-induced Rac/Cdc42 glucosylation and actin reorganization. Furthermore, SB203580, a pyridinyl imidazole inhibitor of p38alpha/beta MAP kinase, also protects cells from TcsL-induced effects in both p38−/− MSCV empty vector MEFs and in p38alpha−/− MSCV p38alpha MEFs, suggesting that inhibition of p38beta contributes to the protective effect of SB203580. In contrast, the effects of the related C. difficile Toxin B are responsive neither to SB203580 treatment nor to p38alpha deletion. In conclusion, the protective effects of SB203580 and of p38alpha deletion are likely not based on inhibition of the toxins’ glucosyltransferase activity rather than on inhibited endocytic uptake of specifically TcsL into target cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Pharmacological Inhibitors for Bacterial Protein Toxins)
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Open AccessArticle Exon Shuffling and Origin of Scorpion Venom Biodiversity
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 10; doi:10.3390/toxins9010010
Received: 26 July 2016 / Revised: 13 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 26 December 2016
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Abstract
Scorpion venom is a complex combinatorial library of peptides and proteins with multiple biological functions. A combination of transcriptomic and proteomic techniques has revealed its enormous molecular diversity, as identified by the presence of a large number of ion channel-targeted neurotoxins with different
[...] Read more.
Scorpion venom is a complex combinatorial library of peptides and proteins with multiple biological functions. A combination of transcriptomic and proteomic techniques has revealed its enormous molecular diversity, as identified by the presence of a large number of ion channel-targeted neurotoxins with different folds, membrane-active antimicrobial peptides, proteases, and protease inhibitors. Although the biodiversity of scorpion venom has long been known, how it arises remains unsolved. In this work, we analyzed the exon-intron structures of an array of scorpion venom protein-encoding genes and unexpectedly found that nearly all of these genes possess a phase-1 intron (one intron located between the first and second nucleotides of a codon) near the cleavage site of a signal sequence despite their mature peptides remarkably differ. This observation matches a theory of exon shuffling in the origin of new genes and suggests that recruitment of different folds into scorpion venom might be achieved via shuffling between body protein-coding genes and ancestral venom gland-specific genes that presumably contributed tissue-specific regulatory elements and secretory signal sequences. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Evolution of Venom Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Aflatoxin B1-Induced Developmental and DNA Damage in Caenorhabditis elegans
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 9; doi:10.3390/toxins9010009
Received: 17 October 2016 / Revised: 6 December 2016 / Accepted: 22 December 2016 / Published: 26 December 2016
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Abstract
Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is a ubiquitous mycotoxin produced by toxicogenic Aspergillus species. AFB1 has been reported to cause serious adverse health effects, such as cancers and abnormal development and reproduction, in animals and humans. AFB1 is also a
[...] Read more.
Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is a ubiquitous mycotoxin produced by toxicogenic Aspergillus species. AFB1 has been reported to cause serious adverse health effects, such as cancers and abnormal development and reproduction, in animals and humans. AFB1 is also a potent genotoxic mutagen that causes DNA damage in vitro and in vivo. However, the link between DNA damage and abnormal development and reproduction is unclear. To address this issue, we examined the DNA damage, germline apoptosis, growth, and reproductive toxicity following exposure to AFB1, using Caenorhabditis elegans as a study model. Results found that AFB1 induced DNA damage and germline apoptosis, and significantly inhibited growth and reproduction of the nematodes in a concentration-dependent manner. Exposure to AFB1 inhibited growth or reproduction more potently in the DNA repair-deficient xpa-1 nematodes than the wild-type N2 strain. According to the relative expression level of pathway-related genes measured by real-time PCR, the DNA damage response (DDR) pathway was found to be associated with AFB1-induced germline apoptosis, which further played an essential role in the dysfunction of growth and reproduction in C. elegans. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Aflatoxins)
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Open AccessArticle Mycotoxigenic Potentials of Fusarium Species in Various Culture Matrices Revealed by Mycotoxin Profiling
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 6; doi:10.3390/toxins9010006
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 19 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 26 December 2016
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Abstract
In this study, twenty of the most common Fusarium species were molecularly characterized and inoculated on potato dextrose agar (PDA), rice and maize medium, where thirty three targeted mycotoxins, which might be the secondary metabolites of the identified fungal species, were detected by
[...] Read more.
In this study, twenty of the most common Fusarium species were molecularly characterized and inoculated on potato dextrose agar (PDA), rice and maize medium, where thirty three targeted mycotoxins, which might be the secondary metabolites of the identified fungal species, were detected by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Statistical analysis was performed with principal component analysis (PCA) to characterize the mycotoxin profiles for the twenty fungi, suggesting that these fungi species could be discriminated and divided into three groups as follows. Group I, the fusaric acid producers, were defined into two subgroups, namely subgroup I as producers of fusaric acid and fumonisins, comprising of F. proliferatum, F. verticillioides, F. fujikuroi and F. solani, and subgroup II considered to only produce fusaric acid, including F. temperatum, F. subglutinans, F. musae, F. tricinctum, F. oxysporum, F. equiseti, F. sacchari, F. concentricum, F. andiyazi. Group II, as type A trichothecenes producers, included F. langsethiae, F. sporotrichioides, F. polyphialidicum, while Group III were found to mainly produce type B trichothecenes, comprising of F. culmorum, F. poae, F. meridionale and F. graminearum. A comprehensive picture, which presents the mycotoxin-producing patterns by the selected fungal species in various matrices, is obtained for the first time, and thus from an application point of view, provides key information to explore mycotoxigenic potentials of Fusarium species and forecast the Fusarium infestation/mycotoxins contamination. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Novel Toxin from Haplopelma lividum Selectively Inhibits the NaV1.8 Channel and Possesses Potent Analgesic Efficacy
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 7; doi:10.3390/toxins9010007
Received: 15 October 2016 / Revised: 16 December 2016 / Accepted: 19 December 2016 / Published: 26 December 2016
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Abstract
Spider venoms are a complex mixture of peptides with a large number of neurotoxins targeting ion channels. Although thousands of peptide toxins have been identified from venoms of numerous species of spiders, many unknown species urgently need to be investigated. In this study,
[...] Read more.
Spider venoms are a complex mixture of peptides with a large number of neurotoxins targeting ion channels. Although thousands of peptide toxins have been identified from venoms of numerous species of spiders, many unknown species urgently need to be investigated. In this study, a novel sodium channel inhibitor, µ-TRTX-Hl1a, was identified from the venom of Haplopelma lividum. It contained eight cysteines and formed a conserved cysteine pattern of ICK motif. µ-TRTX-Hl1a inhibited the TTX-resistant (TTX-r) sodium channel current rather than the TTX-sensitive (TTX-s) sodium channel current. Meanwhile, µ-TRTX-Hl1a selectively inhibited NaV1.8 with an IC50 value of 2.19 μM. Intraperitoneal injection of µ-TRTX-Hl1a dose-dependently reduced inflammatory and neuropathic pain in rodent models of formalin-induced paw licking, tail-flicking, acetic acid-induced writhing, and hot plate test. It showed a better analgesic effect than morphine in inflammatory pain and equipotent effect to morphine in neuropathic pain. These findings demonstrate that µ-TRTX-Hl1a might be a valuable tool for physiology studies on NaV1.8 and a promising lead molecule for pain therapeutics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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Open AccessArticle Anticonvulsant Effects of Fractions Isolated from Dinoponera quadriceps (Kempt) Ant Venom (Formicidae: Ponerinae)
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 5; doi:10.3390/toxins9010005
Received: 23 May 2016 / Revised: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
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Abstract
Natural products, sources of new pharmacological substances, have large chemical diversity and architectural complexity. In this context, some toxins obtained from invertebrate venoms have anticonvulsant effects. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects about 65 million people worldwide, and approximately 30% of cases
[...] Read more.
