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Toxins, Volume 16, Issue 3 (March 2024) – 52 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Heterogeneity in the composition and potency of venom from disparate populations of Eastern Russell’s vipers (Daboia siamensis) has repercussions for the efficacy of antivenoms, which is particularly true when antivenoms are restricted by their geographical utility. In such cases, alternative therapies following envenoming, which are not limited by species specificity, may be employed to complement antivenoms. In this study, the neuromuscular activity of D. siamensis venom from Thailand and Java (Indonesia) and the ability of Thai antivenoms and/or Varespladib to prevent or reverse these effects were explored. With an improvement in recovery from the pre-synaptic effects, the results suggest that small molecule inhibitors may help to relieve antivenom restrictions or improve overall efficacy. View this paper
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18 pages, 2078 KiB  
Article
New Analytical Approach to Quinolizidine Alkaloids and Their Assumed Biosynthesis Pathways in Lupin Seeds
by Dvory Namdar, Patrick P. J. Mulder, Eyal Ben-Simchon, Yael Hacham, Loai Basheer, Ofer Cohen, Marcelo Sternberg and Oren Shelef
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030163 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 819
Abstract
Alkaloids play an essential role in protecting plants against herbivores. Humans can also benefit from the pharmacological effects of these compounds. Plants produce an immense variety of structurally different alkaloids, including quinolizidine alkaloids, a group of bi-, tri-, and tetracyclic compounds produced by [...] Read more.
Alkaloids play an essential role in protecting plants against herbivores. Humans can also benefit from the pharmacological effects of these compounds. Plants produce an immense variety of structurally different alkaloids, including quinolizidine alkaloids, a group of bi-, tri-, and tetracyclic compounds produced by Lupinus species. Various lupin species produce different alkaloid profiles. To study the composition of quinolizidine alkaloids in lupin seeds, we collected 31 populations of two wild species native to Israel, L. pilosus and L. palaestinus, and analyzed their quinolizidine alkaloid contents. Our goal was to study the alkaloid profiles of these two wild species to better understand the challenges and prospective uses of wild lupins. We compared their profiles with those of other commercial and wild lupin species. To this end, a straightforward method for extracting alkaloids from seeds and determining the quinolizidine alkaloid profile by LC–MS/MS was developed and validated in-house. For the quantification of quinolizidine alkaloids, 15 analytical reference standards were used. We used GC–MS to verify and cross-reference the identity of certain alkaloids for which no analytical standards were available. The results enabled further exploration of quinolizidine alkaloid biosynthesis. We reviewed and re-analyzed the suggested quinolizidine alkaloid biosynthesis pathway, including the relationship between the amino acid precursor l-lysine and the different quinolizidine alkaloids occurring in seeds of lupin species. Revealing alkaloid compositions and highlighting some aspects of their formation pathway are important steps in evaluating the use of wild lupins as a novel legume crop. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multi Methods for Detecting Natural Toxins)
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3 pages, 210 KiB  
Editorial
Bacillus thuringiensis: A Broader View of Its Biocidal Activity
by Leopoldo Palma, Diego Herman Sauka and Jorge E. Ibarra
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030162 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 700
Abstract
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a Gram-positive bacterium that forms spores and produces parasporal crystalline inclusions containing Cry and Cyt proteins [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacillus thuringiensis: A Broader View of Its Biocidal Activity)
20 pages, 2131 KiB  
Review
Botulinum Toxin Injections to Manage Sequelae of Peripheral Facial Palsy
by Fabienne Carré, Jérémy Amar, Frédéric Tankéré and Claire Foirest
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030161 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 973
Abstract
Long-standing facial palsy sequelae cause functional, aesthetic, and psychological problems in patients. Botulinum toxin is an effective way to manage them, but no standardized recommendations exist. Through this non-systematic review, we aimed to guide any practitioner willing to master the ins and outs [...] Read more.
Long-standing facial palsy sequelae cause functional, aesthetic, and psychological problems in patients. Botulinum toxin is an effective way to manage them, but no standardized recommendations exist. Through this non-systematic review, we aimed to guide any practitioner willing to master the ins and outs of this activity. We reviewed the existing literature and completed, with our experience as a reference center, different strategies of botulinum toxin injections used in facial palsy patients, including history, physiopathology, facial analysis, dosages, injection sites, and techniques, as well as time intervals between injections. The reader will find all the theorical information needed to best guide injections according to the patient’s complaint, which is the most important information to consider. Full article
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17 pages, 1621 KiB  
Article
Exploration of Cytochrome P450-Related Interactions between Aflatoxin B1 and Tiamulin in Broiler Chickens
by Pan Sun, Orphélie Lootens, Tadele Kabeta, Diethard Reckelbus, Natalia Furman, Xingyuan Cao, Suxia Zhang, Gunther Antonissen, Siska Croubels, Marthe De Boevre and Sarah De Saeger
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 160; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030160 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1174
Abstract
Poultry may face simultaneous exposure to aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) and tiamulin (TIA), given mycotoxin contamination and antibiotic use. As both mycotoxins and antibiotics can affect cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYP450), our study aimed to explore their interaction. We developed UHPLC-MS/MS methods for the first-time [...] Read more.