Natural products, sources of new pharmacological substances, have large chemical diversity and architectural complexity. In this context, some toxins obtained from invertebrate venoms have anticonvulsant effects. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects about 65 million people worldwide, and approximately 30% of cases are resistant to pharmacological treatment. Previous studies from our group show that the denatured venom of the ant Dinoponera quadriceps (Kempt) protects mice against bicuculline (BIC)-induced seizures and death. The aim of this study was to investigate the anticonvulsant activity of compounds isolated from D. quadriceps venom against seizures induced by BIC in mice. Crude venom was fractionated by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) resulting in six fractions referred to as DqTx1–DqTx6. A liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC/MS) analysis revealed a major 431 Da compound in fractions DqTx1 and DqTx2. Fractions DqTx3 and DqTx4 showed a compound of 2451 Da and DqTx5 revealed a 2436 Da compound. Furthermore, the DqTx6 fraction exhibited a major component with a molecular weight of 13,196 Da. Each fraction (1 mg/mL) was microinjected into the lateral ventricle of mice, and the animals were observed in an open field. We did not observe behavioral alterations when the fractions were given alone. Conversely, when the fractions were microinjected 20 min prior to the administration of BIC (21.6 nM), DqTx1, DqTx4, and DqTx6 fractions increased the latency for onset of tonic-clonic seizures. Moreover, all fractions, except DqTx5, increased latency to death. The more relevant result was obtained with the DqTx6 fraction, which protected 62.5% of the animals against tonic-clonic seizures. Furthermore, this fraction protected 100% of the animals from seizure episodes followed by death. Taken together, these findings indicate that compounds from ant venom might be a potential source of new anticonvulsants molecules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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Open AccessArticle High Uric Acid Ameliorates Indoxyl Sulfate-Induced Endothelial Dysfunction and Is Associated with Lower Mortality among Hemodialysis Patients
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 20; doi:10.3390/toxins9010020
Received: 9 November 2016 / Revised: 22 December 2016 / Accepted: 2 January 2017 / Published: 6 January 2017
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Abstract
High uric acid (UA) can act as a pro-oxidant in normal physiological conditions; however, emerging evidence is still debatable with regard to the association between high UA and poor outcomes among chronic hemodialysis (HD) patients. In the present study, 27,229 stable prevalent HD
[...] Read more.
High uric acid (UA) can act as a pro-oxidant in normal physiological conditions; however, emerging evidence is still debatable with regard to the association between high UA and poor outcomes among chronic hemodialysis (HD) patients. In the present study, 27,229 stable prevalent HD patients were enrolled and divided into four groups according to the quartiles of baseline UA concentration, and 5737 died during a median follow-up of 38 months. Multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that a UA level of <6.1 mg/dL was associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality compared with a UA level of >8.1 mg/dL [HR, 1.20, 95% CI (1.10–1.31)] adjusting for baseline demographic and biochemical parameters. Moreover, a UA level of <6.1 mg/dL was associated with greater risks of cardiovascular mortality [HR, 1.26, 95% CI (1.13–1.41)] and stroke-related mortality [HR, 1.59, 95% CI (1.12–2.25)], respectively. In vitro experiments further showed an increase in oxidative stress and an inhibition nitric oxide synthesis by indoxyl sulfate (IS) in human aortic endothelial cells, which were significantly attenuated by UA in a dose-dependent manner. We concluded that higher UA in serum was associated with lower risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality among HD patients probably through its antioxidant property in ameliorating the IS-related vascular toxicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Issues in Uremic Toxicity)
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Open AccessArticle Are Treated Celiac Patients at Risk for Mycotoxins? An Italian Case-Study
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 11; doi:10.3390/toxins9010011
Received: 11 October 2016 / Revised: 16 December 2016 / Accepted: 20 December 2016 / Published: 28 December 2016
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Abstract
Urinary biomarkers of mycotoxin exposure were evaluated in a group of celiac patients (n = 55) and in a control group of healthy subjects (n = 50) following their habitual diet. Deoxynivalenol (DON), zearalenone (ZEN), and fumonisin B1 (FB1) were monitored
[...] Read more.
Urinary biomarkers of mycotoxin exposure were evaluated in a group of celiac patients (n = 55) and in a control group of healthy subjects (n = 50) following their habitual diet. Deoxynivalenol (DON), zearalenone (ZEN), and fumonisin B1 (FB1) were monitored in 105 urinary samples collected from the two groups. Dietary habits were also recorded through compilation of a seven-day weighed dietary diary. Biomarkers of mycotoxin exposure were detected in 21 celiac patients and in 15 control subjects, corresponding to about 34% of total participants. In particular, ZEN was the most detected mycotoxin among all the studied subjects with a total of 19 positive cases. Results did not show a statistically significant difference in mycotoxin exposure between the two groups, and the presence of specific mycotoxins was not related to the intake of any particular food category. Our findings suggest little urgency of specific regulation for gluten free products, although the prevalence of exposure observed in free-living diets of both celiac and healthy subjects underlines the need of a constant surveillance on mycotoxins occurrence at large. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exposure and Risk Assessment for Mycotoxins)
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Open AccessArticle Above and beyond C5a Receptor Targeting by Staphylococcal Leucotoxins: Retrograde Transport of Panton–Valentine Leucocidin and γ-Hemolysin
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 41; doi:10.3390/toxins9010041
Received: 16 November 2016 / Revised: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 16 January 2017 / Published: 20 January 2017
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Abstract
Various membrane receptors associated with the innate immune response have recently been identified as mediators of the cellular action of Staphylococcus aureus leucotoxins. Two of these, the Panton–Valentine leucotoxin LukS-PV/LukF-PV and the γ-hemolysin HlgC/HlgB, bind the C5a complement-derived peptide receptor. These leucotoxins utilize
[...] Read more.
Various membrane receptors associated with the innate immune response have recently been identified as mediators of the cellular action of Staphylococcus aureus leucotoxins. Two of these, the Panton–Valentine leucotoxin LukS-PV/LukF-PV and the γ-hemolysin HlgC/HlgB, bind the C5a complement-derived peptide receptor. These leucotoxins utilize the receptor to induce intracellular Ca2+ release from internal stores, other than those activated by C5a. The two leucotoxins are internalized with the phosphorylated receptor, but it is unknown whether they divert retrograde transport of the receptor or follow another pathway. Immunolabeling and confocal microscopic techniques were used to analyze the presence of leucotoxins in endosomes, lysosomes, endoplasmic reticulum, and Golgi. The two leucotoxins apparently followed retrograde transport similar to that of the C5a peptide-activated receptor. However, HlgC/HlgB reached the Golgi network very early, whereas LukS-PV/LukF-PV followed slower kinetics. The HlgC/HlgB leucotoxin remained in neutrophils 6 h after a 10-min incubation of the cells in the presence of the toxin with no signs of apoptosis, whereas apoptosis was observed 3 h after neutrophils were incubated with LukS-PV/LukF-PV. Such retrograde transport of leucotoxins provides a novel understanding of the cellular effects initiated by sublytic concentrations of these toxins. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Staphylococcus aureus Toxins)
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Open AccessArticle Gestational Zearalenone Exposure Causes Reproductive and Developmental Toxicity in Pregnant Rats and Female Offspring
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 21; doi:10.3390/toxins9010021
Received: 3 December 2016 / Revised: 29 December 2016 / Accepted: 30 December 2016 / Published: 5 January 2017
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Abstract
Zearalenone (ZEN) is an oestrogenic mycotoxin commonly found in food and feed products and can affect reproduction and development in both humans and animals. This study aimed to determine the toxic effects of ZEN on maternal SD rats and the F1 female offspring.
[...] Read more.
Zearalenone (ZEN) is an oestrogenic mycotoxin commonly found in food and feed products and can affect reproduction and development in both humans and animals. This study aimed to determine the toxic effects of ZEN on maternal SD rats and the F1 female offspring. Sixty-four pregnant rats were divided into 4 groups and exposed to feed contaminated with ZEN (0, 5, 10, and 20 mg/kg feed) on gestational days (GDs) 0–21. Compared with the controls, the groups exposed to 10 and 20 mg/kg ZEN showed significantly decreased feed intake and body weight of pregnant rats and/or female offspring. Meanwhile, 20 mg/kg ZEN significantly decreased the birth weight and viability of F1 newborn rats. Moreover, 10 and 20 mg/kg ZEN diets increased follicle-stimulating hormone concentrations but decreased oestradiol in both maternal and F1 adult rats. In the F1 generation, ZEN caused no pathological changes in ovaries and uterus in weaned rats, but significant follicular atresia and a thinning uterine layer were found in F1 female adult rats in the 20 mg/kg ZEN group. These impairments concurred with the inhibited mRNA and protein levels of oestrogen receptor-alpha (Esr1) and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD) in the adult uterus and/or ovaries. Furthermore, 10 and/or 20 mg/kg ZEN exposure significantly reduced Esr1, gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor (GnRHr), and ATP binding cassette transporters b1 and c1 (ABCb1 and ABCc1) in the placenta and foetal and weaned F1 brains, and also produced a dose-dependent increase in 3β-HSD in the placenta. Additionally, 20 mg/kg ZEN significantly upregulated ABCc5 expression in the placenta and ovaries of weaned rats. These results suggested that prenatal ZEN exposure in rats affected maternal and foetal development and may lead to long-term reproductive impairment in F1 adult females. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exposure and Risk Assessment for Mycotoxins)
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Open AccessArticle The Influence of the Toxin/Antitoxin mazEF on Growth and Survival of Listeria monocytogenes under Stress
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 31; doi:10.3390/toxins9010031
Received: 21 October 2016 / Revised: 31 December 2016 / Accepted: 7 January 2017 / Published: 13 January 2017
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Abstract
A major factor in the resilience of Listeria monocytogenes is the alternative sigma factor B (σB). Type II Toxin/Antitoxin (TA) systems are also known to have a role in the bacterial stress response upon activation via the ClpP or Lon proteases.
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A major factor in the resilience of Listeria monocytogenes is the alternative sigma factor B (σB). Type II Toxin/Antitoxin (TA) systems are also known to have a role in the bacterial stress response upon activation via the ClpP or Lon proteases. Directly upstream of the σB operon in L. monocytogenes is the TA system mazEF, which can cleave mRNA at UACMU sites. In this study, we showed that the mazEF TA locus does not affect the level of persister formation during treatment with antibiotics in lethal doses, but exerts different effects according to the sub-inhibitory stress added. Growth of a ΔmazEF mutant was enhanced relative to the wildtype in the presence of sub-inhibitory norfloxacin and at 42 °C, but was decreased when challenged with ampicillin and gentamicin. In contrast to studies in Staphylococcus aureus, we found that the mazEF locus did not affect transcription of genes within the σB operon, but MazEF effected the expression of the σB-dependent genes opuCA and lmo0880, with a 0.22 and 0.05 fold change, respectively, compared to the wildtype under sub-inhibitory norfloxacin conditions. How exactly this system operates remains an open question, however, our data indicates it is not analogous to the system of S. aureus, suggesting a novel mode of action for MazEF in L. monocytogenes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
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Open AccessArticle Bioactivity of Natural and Engineered Antimicrobial Peptides from Venom of the Scorpions Urodacus yaschenkoi and U. manicatus
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 22; doi:10.3390/toxins9010022
Received: 26 November 2016 / Revised: 26 December 2016 / Accepted: 29 December 2016 / Published: 6 January 2017
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Abstract
The spread of multidrug-resistant human pathogens has drawn attention towards antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which are major players in the innate immune systems of many organisms, including vertebrates, invertebrates, plants and microbes. Scorpion venom is an abundant source of novel and potent AMPs. Here,
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The spread of multidrug-resistant human pathogens has drawn attention towards antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which are major players in the innate immune systems of many organisms, including vertebrates, invertebrates, plants and microbes. Scorpion venom is an abundant source of novel and potent AMPs. Here, we investigated natural and engineered AMPs from the scorpions Urodacus yaschenkoi and U. manicatus to determine their antimicrobial spectra as well as their hemolytic/cytotoxic activity. None of the AMPs were active against fungi, but many of them were active at low concentrations (0.25–30 µM) against seven different bacteria. Hemolytic and cytotoxic activities were determined using pig erythrocytes and baby hamster kidney cells, respectively. The amino acid substitutions in the engineered AMPs did not inhibit cytotoxicity, but reduced hemolysis and therefore increased the therapeutic indices. The phylogenetic analysis of scorpion AMPs revealed they are closely related and the GXK motif is highly conserved. The engineered scorpion AMPs offer a promising alternative for the treatment of multidrug-resistant bacterial infections and could be modified further to reduce their hemolytic/cytotoxic activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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Open AccessArticle Detoxification of Aflatoxin B1 by Zygosaccharomyces rouxii with Solid State Fermentation in Peanut Meal
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 42; doi:10.3390/toxins9010042
Received: 5 December 2016 / Revised: 17 January 2017 / Accepted: 17 January 2017 / Published: 20 January 2017
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Abstract
Aflatoxins are highly carcinogenic, teratogenetic, and morbigenous secondary metabolites of Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus that can contaminate multiple staple foods, such as peanut, maize, and tree nuts. In this study, Zygosaccharomyces rouxii was screened out and identified from fermented soy paste—one kind
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Aflatoxins are highly carcinogenic, teratogenetic, and morbigenous secondary metabolites of Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus that can contaminate multiple staple foods, such as peanut, maize, and tree nuts. In this study, Zygosaccharomyces rouxii was screened out and identified from fermented soy paste—one kind of traditional Chinese food—to detoxify aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) by aerobic solid state fermentation in peanut meal. The optimal degradation condition was chosen from single factor experiment, and the most effective detoxification rate was about 97%. As for liquid fermentation, we tested the binding ability of Z. rouxii, and the highest binding rate reached was 74.3% (nonviable cells of Z. rouxii) in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS). Moreover, the biotransformation of AFB1 through fermentation of Z. rouxii in peanut meal was further verified by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS). According to TIC scan, after fermentation by Z. rouxii, the AFB1 in peanut meal was prominently degraded to the lowering peaks of AFB1. Additionally, m/s statistics demonstrated that AFB1 may be degraded to some new products whose structural properties may be different from AFB1, or the degradation products may be dissolved in the aqueous phase rather than the organic phase. As far as we know, this is the first report indicating that the safe strain of Z. rouxii has the ability to detoxify AFB1. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Auranofin Inhibits the Enzyme Activity of Pasteurella multocida Toxin PMT in Human Cells and Protects Cells from Intoxication
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 32; doi:10.3390/toxins9010032
Received: 16 November 2016 / Revised: 23 December 2016 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 13 January 2017
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Abstract
The AB-type protein toxin from Pasteurella multocida (PMT) contains a functionally important disulfide bond within its catalytic domain, which must be cleaved in the host cell cytosol to render the catalytic domain of PMT into its active conformation. Here, we found that the