Poultry may face simultaneous exposure to aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) and tiamulin (TIA), given mycotoxin contamination and antibiotic use. As both mycotoxins and antibiotics can affect cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYP450), our study aimed to explore their interaction. We developed UHPLC-MS/MS methods for the first-time determination of the interaction between TIA and AFB1 in vitro and in vivo in broiler chickens. The inhibition assay showed the half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values of AFB1 and TIA in chicken liver microsomes are more than 7.6 μM, indicating an extremely weak inhibitory effect on hepatic enzymes. Nevertheless, the oral TIA pharmacokinetic results indicated that AFB1 significantly increased the area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUClast) of TIA by 167% (p < 0.01). Additionally, the oral AFB1 pharmacokinetics revealed that TIA increased the AUClast and mean residence time (MRT) of AFB1 by 194% (p < 0.01) and 136%, respectively. These results suggested that the observed inhibition may be influenced by other factors, such as transport. Therefore, it is meaningful to further explore transport and other enzymes, involved in the interaction between AFB1 and TIA. Furthermore, additional clinical studies are necessary to thoroughly assess the safety of co-exposure with mycotoxins and antibiotics. Full article
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20 pages, 2574 KiB  
Article
Comprehensive Analysis of Bufadienolide and Protein Profiles of Gland Secretions from Medicinal Bufo Species
by Yunge Fang, Liangmian Chen, Pengfei Wang, Yating Liu, Yuxiu Wang, Zhimin Wang, Yue Ma and Huimin Gao
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030159 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 733
Abstract
Toad Venom (TV) is the dried product of toxic secretions from Bufo bufo gargarizans Cantor (BgC) or B. melanostictus Schneider (BmS). Given the increasing medical demand and the severe depletion of wild toads, a number of counterfeit TVs appeared on the market, posing challenges [...] Read more.
Toad Venom (TV) is the dried product of toxic secretions from Bufo bufo gargarizans Cantor (BgC) or B. melanostictus Schneider (BmS). Given the increasing medical demand and the severe depletion of wild toads, a number of counterfeit TVs appeared on the market, posing challenges to its quality control. In order to develop an efficient, feasible, and comprehensive approach to evaluate TV quality, a thorough analysis and comparison of chemical compounds among legal species BgC and BmS, as well as the main confusion species B. andrewsi Schmidt (BaS) and B. raddei Strauch (BrS), were conducted by ultra-performance liquid chromatography–quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-Q-TOF/MS), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), sodium dodecylsulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), and Nano LC-MS/MS analyses. We identified 126 compounds, including free or conjugated bufadienolides, indole alkaloids and amino acids, among the four Bufo species. The content of main bufadienolides, such as gamabufotalin, bufotalin, bufalin, cinobufagin, and resibufogenin, and the total protein contents varied widely among 28 batches of TV due to their origin species. The sum of the five bufadienolides within the BgC, BmS, BaS, and BrS samples were 8.15–15.93%, 2.45–4.14%, 11.15–13.50%, and 13.21–14.68%, respectively. The total protein content of BgC (6.9–24.4%) and BaS (19.1–20.6%) samples were higher than that of BmS (4.8–20.4%) and BrS (10.1–13.7%) samples. Additionally, a total of 1357 proteins were identified. There were differences between the protein compositions among the samples of the four Bufo species. The results indicated that BgC TV is of the highest quality; BaS and BrS TV could serve as alternative resources, whereas BmS TV performed poorly overall. This research provides evidence for developing approaches to evaluate TV quality and selecting the proper Bufo species as the origin source of TV listed in the Chinese pharmacopoeia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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21 pages, 588 KiB  
Article
Dietary Exposure and Risk Assessment of Multi-Mycotoxins (AFB1, AFM1, OTA, OTB, DON, T-2 and HT-2) in the Lebanese Food Basket Consumed by Adults: Findings from the Updated Lebanese National Consumption Survey through a Total Diet Study Approach
by Maha Hoteit, Zahraa Abbass, Rouaa Daou, Nikolaos Tzenios, Lamis Chmeis, Joyce Haddad, Mohamad Chahine, Elham Al Manasfi, Abdulrahman Chahine, Omasyarifa Binti Jamal Poh and André El Khoury
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030158 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 915
Abstract
Mycotoxins have been linked to adverse health impacts, including liver cancer and kidney diseases. The objectives of the current study were to evaluate the dietary exposure of Lebanese adults to multi-mycotoxins (aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), aflatoxin M1 (AFM1), ochratoxin A (OTA), ochratoxin B (OTB), [...] Read more.
Mycotoxins have been linked to adverse health impacts, including liver cancer and kidney diseases. The objectives of the current study were to evaluate the dietary exposure of Lebanese adults to multi-mycotoxins (aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), aflatoxin M1 (AFM1), ochratoxin A (OTA), ochratoxin B (OTB), deoxynivalenol (DON), T-2 and HT-2) and to assess their associated health risks. Hence, a nationally representative sample of 449 participants aged 18-64 years old were interviewed to obtain their socio-demographic characteristics, food consumption data and exposure estimates. A food frequency questionnaire and 24 h-recall were used to collect data. The concentration of mycotoxins in all foods consumed by the participants was collected from previous national published studies. The estimated daily intake (EDI), the hazard quotient (HQ) and the margin of exposure (MOE) were calculated. The total exposure to AFB1, AFM1, OTA and DON was 1.26, 0.39, 4.10 and 411.18 ng/kg bw/day, respectively. The MOE to AFB1, AFM1, OTA and DON in the Lebanese food basket was 316, 1454, 3539 and 510, respectively, indicating high health-related risks. Per food items, the MOE to AFB1 was below 10,000 in cereals (466.5), mainly in rice (827.9) and Burgul (4868.5). Similarly, the MOE to OTA in cereals was 1439, in which bread (4022), rice (7589) and bulgur (7628) were considered unsafe. Moreover, the MOE to DON in cereals (605) is alarming, especially in bread (632) and manakesh (6879). The MOE to AFM1 in dairy products was 1454, indicating health-related risks with a focus on yogurt (9788) and labneh (8153). As for the herbs/spices group and traditional dishes, the MOE to AFB1 was relatively lower than 10,000 (3690 and 1625, respectively), with a focus on thyme (2624) and kishik (3297), respectively. It is noteworthy that the MOE to DON and the MOE to OTA in traditional foods and coffee were lower than 10,000 (8047 and 8867, respectively). All hazard quotient (HQ) values were below 1, except the HQ value of milk and dairy products (1.96). The intake of some food groups varied between age categories, corresponding to differences in EDI between them. Thus, it is essential to put control measures in place to decrease the contamination and exposure to mycotoxins by Lebanese consumers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycotoxins: Risk Assessment, Biomonitoring and Toxicology)
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20 pages, 912 KiB  
Article
Paradoxical Exception to Island Tameness: Increased Defensiveness in an Insular Population of Rattlesnakes
by William K. Hayes, Carl E. Person, Gerad A. Fox, Julie L. King, Erick Briggs and Eric C. K. Gren
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030157 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 2030
Abstract
Island tameness results largely from a lack of natural predators. Because some insular rattlesnake populations lack functional rattles, presumably the consequence of relaxed selection from reduced predation, we hypothesized that the Santa Catalina Island, California, USA, population of the southern Pacific rattlesnake ( [...] Read more.