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The AB-type protein toxin from Pasteurella multocida (PMT) contains a functionally important disulfide bond within its catalytic domain, which must be cleaved in the host cell cytosol to render the catalytic domain of PMT into its active conformation. Here, we found that the reductive potential of the cytosol of target cells, and more specifically, the activity of the thioredoxin reductase (TrxR) is crucial for this process. This was demonstrated by the strong inhibitory effect of the pharmacological TrxR inhibitor auranofin, which inhibited the intoxication of target cells with PMT, as determined by analyzing the PMT-catalyzed deamidation of GTP-binding proteins (G-proteins) in the cytosol of cells. The amount of endogenous substrate levels modified by PMT in cells pretreated with auranofin was reduced compared to cells treated with PMT alone. Auranofin had no inhibitory effect on the activity of the catalytic domain of constitutively active PMT in vitro, demonstrating that auranofin did not directly inhibit PMT activity, but interferes with the mode of action of PMT in cells. In conclusion, the results show that TrxR is crucial for the mode of action of PMT in mammalian cells, and that the drug auranofin can serve as an efficient inhibitor, which might be a starting point for novel therapeutic options against toxin-associated diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pasteurella multocida and Its Virulence Factors)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of MicroRNA Expression Profiling Involved in MC-LR-Induced Cytotoxicity by High-Throughput Sequencing
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 23; doi:10.3390/toxins9010023
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 3 January 2017 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 7 January 2017
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Abstract
In recent years, microRNAs (miRNAs) in toxicology have attracted great attention. However, the underlying mechanism of miRNAs in the cytotoxicity of microcystin-LR (MC-LR) is lacking. The objective of this study is to analyze miRNA profiling in HepG2 cells after 24 h of MC-LR-exposure
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In recent years, microRNAs (miRNAs) in toxicology have attracted great attention. However, the underlying mechanism of miRNAs in the cytotoxicity of microcystin-LR (MC-LR) is lacking. The objective of this study is to analyze miRNA profiling in HepG2 cells after 24 h of MC-LR-exposure to affirm whether and how miRNAs were involved in the cytotoxicity of MC-LR. The results showed that totally 21 and 37 miRNAs were found to be significantly altered in the MC-LR treated cells at concentrations of 10 and 50 μM, respectively, when compared to the control cells. In these two groups, 37,566 and 39,174 target genes were predicted, respectively. The further analysis showed that MC-LR-exposure promoted the expressions of has-miR-149-3p, has-miR-449c-5p, and has-miR-454-3p while suppressed the expressions of has-miR-4286, has-miR-500a-3p, has-miR-500a-5p, and has-miR-500b-5p in MC-LR-treated groups when compared to the control group. Moreover, the result of qPCR confirmed the above result, suggesting that these miRNAs may be involved in MC-LR-hepatotoxicity and they may play an important role in the hepatitis and liver cancer caused by MC-LR. The target genes for differentially expressed miRNAs in MC-LR treatment groups were significantly enriched to totally 23 classes of GO, in which three were significantly enriched in both 10 and 50 μM MC-LR groups. Moreover, the results of KEGG pathway analysis showed that MC-LR-exposure altered some important signaling pathways such as MAPK, biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, and pyrimidine and purine metabolism, which were possibly negatively regulated by the corresponding miRNAs and might play important role in MC-LR-mediated cytotoxicity in HepG2 cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
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Open AccessArticle Variations of Growth and Toxin Yield in Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii under Different Phosphorus Concentrations
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 13; doi:10.3390/toxins9010013
Received: 6 October 2016 / Revised: 19 December 2016 / Accepted: 24 December 2016 / Published: 29 December 2016
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Abstract
The bloom-forming cyanobacteria, Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii, is a producer of the cytotoxic cylindrospermopsin (CYN). In this study, the growth, toxin yield, and expression of CYN biosynthesis genes of C. raciborskii were examined under varying phosphorus (P) concentrations. The results show the cell number
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The bloom-forming cyanobacteria, Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii, is a producer of the cytotoxic cylindrospermopsin (CYN). In this study, the growth, toxin yield, and expression of CYN biosynthesis genes of C. raciborskii were examined under varying phosphorus (P) concentrations. The results show the cell number at 0.00 and 0.01 mg·L−1 P was significantly lower than that at higher P concentrations (≥0.5 mg·L−1). The chlorophyll a content, filament length, heterocyst, and akinete numbers at P ≤ 0.05 mg·L−1 were also significantly reduced. The intracellular and extracellular CYN concentrations and the extracellular proportions increased during the culture period, and larger values were observed at higher P concentrations. Total CYN content reached 45.34–63.83 fg·cell−1 and extracellular CYN proportion reached 11.49%–20.44% at the stationary growth phase. A significantly positive correlation was observed between CYN production and cell growth rate. Three cyr genes were expressed constantly even at P-deficient conditions. The transcription of cyr genes at P-replete conditions or after P supplementation increased from 1.18-fold to 8.33-fold. In conclusion, C. raciborskii may rapidly reorganize metabolic processes as an adaptive response to environmental P fluctuations. CYN production and cyr gene expression were constitutive metabolic processes in toxic C. raciborskii. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
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Open AccessArticle Detection of Naja atra Cardiotoxin Using Adenosine-Based Molecular Beacon
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 24; doi:10.3390/toxins9010024
Received: 29 October 2016 / Revised: 2 January 2017 / Accepted: 4 January 2017 / Published: 7 January 2017
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Abstract
This study presents an adenosine (A)-based molecular beacon (MB) for selective detection of Naja atra cardiotoxin (CTX) that functions by utilizing the competitive binding between CTX and the poly(A) stem of MB to coralyne. The 5′- and 3′-end of MB were labeled with
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This study presents an adenosine (A)-based molecular beacon (MB) for selective detection of Naja atra cardiotoxin (CTX) that functions by utilizing the competitive binding between CTX and the poly(A) stem of MB to coralyne. The 5′- and 3′-end of MB were labeled with a reporter fluorophore and a non-fluorescent quencher, respectively. Coralyne induced formation of the stem-loop MB structure through A2-coralyne-A2 coordination, causing fluorescence signal turn-off due to fluorescence resonance energy transfer between the fluorophore and quencher. CTX3 could bind to coralyne. Moreover, CTX3 alone induced the folding of MB structure and quenching of MB fluorescence. Unlike that of snake venom α-neurotoxins, the fluorescence signal of coralyne-MB complexes produced a bell-shaped concentration-dependent curve in the presence of CTX3 and CTX isotoxins; a turn-on fluorescence signal was noted when CTX concentration was ≤80 nM, while a turn-off fluorescence signal was noted with a further increase in toxin concentrations. The fluorescence signal of coralyne-MB complexes yielded a bell-shaped curve in response to varying concentrations of N. atra crude venom but not those of Bungarus multicinctus and Protobothrops mucrosquamatus venoms. Moreover, N. nigricollis venom also functioned as N. atra venom to yield a bell-shaped concentration-dependent curve of MB fluorescence signal, again supporting that the hairpin-shaped MB could detect crude venoms containing CTXs. Taken together, our data validate that a platform composed of coralyne-induced stem-loop MB structure selectively detects CTXs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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Open AccessArticle Distinct Neurotoxicity Profile of Listeriolysin O from Listeria monocytogenes
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 34; doi:10.3390/toxins9010034
Received: 22 November 2016 / Revised: 9 January 2017 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 13 January 2017
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Abstract
Cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (CDCs) are protein toxins that originate from Gram-positive bacteria and contribute substantially to their pathogenicity. CDCs bind membrane cholesterol and build prepores and lytic pores. Some effects of the toxins are observed in non-lytic concentrations. Two pathogens, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Listeria