Island tameness results largely from a lack of natural predators. Because some insular rattlesnake populations lack functional rattles, presumably the consequence of relaxed selection from reduced predation, we hypothesized that the Santa Catalina Island, California, USA, population of the southern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus helleri, which possesses a functional rattle), would exhibit a decrement in defensive behavior relative to their mainland counterparts. Contrary to our prediction, rattlesnakes from the island not only lacked tameness compared to mainland snakes, but instead exhibited measurably greater levels of defensiveness. Island snakes attempted to bite 4.7 times more frequently as we endeavored to secure them by hand, and required 2.1-fold more time to be pinned and captured. When induced to bite a beaker after being grasped, the island snakes also delivered 2.1-fold greater quantities of venom when controlling for body size. The additional venom resulted from 2.1-fold larger pulses of venom ejected from the fangs. We found no effects of duration in captivity (2–36 months), which suggests an absence of long-term habituation of antipredator behaviors. Breeding bird surveys and Christmas bird counts indicated reduced population densities of avian predators on Catalina compared to the mainland. However, historical estimates confirmed that populations of foxes and introduced mammalian predators (cats and pigs) and antagonists (herbivorous ungulates) substantially exceeded those on the mainland in recent centuries, and therefore best explain the paradoxically exaggerated defensive behaviors exhibited by Catalina’s rattlesnakes. These findings augment our understanding of anthropogenic effects on the behaviors of island animals and underscore how these effects can negatively affect human safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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13 pages, 2273 KiB  
Article
Cationicity Enhancement on the Hydrophilic Face of Ctriporin Significantly Reduces Its Hemolytic Activity and Improves the Antimicrobial Activity against Antibiotic-Resistant ESKAPE Pathogens
by Xudong Luo, Huan Deng, Li Ding, Xiangdong Ye, Fang Sun, Chenhu Qin and Zongyun Chen
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030156 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 739
Abstract
The ESKAPE pathogen-associated antimicrobial resistance is a global public health issue, and novel therapeutic strategies are urgently needed. The short cationic antimicrobial peptide (AMP) family represents an important subfamily of scorpion-derived AMPs, but high hemolysis and poor antimicrobial activity hinder their therapeutic application. [...] Read more.
The ESKAPE pathogen-associated antimicrobial resistance is a global public health issue, and novel therapeutic strategies are urgently needed. The short cationic antimicrobial peptide (AMP) family represents an important subfamily of scorpion-derived AMPs, but high hemolysis and poor antimicrobial activity hinder their therapeutic application. Here, we recomposed the hydrophilic face of Ctriporin through lysine substitution. We observed non-linear correlations between the physiochemical properties of the peptides and their activities, and significant deviations regarding the changes of antimicrobial activities against different bacterial species, as well as hemolytic activity. Most importantly, we obtained two Ctriporin analogs, CM5 and CM6, these two have significantly reduced hemolytic activity and more potent antimicrobial activities against all tested antibiotic-resistant ESKAPE pathogens. Fluorescence experiments indicated they may perform the bactericidal function through a membrane-lytic action model. Our work sheds light on the potential of CM5 and CM6 in developing novel antimicrobials and gives clues for optimizing peptides from the short cationic AMP family. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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13 pages, 2683 KiB  
Article
Unveiling the Diversity and Modifications of Short Peptides in Buthus martensii Scorpion Venom through Liquid Chromatography-High Resolution Mass Spectrometry
by Ling Zeng, Cangman Zhang, Mingrong Yang, Jianfeng Sun, Jingguang Lu, Huixia Zhang, Jianfeng Qin, Wei Zhang and Zhihong Jiang
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030155 - 16 Mar 2024
Viewed by 908
Abstract
More recently, short peptides in scorpion venom have received much attention because of their potential for drug discovery. Although various biological effects of these short peptides have been found, their studies have been hindered by the lack of structural information especially in modifications. [...] Read more.