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Cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (CDCs) are protein toxins that originate from Gram-positive bacteria and contribute substantially to their pathogenicity. CDCs bind membrane cholesterol and build prepores and lytic pores. Some effects of the toxins are observed in non-lytic concentrations. Two pathogens, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Listeria monocytogenes, cause fatal bacterial meningitis, and both produce toxins of the CDC family—pneumolysin and listeriolysin O, respectively. It has been demonstrated that pneumolysin produces dendritic varicosities (dendrite swellings) and dendritic spine collapse in the mouse neocortex, followed by synaptic loss and astrocyte cell shape remodeling without elevated cell death. We utilized primary glial cultures and acute mouse brain slices to examine the neuropathological effects of listeriolysin O and to compare it to pneumolysin with identical hemolytic activity. In cultures, listeriolysin O permeabilized cells slower than pneumolysin did but still initiated non-lytic astrocytic cell shape changes, just as pneumolysin did. In an acute brain slice culture system, listeriolysin O produced dendritic varicosities in an NMDA-dependent manner but failed to cause dendritic spine collapse and cortical astrocyte reorganization. Thus, listeriolysin O demonstrated slower cell permeabilization and milder glial cell remodeling ability than did pneumolysin and lacked dendritic spine collapse capacity but exhibited equivalent dendritic pathology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
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Open AccessArticle The Anatomical Basis of Paradoxical Masseteric Bulging after Botulinum Neurotoxin Type A Injection
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 14; doi:10.3390/toxins9010014
Received: 16 November 2016 / Revised: 26 December 2016 / Accepted: 26 December 2016 / Published: 30 December 2016
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine the detailed anatomical structures of the superficial part of the masseter and to elucidate the boundaries and locations of the deep tendon structure within the superficial part of the masseter. Forty-four hemifaces from Korean and
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The aim of this study was to determine the detailed anatomical structures of the superficial part of the masseter and to elucidate the boundaries and locations of the deep tendon structure within the superficial part of the masseter. Forty-four hemifaces from Korean and Thai embalmed cadavers were used in this study. The deep tendon structure was located deep in the lower third of the superficial part of the masseter. It was observed in all specimens and was designated as a deep inferior tendon (DIT). The relationship between the masseter and DIT could be classified into three types according to the coverage pattern: Type A, in which areas IV and V were covered by the DIT (27%, 12/44); Type B, in which areas V and VI were covered by the DIT (23%, 10/44); and Type C, in which areas IV, V, and VI were covered by the DIT (50%, 22/44). The superficial part of the masseter consists of not only the muscle belly but also the deep tendon structure. Based on the results obtained in this morphological study, we recommend performing layer-by-layer retrograde injections into the superficial and deep muscle bellies of the masseter. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Botulinum Toxins on Human Pain)
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Open AccessArticle Unravelling the Diversity of the Cyclopiazonic Acid Family of Mycotoxins in Aspergillus flavus by UHPLC Triple-TOF HRMS
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 35; doi:10.3390/toxins9010035
Received: 9 November 2016 / Revised: 20 December 2016 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 13 January 2017
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Abstract
Cyclopiazonic acid (α-cyclopiazonic acid, α-CPA) is an indole-hydrindane-tetramic acid neurotoxin produced by various fungal species, including the notorious food and feed contaminant Aspergillus flavus. Despite its discovery in A. flavus cultures approximately 40 years ago, its contribution to the A. flavus mycotoxin
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Cyclopiazonic acid (α-cyclopiazonic acid, α-CPA) is an indole-hydrindane-tetramic acid neurotoxin produced by various fungal species, including the notorious food and feed contaminant Aspergillus flavus. Despite its discovery in A. flavus cultures approximately 40 years ago, its contribution to the A. flavus mycotoxin burden is consistently minimized by our focus on the more potent carcinogenic aflatoxins also produced by this fungus. Here, we report the screening and identification of several CPA-type alkaloids not previously found in A. flavus cultures. Our identifications of these CPA-type alkaloids are based on a dereplication strategy involving accurate mass high resolution mass spectrometry data and a careful study of the α-CPA fragmentation pattern. In total, 22 CPA-type alkaloids were identified in extracts from the A. flavus strains examined. Of these metabolites, 13 have been previously reported in other fungi, though this is the first report of their existence in A. flavus. Two of our metabolite discoveries, 11,12-dehydro α-CPA and 3-hydroxy-2-oxo CPA, have never been reported for any organism. The conspicuous presence of CPA and its numerous derivatives in A. flavus cultures raises concerns about the long-term and cumulative toxicological effects of these fungal secondary metabolites and their contributions to the entire A. flavus mycotoxin problem. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Snake Venom Metalloproteinases and Their Peptide Inhibitors from Myanmar Russell’s Viper Venom
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 15; doi:10.3390/toxins9010015
Received: 23 October 2016 / Revised: 21 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 December 2016 / Published: 30 December 2016
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Abstract
Russell’s viper bites are potentially fatal from severe bleeding, renal failure and capillary leakage. Snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMPs) are attributed to these effects. In addition to specific antivenom therapy, endogenous inhibitors from snakes are of interest in studies of new treatment modalities for
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Russell’s viper bites are potentially fatal from severe bleeding, renal failure and capillary leakage. Snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMPs) are attributed to these effects. In addition to specific antivenom therapy, endogenous inhibitors from snakes are of interest in studies of new treatment modalities for neutralization of the effect of toxins. Two major snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMPs): RVV-X and Daborhagin were purified from Myanmar Russell’s viper venom using a new purification strategy. Using the Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) approach to explore the Myanmar RV venom gland transcriptome, mRNAs of novel tripeptide SVMP inhibitors (SVMPIs) were discovered. Two novel endogenous tripeptides, pERW and pEKW were identified and isolated from the crude venom. Both purified SVMPs showed caseinolytic activity. Additionally, RVV-X displayed specific proteolytic activity towards gelatin and Daborhagin showed potent fibrinogenolytic activity. These activities were inhibited by metal chelators. Notably, the synthetic peptide inhibitors, pERW and pEKW, completely inhibit the gelatinolytic and fibrinogenolytic activities of respective SVMPs at 5 mM concentration. These complete inhibitory effects suggest that these tripeptides deserve further study for development of a therapeutic candidate for Russell’s viper envenomation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Snake Venom Metalloproteinases)
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Open AccessArticle Novel Aflatoxin-Degrading Enzyme from Bacillus shackletonii L7
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 36; doi:10.3390/toxins9010036
Received: 22 September 2016 / Revised: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 14 January 2017
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Abstract
Food and feed contamination by aflatoxin (AF)B1 has adverse economic and health consequences. AFB1 degradation by microorganisms or microbial enzymes provides a promising preventive measure. To this end, the present study tested 43 bacterial isolates collected from maize, rice, and soil
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Food and feed contamination by aflatoxin (AF)B1 has adverse economic and health consequences. AFB1 degradation by microorganisms or microbial enzymes provides a promising preventive measure. To this end, the present study tested 43 bacterial isolates collected from maize, rice, and soil samples for AFB1-reducing activity. The higher activity was detected in isolate L7, which was identified as Bacillus shackletonii. L7 reduced AFB1, AFB2, and AFM1 levels by 92.1%, 84.1%, and 90.4%, respectively, after 72 h at 37 °C. The L7 culture supernatant degraded more AFB1 than viable cells and cell extracts; and the degradation activity was reduced from 77.9% to 15.3% in the presence of proteinase K and sodium dodecyl sulphate. A thermostable enzyme purified from the boiled supernatant was designated as Bacillus aflatoxin-degrading enzyme (BADE). An overall 9.55-fold purification of BADE with a recovery of 39.92% and an activity of 3.85 × 103 U·mg−1 was obtained using chromatography on DEAE-Sepharose. BADE had an estimated molecular mass of 22 kDa and exhibited the highest activity at 70 °C and pH 8.0, which was enhanced by Cu2+ and inhibited by Zn2+, Mn2+, Mg2+, and Li+. BADE is the major protein involved in AFB1 detoxification. This is the first report of a BADE isolated from B. shackletonii, which has potential applications in the detoxification of aflatoxins during food and feed processing. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Deoxynivalenol (DON) Contamination of Feed and Grinding Fineness: Are There Interactive Implications on Stomach Integrity and Health of Piglets?
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 16; doi:10.3390/toxins9010016
Received: 27 September 2016 / Revised: 10 December 2016 / Accepted: 26 December 2016 / Published: 1 January 2017
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Abstract
The common feed contaminant deoxynivalenol (DON) was reported to influence the morphology of the pars nonglandularis (PN) of porcine stomach. Moreover, finely ground feed is known to trigger the development of ulcers and other pathologies of PN while coarsely ground feed protects from
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The common feed contaminant deoxynivalenol (DON) was reported to influence the morphology of the pars nonglandularis (PN) of porcine stomach. Moreover, finely ground feed is known to trigger the development of ulcers and other pathologies of PN while coarsely ground feed protects from such lesions. The interactions between grinding fineness and DON contamination of feed were not examined so far. Therefore, both finely and coarsely ground feeds were tested either in the absence or presence of a DON contaminated wheat on growth performance and health of rearing piglets, including stomach integrity. DON contamination significantly reduced feed intake and serum albumin concentration with this effect being more pronounced after feeding the coarsely ground feed. Albeit at a higher level, albumin concentration was also reduced after feeding the finely ground and uncontaminated feed. Finely ground and DON-contaminated feed caused a significantly more pronounced lymphoplasmacytic infiltration both of PN and pars glandularis, partly paralleled by lymph follicle formation and detritus filled foveolae and tubes suggesting a local immune response probably triggered by epithelial lesions. It is concluded that DON contamination of feed exacerbates the adverse effects of finely ground feed on stomach mucosal integrity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
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Open AccessArticle Advanced Oxidation Protein Products-Modified Albumin Induces Differentiation of RAW264.7 Macrophages into Dendritic-Like Cells Which Is Modulated by Cell Surface Thiols
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 27; doi:10.3390/toxins9010027
Received: 28 October 2016 / Revised: 24 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 10 January 2017
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Abstract
Local accumulation of Advanced Oxidation Protein Products (AOPP) induces pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic processes in kidneys and is an independent predictor of renal fibrosis and of rapid decline of eGFR in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). In addition to kidney damage, circulating AOPP
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Local accumulation of Advanced Oxidation Protein Products (AOPP) induces pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic processes in kidneys and is an independent predictor of renal fibrosis and of rapid decline of eGFR in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). In addition to kidney damage, circulating AOPP may be regarded as mediators of systemic oxidative stress and, in this capacity, they might play a role in the progression of atherosclerotic damage of arterial walls. Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that involves activation of innate and adaptive immunity. Dendritic cells (DCs) are key cells in this process, due to their role in antigen presentation, inflammation resolution and T cell activation. AOPP consist in oxidative modifications of proteins (such as albumin and fibrinogen) that mainly occur through myeloperoxidase (MPO)-derived hypochlorite (HOCl). HOCl modified proteins have been found in atherosclerotic lesions. The oxidizing environment and the shifts in cellular redox equilibrium trigger inflammation, activate immune cells and induce immune responses. Thus, surface thiol groups contribute to the regulation of immune functions. The aims of this work are: (1) to evaluate whether AOPP-proteins induce activation and differentiation of mature macrophages into dendritic cells in vitro; and (2) to define the role of cell surface thiol groups and of free radicals in this process. AOPP-proteins were prepared by in vitro incubation of human serum albumin (HSA) with HOCl. Mouse macrophage-like RAW264.7 were treated with various concentrations of AOPP-HSA with or without the antioxidant N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). Following 48 h of HSA-AOPP treatment, RAW264.7 morphological changes were evaluated by microscopic observation, while markers of dendritic lineage and activation (CD40, CD86, and MHC class II) and allogeneic T cell proliferation were evaluated by flow cytometry. Cell surface thiols were measured by AlexaFluor-maleimide binding, and ROS production was assessed as DCF fluorescence by flow cytometry. HSA-AOPP induced the differentiation of RAW264.7 cells into a dendritic-like phenotype, as shown by morphological changes, by increased CD40, CD86 and MHC class II surface expression and by induction of T cell proliferation. The cell surface thiols dose dependently decreased following HSA-AOPP treatment, while ROS production increased. NAC pre-treatment enhanced the amount of cell surface thiols and prevented their reduction due to treatment with AOPP. Both ROS production and RAW264.7 differentiation into DC-like cells induced by HSA-AOPP were reduced by NAC. Our results highlight that oxidized plasma proteins modulate specific immune responses of macrophages through a process involving changes in the thiol redox equilibrium. We suggest that this mechanism may play a role in determining the rapid progression of the atherosclerotic process observed in CKD patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Issues in Uremic Toxicity)
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Open AccessArticle Degradation of Aflatoxins by Means of Laccases from Trametes versicolor: An In Silico Insight
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 17; doi:10.3390/toxins9010017
Received: 16 November 2016 / Revised: 16 December 2016 / Accepted: 26 December 2016 / Published: 1 January 2017
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Abstract
Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites of fungi that contaminate food and feed, and are involved in a series of foodborne illnesses and disorders in humans and animals. The mitigation of mycotoxin content via enzymatic degradation is a strategy to ensure safer food and feed,
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Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites of fungi that contaminate food and feed, and are involved in a series of foodborne illnesses and disorders in humans and animals. The mitigation of mycotoxin content via enzymatic degradation is a strategy to ensure safer food and feed, and to address the forthcoming issues in view of the global trade and sustainability. Nevertheless, the search for active enzymes is still challenging and time-consuming. The in silico analysis may strongly support the research by providing the evidence-based hierarchization of enzymes for a rational design of more effective experimental trials. The present work dealt with the degradation of aflatoxin B1 and M1 by laccase enzymes from Trametes versicolor. The enzymes–substrate interaction for various enzyme isoforms was investigated through 3D molecular modeling techniques. Structural differences among the isoforms have been pinpointed, which may cause different patterns of interaction between aflatoxin B1 and M1. The possible formation of different products of degradation can be argued accordingly. Moreover, the laccase gamma isoform was identified as the most suitable for protein engineering aimed at ameliorating the substrate specificity. Overall, 3D modeling proved to be an effective analytical tool to assess the enzyme–substrate interaction and provided a solid foothold for supporting the search of degrading enzyme at the early stage. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Antagonistic Effect of Mycotoxins Deoxynivalenol and Zearalenone on Metabolic Profiling in Serum and Liver of Mice
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 28; doi:10.3390/toxins9010028
Received: 18 November 2016 / Revised: 26 December 2016 / Accepted: 4 January 2017 / Published: 10 January 2017
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Abstract
Metabolic profiling in liver and serum of mice was studied for the combined toxic effects of deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEN), through gas chromatography mass spectrum. The spectrum of serum and liver sample of mice, treated with individual 2 mg/kg DON, 20 mg/kg