More recently, short peptides in scorpion venom have received much attention because of their potential for drug discovery. Although various biological effects of these short peptides have been found, their studies have been hindered by the lack of structural information especially in modifications. In this study, small peptides from scorpion venom were investigated using high-performance liquid chromatography high-resolution mass spectrometry followed by de novo sequencing. A total of 156 sequences consisting of 2~12 amino acids were temporarily identified from Buthus martensii scorpion venom. The identified peptides exhibited various post-translational modifications including N-terminal and C-terminal modifications, in which the N-benzoyl modification was first found in scorpion venom. Moreover, a short peptide Bz-ARF-NH2 demonstrated both N-terminal and C-terminal modifications simultaneously, which is extremely rare in natural peptides. In conclusion, this study provides a comprehensive insight into the diversity, modifications, and potential bioactivities of short peptides in scorpion venom. Full article
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14 pages, 2387 KiB  
Article
The Effects of T-2 Toxin, Deoxynivalenol, and Fumonisin B1 on Oxidative Stress-Related Genes in the Kidneys of Laying Hens
by Benjamin Kövesi, Szabina Kulcsár, Zsolt Ancsin, Márta Erdélyi, Erika Zándoki, Patrik Gömbös, Krisztián Balogh and Miklós Mézes
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 154; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030154 - 16 Mar 2024
Viewed by 982
Abstract
In the context of nephrotoxic risks associated with environmental contaminants, this study focused on the impact of mycotoxin exposure on the renal health of laying hens, with particular attention to oxidative stress pathways. Sixty laying hens were assigned to three groups—a control group [...] Read more.
In the context of nephrotoxic risks associated with environmental contaminants, this study focused on the impact of mycotoxin exposure on the renal health of laying hens, with particular attention to oxidative stress pathways. Sixty laying hens were assigned to three groups—a control group (CON), a low-dose mycotoxin group (LOW), and a high-dose mycotoxin group (HIGH)—and monitored for 72 h. Mycotoxin contamination involved T-2/HT-2 toxin, DON/3-AcDON/15-AcDON, and FB1 at their EU-recommended levels (low mix) and at double doses (high mix). Clinical assessments revealed no signs of toxicity or notable weight changes. Analysis of the glutathione redox system parameters demonstrated that the reduced glutathione content was lower than that in the controls at 48 h and higher at 72 h. Glutathione peroxidase activity increased in response to mycotoxin exposure. In addition, the gene expression patterns of key redox-sensitive pathways, including Keap1-Nrf2-ARE and the AhR pathway, were examined. Notably, gene expression profiles revealed dynamic responses to mycotoxin exposure over time, underscoring the intricate interplay of redox-related mechanisms in the kidney. This study sheds light on the early effects of mycotoxin mixtures on laying hens’ kidneys and their potential for oxidative stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
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20 pages, 10428 KiB  
Systematic Review
Botulinum Toxin for Pain Relief in Cancer Patients: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials
by Lorenzo Lippi, Alessandro de Sire, Alessio Turco, Martina Ferrillo, Serdar Kesikburun, Alessio Baricich, Stefano Carda and Marco Invernizzi
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030153 - 15 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1015
Abstract
Cancer pain is one of the most disabling symptoms complained by cancer patients, with a crucial impact on physical and psychological well-being. Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) type A and B have emerged as potential interventions for chronic pain; however, their role in these patients [...] Read more.
Cancer pain is one of the most disabling symptoms complained by cancer patients, with a crucial impact on physical and psychological well-being. Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) type A and B have emerged as potential interventions for chronic pain; however, their role in these patients is still debated. Thus, this systematic review of randomized controlled trials aimed at assessing the effects of BoNT treatment for cancer pain to guide physicians in an evidence-based approach integrating BoNT in cancer care. Out of 5824 records, 10 RCTs satisfied our eligibility criteria and were included in the present work for a total of 413 subjects with several cancer types (breast, head and neck, esophageal, and thoracic/gastric cancers). While some studies demonstrated significant pain reduction and improved quality of life post-BoNT-A injections, outcomes across different cancer types were inconclusive. Additionally, several effects were observed in functioning, dysphagia, salivary outcomes, esophageal strictures, gastric emptying, and expansions. This review emphasizes the need for further standardized research to conclusively establish the efficacy of BoNT in comprehensive cancer pain management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Uses of Botulinum Toxin Injection in Medicine)
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17 pages, 6414 KiB  
Article
Immunochemical Recognition of Bothrops rhombeatus Venom by Two Polyvalent Antivenoms
by Karen Sarmiento, Jorge Zambrano, Carlos Galvis, Álvaro Molina-Olivares, Marisol Margarita Villadiego-Molinares, Johanna Alejandra Ramírez-Martínez, Ana Lucía Castiblanco and Fabio A. Aristizabal
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030152 - 15 Mar 2024
Viewed by 959
Abstract
The protein profile of Bothrops rhombeatus venom was compared to Bothrops asper and Bothrops atrox, and the effectiveness of antivenoms from the National Institute of Health of Colombia (INS) and Antivipmyn-Tri (AVP-T) of Mexico were analyzed. Protein profiles were studied with sodium dodecyl [...] Read more.