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Metabolic profiling in liver and serum of mice was studied for the combined toxic effects of deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEN), through gas chromatography mass spectrum. The spectrum of serum and liver sample of mice, treated with individual 2 mg/kg DON, 20 mg/kg ZEN, and the combined DON + ZEN with final concentration 2 mg/kg DON and 20 mg/kg ZEN for 21 days, were deconvoluted, aligned and identified with MS DIAL. The data matrix was processed with univariate analysis and multivariate analysis for selection of metabolites with variable importance for the projection (VIP) > 1, t-test p value < 0.05. The metabolic pathway analysis was performed with MetaMapp and drawn by CytoScape. Results show that the combined DON and ZEN treatment has an obvious “antagonistic effect” in serum and liver tissue metabolic profiling of mice. The blood biochemical indexes, like alkaline phosphatase, alanine transaminase, and albumin (ALB)/globulin (GLO), reveal a moderated trend in the combined DON + ZEN treatment group, which is consistent with histopathological examination. The metabolic pathway analysis demonstrated that the combined DON and ZEN treatment could down-regulate the valine, leucine and isoleucine biosynthesis, glycine, serine and threonine metabolism, and O-glycosyl compounds related glucose metabolism in liver tissue. The metabolic profiling in serum confirmed the finding that the combined DON and ZEN treatment has an “antagonistic effect” on liver metabolism of mice. Full article
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Open AccessArticle RnlB Antitoxin of the Escherichia coli RnlA-RnlB Toxin–Antitoxin Module Requires RNase HI for Inhibition of RnlA Toxin Activity
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 29; doi:10.3390/toxins9010029
Received: 28 November 2016 / Revised: 28 December 2016 / Accepted: 5 January 2017 / Published: 11 January 2017
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Abstract
The Escherichia coli RnlA-RnlB toxin–antitoxin system is related to the anti-phage mechanism. Under normal growth conditions, an RnlA toxin with endoribonuclease activity is inhibited by binding of its cognate RnlB antitoxin. After bacteriophage T4 infection, RnlA is activated by the disappearance of RnlB,
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The Escherichia coli RnlA-RnlB toxin–antitoxin system is related to the anti-phage mechanism. Under normal growth conditions, an RnlA toxin with endoribonuclease activity is inhibited by binding of its cognate RnlB antitoxin. After bacteriophage T4 infection, RnlA is activated by the disappearance of RnlB, resulting in the rapid degradation of T4 mRNAs and consequently no T4 propagation when T4 dmd encoding a phage antitoxin against RnlA is defective. Intriguingly, E. coli RNase HI, which plays a key role in DNA replication, is required for the activation of RnlA and stimulates the RNA cleavage activity of RnlA. Here, we report an additional role of RNase HI in the regulation of RnlA-RnlB system. Both RNase HI and RnlB are associated with NRD (one of three domains of RnlA). The interaction between RnlB and NRD depends on RNase HI. Exogenous expression of RnlA in wild-type cells has no effect on cell growth because of endogenous RnlB and this inhibition of RnlA toxicity requires RNase HI and NRD. These results suggest that RNase HI recruits RnlB to RnlA through NRD for inhibiting RnlA toxicity and thus plays two contrary roles in the regulation of RnlA-RnlB system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Current Understanding of Acute Bovine Liver Disease in Australia
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 8; doi:10.3390/toxins9010008
Received: 28 November 2016 / Revised: 21 December 2016 / Accepted: 22 December 2016 / Published: 26 December 2016
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Abstract
Acute bovine liver disease (ABLD) is a hepatotoxicity principally of cattle which occurs in southern regions of Australia. Severely affected animals undergo rapid clinical progression with mortalities often occurring prior to the recognition of clinical signs. Less severely affected animals develop photosensitization and
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Acute bovine liver disease (ABLD) is a hepatotoxicity principally of cattle which occurs in southern regions of Australia. Severely affected animals undergo rapid clinical progression with mortalities often occurring prior to the recognition of clinical signs. Less severely affected animals develop photosensitization and a proportion can develop liver failure. The characteristic histopathological lesion in acute fatal cases is severe, with acute necrosis of periportal hepatocytes with hemorrhage into the necrotic areas. Currently there are a small number of toxins that are known to cause periportal necrosis in cattle, although none of these have so far been linked to ABLD. Furthermore, ABLD has frequently been associated with the presence of rough dog’s tail grass (Cynosurus echinatus) and Drechslera spp. fungi in the pasture system, but it is currently unknown if these are etiological factors. Much of the knowledge about ABLD is contained within case reports, with very little experimental research investigating the specific cause(s). This review provides an overview of the current and most recently published knowledge of ABLD. It also draws on wider research and unpublished reports to suggest possible fungi and mycotoxins that may give rise to ABLD. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Understanding Mycotoxin Occurrence in Food and Feed Chains)
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Open AccessReview The Pathogenetic Effect of Natural and Bacterial Toxins on Atopic Dermatitis
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 3; doi:10.3390/toxins9010003
Received: 22 August 2016 / Revised: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 19 December 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
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Abstract
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common allergic skin disease that is associated with chronic, recurrent eczematous and pruritic lesions at the flexural folds caused by interacting factors related to environmental and immune system changes. AD results in dry skin, and immunoglobulin E-mediated allergic
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Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common allergic skin disease that is associated with chronic, recurrent eczematous and pruritic lesions at the flexural folds caused by interacting factors related to environmental and immune system changes. AD results in dry skin, and immunoglobulin E-mediated allergic reactions to foods and environmental allergens. While steroids and anti-histamines temporarily relieve the symptoms of AD, the possibility of side effects from pharmacological interventions remains. Despite intensive research, the underlying mechanisms for AD have not been clarified. A study of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) established the role of its toxins in the pathogenesis of AD. Approximately 90% of patients with AD experience S. aureus colonization and up to 50%–60% of the colonizing S. aureus is toxin-producing. Any damage to the protective skin barrier allows for the entry of invading allergens and pathogens that further drive the pathogenesis of AD. Some natural toxins (or their components) that have therapeutic effects on AD have been studied. In addition, recent studies on inflammasomes as one component of the innate immune system have been carried out. Additionally, studies on the close relationship between the activation of inflammasomes and toxins in AD have been reported. This review highlights the literature that discusses the pathogenesis of AD, the role of toxins in AD, and the positive and negative effects of toxins on AD. Lastly, suggestions are made regarding the role of inflammasomes in AD. Full article
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Open AccessReview Impact of Indoxyl Sulfate on Progenitor Cell-Related Neovascularization of Peripheral Arterial Disease and Post-Angioplasty Thrombosis of Dialysis Vascular Access
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 25; doi:10.3390/toxins9010025
Received: 4 November 2016 / Revised: 28 December 2016 / Accepted: 4 January 2017 / Published: 7 January 2017
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Abstract
Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have an increased risk of vascular disease, which is associated with considerable health care costs. Vascular disease in CKD differs clinically and pathobiologically from that in patients with normal renal function. Besides the traditional risk factors, retention
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Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have an increased risk of vascular disease, which is associated with considerable health care costs. Vascular disease in CKD differs clinically and pathobiologically from that in patients with normal renal function. Besides the traditional risk factors, retention of uremic toxins contributes to the pathogenesis of vascular disease in patients with CKD. Indoxyl sulfate is a protein-bound uremic toxin and is inefficiently removed by conventional dialysis. Accumulating evidence suggests that indoxyl sulfate is a vascular toxin involved in atherosclerosis, arteriosclerosis, vascular calcification and vascular repair. Clinically, indoxyl sulfate is associated with total and cardiovascular mortality in patients with CKD. Recent studies have indicated that in addition to coronary and cerebral arteries, indoxyl sulfate plays a role in peripheral artery disease (PAD) and dialysis graft thrombosis. Emerging evidence suggests that indoxyl sulfate is implicated via novel mechanisms, including progenitor cell-related neovascularization and tissue factor-related hypercoagulability. These findings raise the possibility that strategies targeting serum indoxyl sulfate may have the potential to improve the outcomes of PAD and dialysis vascular access in patients with CKD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Issues in Uremic Toxicity)