The protein profile of Bothrops rhombeatus venom was compared to Bothrops asper and Bothrops atrox, and the effectiveness of antivenoms from the National Institute of Health of Colombia (INS) and Antivipmyn-Tri (AVP-T) of Mexico were analyzed. Protein profiles were studied with sodium dodecyl sulfate–polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC). The neutralizing potency and the level of immunochemical recognition of the antivenoms to the venoms were determined using Western blot, affinity chromatography, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Bands of phospholipase A2 (PLA2), metalloproteinases (svMPs) I, II, and III as well as serine proteinases (SPs) in the venom of B. rhombeatus were recognized by SDS-PAGE. With Western blot, both antivenoms showed immunochemical recognition towards PLA2 and svMP. INS showed 94% binding to B. rhombeatus venom and 92% to B. asper while AVP-T showed 90.4% binding to B. rhombeatus venom and 96.6% to B. asper. Both antivenoms showed binding to PLA2 and svMP, with greater specificity of AVP-T towards B. rhombeatus. Antivenom neutralizing capacity was calculated by species and mL of antivenom, finding the following for INS: B. asper 6.6 mgV/mL, B. atrox 5.5 mgV/mL, and B. rhombeatus 1.3 mgV/mL. Meanwhile, for AVP-T, the following neutralizing capacities were found: B. asper 2.7 mgV/mL, B. atrox 2.1 mgV/mL, and B. rhombeatus 1.4 mgV/mL. These results show that both antivenoms presented similarity between calculated neutralizing capacities in our trial, reported in a product summary for the public for the B. asper species; however, this does not apply to the other species tested in this trial. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proteomic Analysis and Functional Characterization of Venom)
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12 pages, 2622 KiB  
Article
Red Orange and Lemon Extract Ameliorates the Renal Oxidative Stress and Inflammation Induced by Ochratoxin A through the Modulation of Nrf2
by Consiglia Longobardi, Sara Damiano, Simona Fabroni, Serena Montagnaro, Valeria Russo, Emanuela Vaccaro, Antonio Giordano, Salvatore Florio and Roberto Ciarcia
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030151 - 14 Mar 2024
Viewed by 738
Abstract
Background: The presence of ochratoxin A (OTA) in food and feed is a public health concern. OTA intoxication is caused by several mechanisms, one of which consists of the alteration of the antioxidant activity of the cell due to the oxidative stress (OS). [...] Read more.
Background: The presence of ochratoxin A (OTA) in food and feed is a public health concern. OTA intoxication is caused by several mechanisms, one of which consists of the alteration of the antioxidant activity of the cell due to the oxidative stress (OS). In this context, the use of natural antioxidant substances could be a potential biological decontamination method of mitigating the negative outcomes induced by OTA. Methods: we aimed to investigate how a red orange and lemon extract (RLE), rich in anthocyanins, would affect OTA-treated rats. The current work sought to clarify the renal protective efficacy of RLE in an OTA-treated rat model (RLE (90 mg/kg b.w.); OTA (0.5 mg/kg b.w.)) by investigating, thorough Western blot analysis, the involvement of the Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) pathway. The OS parameters and inflammatory status were evaluated by spectrophotometry. The inflammatory infiltrates in the kidney were evaluated by immunohistochemical assays. Results and Conclusion: Our findings showed a significant increase in oxidative and inflammatory parameters after OTA exposure, while the OTA + RLE co-treatment counteracted both the inflammatory and OS damage through the modulation of the Nrf2 pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
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26 pages, 11552 KiB  
Article
Diversity and Molecular Evolution of Antimicrobial Peptides in Caecilian Amphibians
by Mario Benítez-Prián, Héctor Lorente-Martínez, Ainhoa Agorreta, David J. Gower, Mark Wilkinson, Kim Roelants and Diego San Mauro
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030150 - 14 Mar 2024
Viewed by 989
Abstract
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are key molecules in the innate immune defence of vertebrates with rapid action, broad antimicrobial spectrum, and ability to evade pathogen resistance mechanisms. To date, amphibians are the major group of vertebrates from which most AMPs have been characterised, but [...] Read more.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are key molecules in the innate immune defence of vertebrates with rapid action, broad antimicrobial spectrum, and ability to evade pathogen resistance mechanisms. To date, amphibians are the major group of vertebrates from which most AMPs have been characterised, but most studies have focused on the bioactive skin secretions of anurans (frogs and toads). In this study, we have analysed the complete genomes and/or transcriptomes of eight species of caecilian amphibians (order Gymnophiona) and characterised the diversity, molecular evolution, and antimicrobial potential of the AMP repertoire of this order of amphibians. We have identified 477 candidate AMPs within the studied caecilian genome and transcriptome datasets. These candidates are grouped into 29 AMP families, with four corresponding to peptides primarily exhibiting antimicrobial activity and 25 potentially serving as AMPs in a secondary function, either in their entirety or after cleavage. In silico prediction methods were used to identify 62 of those AMPs as peptides with promising antimicrobial activity potential. Signatures of directional selection were detected for five candidate AMPs, which may indicate adaptation to the different selective pressures imposed by evolutionary arms races with specific pathogens. These findings provide encouraging support for the expectation that caecilians, being one of the least-studied groups of vertebrates, and with ~300 million years of separate evolution, are an underexplored resource of great pharmaceutical potential that could help to contest antibiotic resistance and contribute to biomedical advance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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19 pages, 5074 KiB  
Article
Integration of Multi-Omics, Histological, and Biochemical Analysis Reveals the Toxic Responses of Nile Tilapia Liver to Chronic Microcystin-LR Exposure
by Yichao Li, Huici Yang, Bing Fu, Gen Kaneko, Hongyan Li, Jingjing Tian, Guangjun Wang, Mingken Wei, Jun Xie and Ermeng Yu
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030149 - 14 Mar 2024
Viewed by 757
Abstract
Microcystin-LR (MC-LR) is a cyanobacterial metabolite produced during cyanobacterial blooms and is toxic to aquatic animals, and the liver is the main targeted organ of MC-LR. To comprehensively understand the toxicity mechanism of chronic exposure to environmental levels of MC-LR on the liver [...] Read more.
Microcystin-LR (MC-LR) is a cyanobacterial metabolite produced during cyanobacterial blooms and is toxic to aquatic animals, and the liver is the main targeted organ of MC-LR. To comprehensively understand the toxicity mechanism of chronic exposure to environmental levels of MC-LR on the liver of fish, juvenile Nile tilapia were exposed to 0 μg/L (control), 1 μg/L (M1), 3 μg/L (M3), 10 μg/L (M10), and 30 μg/L (M30) MC-LR for 60 days. Then, the liver hepatotoxicity induced by MC-LR exposure was systematically evaluated via histological and biochemical determinations, and the underlying mechanisms were explored through combining analysis of biochemical parameters, multi-omics (transcriptome and metabolome), and gene expression. The results exhibited that chronic MC-LR exposure caused slight liver minor structural damage and lipid accumulation in the M10 group, while resulting in serious histological damage and lipid accumulation in the M30 group, indicating obvious hepatotoxicity, which was confirmed by increased toxicity indexes (i.e., AST, ALT, and AKP). Transcriptomic and metabolomic analysis revealed that chronic MC-LR exposure induced extensive changes in gene expression and metabolites in six typical pathways, including oxidative stress, apoptosis, autophagy, amino acid metabolism, primary bile acid biosynthesis, and lipid metabolism. Taken together, chronic MC-LR exposure induced oxidative stress, apoptosis, and autophagy, inhibited primary bile acid biosynthesis, and caused fatty deposition in the liver of Nile tilapia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxicology Research on Cyanotoxins)
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15 pages, 2455 KiB  
Article
Development of a Rapid and Sensitive CANARY Biosensor Assay for the Detection of Shiga Toxin 2 from Escherichia coli
by Christina C. Tam, Yangyang Wang, Wen-Xian Du, Andrew R. Flannery and Xiaohua He
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030148 - 14 Mar 2024
Viewed by 914
Abstract
Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) causes a wide spectrum of diseases including hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The current Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) testing methods for STEC use the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM) protocol, which includes [...] Read more.
Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) causes a wide spectrum of diseases including hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The current Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) testing methods for STEC use the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM) protocol, which includes enrichment, cell plating, and genomic sequencing and takes time to complete, thus delaying diagnosis and treatment. We wanted to develop a rapid, sensitive, and potentially portable assay that can identify STEC by detecting Shiga toxin (Stx) using the CANARY (Cellular Analysis and Notification of Antigen Risks and Yields) B-cell based biosensor technology. Five potential biosensor cell lines were evaluated for their ability to detect Stx2. The results using the best biosensor cell line (T5) indicated that this biosensor was stable after reconstitution with assay buffer covered in foil at 4 °C for up to 10 days with an estimated limit of detection (LOD) of ≈0.1–0.2 ng/mL for days up to day 5 and ≈0.4 ng/mL on day 10. The assay detected a broad range of Stx2 subtypes, including Stx2a, Stx2b, Stx2c, Stx2d, and Stx2g but did not cross-react with closely related Stx1, abrin, or ricin. Additionally, this assay was able to detect Stx2 in culture supernatants of STEC grown in media with mitomycin C at 8 and 24 h post-inoculation. These results indicate that the STEC CANARY biosensor developed in this study is sensitive, reproducible, specific, rapid (≈3 min), and may be applicable for surveillance of the environment and food to protect public health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Foodborne Toxins and Public Health)
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34 pages, 21874 KiB  
Conference Report
Report from the 29th Meeting on Toxinology, “Toxins: From the Wild to the Lab”, Organized by the French Society of Toxinology on 30 November–1 December 2023
by Pascale Marchot, Ziad Fajloun, Christian Legros, Évelyne Benoit and Sylvie Diochot
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030147 - 13 Mar 2024
Viewed by 787
Abstract
The French Society of Toxinology (SFET), which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, organized its 29th annual Meeting (RT29), shared by 87 participants, on 30 November–1 December 2023. The RT29 main theme, “Toxins: From the Wild to the Lab”, focused on research in [...] Read more.
The French Society of Toxinology (SFET), which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, organized its 29th annual Meeting (RT29), shared by 87 participants, on 30 November–1 December 2023. The RT29 main theme, “Toxins: From the Wild to the Lab”, focused on research in the field of animal venoms and animal, bacterial, fungal, or plant toxins, from their discovery in nature to their study in the laboratory. The exploration of the functions of toxins, their structures, their molecular or cellular ligands, their mode of action, and their potential therapeutic applications were emphasized during oral communications and posters through three sessions, of which each was dedicated to a secondary theme. A fourth, “miscellaneous” session allowed participants to present recent out-of-theme works. The abstracts of nine invited and 15 selected lectures, those of 24 posters, and the names of the Best Oral Communication and Best Poster awardees, are presented in this report. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxins: From the Wild to the Lab)
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11 pages, 593 KiB  
Article
Bothrops lanceolatus Envenoming in Martinique: A Historical Perspective of the Clinical Effectiveness of Bothrofav Antivenom Treatment
by Dabor Resiere, Jonathan Florentin, Hossein Mehdaoui, Hatem Kallel, Veronique Legris-Allusson, Papa Gueye and Remi Neviere
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030146 - 13 Mar 2024
Viewed by 733
Abstract
Bothrofav, a monospecific antivenom, was introduced in June 1991 and has shown excellent effectiveness against life-threatening and thrombotic complications of Bothrops lanceolatus envenoming. Because of the reoccurrence of cerebral stroke events despite the timely administration of antivenom, new batches of Bothrofav were produced [...] Read more.