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Open AccessReview The Sulfur Metabolite Lanthionine: Evidence for a Role as a Novel Uremic Toxin
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 26; doi:10.3390/toxins9010026
Received: 26 October 2016 / Revised: 28 December 2016 / Accepted: 2 January 2017 / Published: 10 January 2017
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Abstract
Lanthionine is a nonproteinogenic amino acid, composed of two alanine residues that are crosslinked on their β-carbon atoms by a thioether linkage. It is biosynthesized from the condensation of two cysteine molecules, while the related compound homolanthionine is formed from the condensation of
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Lanthionine is a nonproteinogenic amino acid, composed of two alanine residues that are crosslinked on their β-carbon atoms by a thioether linkage. It is biosynthesized from the condensation of two cysteine molecules, while the related compound homolanthionine is formed from the condensation of two homocysteine molecules. The reactions can be carried out by either cystathionine-β-synthase (CBS) or cystathionine-γ-lyase (CSE) independently, in the alternate reactions of the transsulfuration pathway devoted to hydrogen sulfide biosynthesis. Low plasma total hydrogen sulfide levels, probably due to reduced CSE expression, are present in uremia, while homolanthionine and lanthionine accumulate in blood, the latter several fold. Uremic patients display a derangement of sulfur amino acid metabolism with a high prevalence of hyperhomocysteinemia. Uremia is associated with a high cardiovascular mortality, the causes of which are still not completely explained, but are related to uremic toxicity, due to the accumulation of retention products. Lanthionine inhibits hydrogen sulfide production in hepatoma cells, possibly through CBS inhibition, thus providing some basis for the biochemical mechanism, which may significantly contribute to alterations of metabolism sulfur compounds in these subjects (e.g., high homocysteine and low hydrogen sulfide). We therefore suggest that lanthionine is a novel uremic toxin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Issues in Uremic Toxicity)
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Open AccessReview Historical Perspectives and Guidelines for Botulinum Neurotoxin Subtype Nomenclature
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 38; doi:10.3390/toxins9010038
Received: 9 December 2016 / Revised: 4 January 2017 / Accepted: 7 January 2017 / Published: 18 January 2017
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Abstract
Botulinum neurotoxins are diverse proteins. They are currently represented by at least seven serotypes and more than 40 subtypes. New clostridial strains that produce novel neurotoxin variants are being identified with increasing frequency, which presents challenges when organizing the nomenclature surrounding these neurotoxins.
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Botulinum neurotoxins are diverse proteins. They are currently represented by at least seven serotypes and more than 40 subtypes. New clostridial strains that produce novel neurotoxin variants are being identified with increasing frequency, which presents challenges when organizing the nomenclature surrounding these neurotoxins. Worldwide, researchers are faced with the possibility that toxins having identical sequences may be given different designations or novel toxins having unique sequences may be given the same designations on publication. In order to minimize these problems, an ad hoc committee consisting of over 20 researchers in the field of botulinum neurotoxin research was convened to discuss the clarification of the issues involved in botulinum neurotoxin nomenclature. This publication presents a historical overview of the issues and provides guidelines for botulinum neurotoxin subtype nomenclature in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
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Open AccessReview Forthcoming Challenges in Mycotoxins Toxicology Research for Safer Food—A Need for Multi-Omics Approach
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 18; doi:10.3390/toxins9010018
Received: 4 November 2016 / Revised: 29 December 2016 / Accepted: 2 January 2017 / Published: 4 January 2017
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Abstract
The presence of mycotoxins in food represents a severe threat for public health and welfare, and poses relevant research challenges in the food toxicology field. Nowadays, food toxicologists have to provide answers to food-related toxicological issues, but at the same time they should
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The presence of mycotoxins in food represents a severe threat for public health and welfare, and poses relevant research challenges in the food toxicology field. Nowadays, food toxicologists have to provide answers to food-related toxicological issues, but at the same time they should provide the appropriate knowledge in background to effectively support the evidence-based decision-making in food safety. Therefore, keeping in mind that regulatory actions should be based on sound scientific findings, the present opinion addresses the main challenges in providing reliable data for supporting the risk assessment of foodborne mycotoxins. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Leading Opinions)
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Open AccessReview The Status of Fusarium Mycotoxins in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Emerging Trends and Post-Harvest Mitigation Strategies towards Food Control
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 19; doi:10.3390/toxins9010019
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 28 December 2016 / Accepted: 2 January 2017 / Published: 5 January 2017
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Abstract
Fusarium fungi are common plant pathogens causing several plant diseases. The presence of these molds in plants exposes crops to toxic secondary metabolites called Fusarium mycotoxins. The most studied Fusarium mycotoxins include fumonisins, zearalenone, and trichothecenes. Studies have highlighted the economic impact of
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Fusarium fungi are common plant pathogens causing several plant diseases. The presence of these molds in plants exposes crops to toxic secondary metabolites called Fusarium mycotoxins. The most studied Fusarium mycotoxins include fumonisins, zearalenone, and trichothecenes. Studies have highlighted the economic impact of mycotoxins produced by Fusarium. These arrays of toxins have been implicated as the causal agents of wide varieties of toxic health effects in humans and animals ranging from acute to chronic. Global surveillance of Fusarium mycotoxins has recorded significant progress in its control; however, little attention has been paid to Fusarium mycotoxins in sub-Saharan Africa, thus translating to limited occurrence data. In addition, legislative regulation is virtually non-existent. The emergence of modified Fusarium mycotoxins, which may contribute to additional toxic effects, worsens an already precarious situation. This review highlights the status of Fusarium mycotoxins in sub-Saharan Africa, the possible food processing mitigation strategies, as well as future perspectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Leading Opinions)

Other

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Open AccessLetter Is the Insect World Overcoming the Efficacy of Bacillus thuringiensis?
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 39; doi:10.3390/toxins9010039
Received: 16 November 2016 / Revised: 5 January 2017 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 18 January 2017
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Abstract
The use of chemical pesticides revolutionized agriculture with the introduction of DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) as the first modern chemical insecticide. However, the effectiveness of DDT and other synthetic pesticides, together with their low cost and ease of use, have led to the generation of
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The use of chemical pesticides revolutionized agriculture with the introduction of DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) as the first modern chemical insecticide. However, the effectiveness of DDT and other synthetic pesticides, together with their low cost and ease of use, have led to the generation of undesirable side effects, such as pollution of water and food sources, harm to non-target organisms and the generation of insect resistance. The alternative comes from biological control agents, which have taken an expanding share in the pesticide market over the last decades mainly promoted by the necessity to move towards more sustainable agriculture. Among such biological control agents, the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and its insecticidal toxins have been the most studied and commercially used biological control agents over the last 40 years. However, some insect pests have acquired field-evolved resistance to the most commonly used Bt-based pesticides, threatening their efficacy, which necessitates the immediate search for novel strains and toxins exhibiting different modes of action and specificities in order to perpetuate the insecticidal potential of this bacterium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
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