Bothrofav, a monospecific antivenom, was introduced in June 1991 and has shown excellent effectiveness against life-threatening and thrombotic complications of Bothrops lanceolatus envenoming. Because of the reoccurrence of cerebral stroke events despite the timely administration of antivenom, new batches of Bothrofav were produced and introduced into clinical use in January 2011. This study’s aim was to evaluate the effectiveness of Bothrofav generations at treating B. lanceolatus envenoming. During the first period of the study (2000–2010), 107 patients were treated with vials of antivenom produced in June 1991, while 282 envenomed patients were treated with vials of antivenom produced in January 2011 in the second study period (2011–2023). Despite timely antivenom administration, thrombotic complications reoccurred after an interval free of thrombotic events, and a timeframe analysis suggested that the clinical efficacy of Bothrofav declined after it reached its 10-year shelf-life. In of the case of an antivenom shortage due to the absence of regular batch production, no adverse effects were identified before the antivenom reached its 10-year shelf-life, which is beyond the accepted shelf-life for a liquid-formulation antivenom. While our study does not support the use of expired antivenom for potent, life-threatening B. lanceolatus envenoming, it can be a scientific message to public entities proving the necessity of new antivenom production for B. lanceolatus envenoming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Updates in Venomics and Applications)
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16 pages, 2985 KiB  
Article
Mutations at Two Key Sites in PP2A Safeguard Caenorhabditis elegans Neurons from Microcystin-LR Toxicity
by Chunhua Zhan and Jianke Gong
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030145 - 13 Mar 2024
Viewed by 888
Abstract
Microcystin-LR (MC-LR) is a secondary metabolite produced by cyanobacteria, globally renowned for its potent hepatotoxicity. However, an increasing body of research suggests that it also exhibits pronounced neurotoxicity. PP2A is a fundamental intracellular phosphatase that plays a pivotal role in cell development and [...] Read more.
Microcystin-LR (MC-LR) is a secondary metabolite produced by cyanobacteria, globally renowned for its potent hepatotoxicity. However, an increasing body of research suggests that it also exhibits pronounced neurotoxicity. PP2A is a fundamental intracellular phosphatase that plays a pivotal role in cell development and survival. Although extensive research has focused on the binding of MC-LR to the C subunit of PP2A, few studies have explored the key amino acid sites that can prevent the binding of MC-LR to PP2A-C. Due to the advantages of Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), such as ease of genetic editing and a short lifespan, we exposed nematodes to MC-LR in a manner that simulated natural exposure conditions based on MC-LR concentrations in natural water bodies (immersion exposure). Our findings demonstrate that MC-LR exerts comprehensive toxicity on nematodes, including reducing lifespan, impairing reproductive capabilities, and diminishing sensory functions. Notably, and for the first time, we observed that MC-LR neurotoxic effects can persist up to the F3 generation, highlighting the significant threat that MC-LR poses to biological populations in natural environments. Furthermore, we identified two amino acid sites (L252 and C278) in PP2A-C through mutations that prevented MC-LR binding without affecting PP2A activity. This discovery was robustly validated through behavioral studies and neuronal calcium imaging using nematodes. In conclusion, we identified two crucial amino acid sites that could prevent MC-LR from binding to PP2A-C, which holds great significance for the future development of MC-LR detoxification drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Toxicology of Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins)
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15 pages, 14789 KiB  
Article
Environmental Toxin Biliatresone-Induced Biliary Atresia-like Abnormal Cilia and Bile Duct Cell Development of Human Liver Organoids
by Yue Hai-Bing, Menon Sudheer Sivasankaran, Babu Rosana Ottakandathil, Wu Zhong-Luan, So Man-Ting, Chung (Patrick) Ho-Yu, Wong (Kenneth) Kak-Yuen, Tam (Paul) Kwong-Hang and Lui (Vincent) Chi-Hang
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030144 - 11 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1087
Abstract
Biliary atresia (BA) is a poorly understood and devastating obstructive bile duct disease of newborns. Biliatresone, a plant toxin, causes BA-like syndrome in some animals, but its relevance in humans is unknown. To validate the hypothesis that biliatresone exposure is a plausible BA [...] Read more.
Biliary atresia (BA) is a poorly understood and devastating obstructive bile duct disease of newborns. Biliatresone, a plant toxin, causes BA-like syndrome in some animals, but its relevance in humans is unknown. To validate the hypothesis that biliatresone exposure is a plausible BA disease mechanism in humans, we treated normal human liver organoids with biliatresone and addressed its adverse effects on organoid development, functions and cellular organization. The control organoids (without biliatresone) were well expanded and much bigger than biliatresone-treated organoids. Expression of the cholangiocyte marker CK19 was reduced, while the hepatocyte marker HFN4A was significantly elevated in biliatresone-treated organoids. ZO-1 (a tight junction marker) immunoreactivity was localized at the apical intercellular junctions in control organoids, while it was markedly reduced in biliatresone-treated organoids. Cytoskeleton F-actin was localized at the apical surface of the control organoids, but it was ectopically expressed at the apical and basal sides in biliatresone-treated organoids. Cholangiocytes of control organoids possess primary cilia and elicit cilia mechanosensory function. The number of ciliated cholangiocytes was reduced, and cilia mechanosensory function was hampered in biliatresone-treated organoids. In conclusion, biliatresone induces morphological and developmental changes in human liver organoids resembling those of our previously reported BA organoids, suggesting that environmental toxins could contribute to BA pathogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Toxins)
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25 pages, 10662 KiB  
Article
New Insights into Interactions between Mushroom Aegerolysins and Membrane Lipids
by Larisa Lara Popošek, Nada Kraševec, Gregor Bajc, Urška Glavač, Matija Hrovatin, Žan Perko, Ana Slavič, Miha Pavšič, Kristina Sepčić and Matej Skočaj
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030143 - 09 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1017
Abstract
Aegerolysins are a family of proteins that recognize and bind to specific membrane lipids or lipid domains; hence they can be used as membrane lipid sensors. Although aegerolysins are distributed throughout the tree of life, the most studied are those produced by the [...] Read more.
Aegerolysins are a family of proteins that recognize and bind to specific membrane lipids or lipid domains; hence they can be used as membrane lipid sensors. Although aegerolysins are distributed throughout the tree of life, the most studied are those produced by the fungal genus Pleurotus. Most of the aegerolysin-producing mushrooms code also for proteins containing the membrane attack complex/perforin (MACPF)-domain. The combinations of lipid-sensing aegerolysins and MACPF protein partners are lytic for cells harboring the aegerolysin membrane lipid receptor and can be used as ecologically friendly bioinsecticides. In this work, we have recombinantly expressed four novel aegerolysin/MACPF protein pairs from the mushrooms Heterobasidion irregulare, Trametes versicolor, Mucidula mucida, and Lepista nuda, and compared these proteins with the already studied aegerolysin/MACPF protein pair ostreolysin A6–pleurotolysin B from P. ostreatus. We show here that most of these new mushroom proteins can form active aegerolysin/MACPF cytolytic complexes upon aegerolysin binding to membrane sphingolipids. We further disclose that these mushroom aegerolysins bind also to selected glycerophospholipids, in particular to phosphatidic acid and cardiolipin; however, these interactions with glycerophospholipids do not lead to pore formation. Our results indicate that selected mushroom aegerolysins show potential as new molecular biosensors for labelling phosphatidic acid. Full article
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30 pages, 3019 KiB  
Review
Potential Biotechnological Applications of Venoms from the Viperidae Family in Central America for Thrombosis
by Jorge Eduardo Chang Estrada, Taissa Nunes Guerrero, Daniel Fernando Reyes-Enríquez, Erica Santos Nardy, Roseane Guimarães Ferreira, Cristian José Ruiz Calderón, Irmgardt A. Wellmann, Kaio Murilo Monteiro Espíndola, Alejandro Ferraz do Prado, Andreimar Martins Soares, Marcos Roberto de Mattos Fontes, Marta Chagas Monteiro and Russolina Benedeta Zingali
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030142 - 08 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1030
Abstract
Central America is home to one of the most abundant herpetofauna in the Americas, occupying only 7% of the continent’s total area. Vipers and lizards are among the most relevant venomous animals in medical practice due to the consequences of envenomation from the [...] Read more.
Central America is home to one of the most abundant herpetofauna in the Americas, occupying only 7% of the continent’s total area. Vipers and lizards are among the most relevant venomous animals in medical practice due to the consequences of envenomation from the bite of these animals. A great diversity of biomolecules with immense therapeutic and biotechnological value is contained in their venom. This paper describes the prominent leading representatives of the family Viperidae, emphasizing their morphology, distribution, habitat, feeding, and venom composition, as well as the biotechnological application of some isolated components from the venom of the animals from these families, focusing on molecules with potential anti-thrombotic action. We present the leading protein families that interfere with blood clotting, platelet activity, or the endothelium pro-thrombotic profile. In conclusion, Central America is an endemic region of venomous animals that can provide many molecules for biotechnological applications. Full article
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12 pages, 1947 KiB  
Article
Inhibition of Aflatoxin Production in Aspergillus flavus by a Klebsiella sp. and Its Metabolite Cyclo(l-Ala-Gly)
by Shohei Sakuda, Masaki Sunaoka, Maho Terada, Ayaka Sakoda, Natsumi Ishijima, Noriko Hakoshima, Kenichi Uchida, Hirofumi Enomoto and Tomohiro Furukawa
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030141 - 08 Mar 2024
Viewed by 786
Abstract
During an experiment where we were cultivating aflatoxigenic Aspergillus flavus on peanuts, we accidentally discovered that a bacterium adhering to the peanut strongly inhibited aflatoxin (AF) production by A. flavus. The bacterium, isolated and identified as Klebsiella aerogenes, was found to [...] Read more.
During an experiment where we were cultivating aflatoxigenic Aspergillus flavus on peanuts, we accidentally discovered that a bacterium adhering to the peanut strongly inhibited aflatoxin (AF) production by A. flavus. The bacterium, isolated and identified as Klebsiella aerogenes, was found to produce an AF production inhibitor. Cyclo(l-Ala-Gly), isolated from the bacterial culture supernatant, was the main active component. The aflatoxin production-inhibitory activity of cyclo(l-Ala-Gly) has not been reported. Cyclo(l-Ala-Gly) inhibited AF production in A. flavus without affecting its fungal growth in a liquid medium with stronger potency than cyclo(l-Ala-l-Pro). Cyclo(l-Ala-Gly) has the strongest AF production-inhibitory activity among known AF production-inhibitory diketopiperazines. Related compounds in which the methyl moiety in cyclo(l-Ala-Gly) is replaced by ethyl, propyl, or isopropyl have shown much stronger activity than cyclo(l-Ala-Gly). Cyclo(l-Ala-Gly) did not inhibit recombinant glutathione-S-transferase (GST) in A. flavus, unlike (l-Ala-l-Pro), which showed that the inhibition of GST was not responsible for the AF production-inhibition of cyclo(l-Ala-Gly). When A. flavus was cultured on peanuts dipped for a short period of time in a dilution series bacterial culture broth, AF production in the peanuts was strongly inhibited, even at a 1 × 104-fold dilution. This strong inhibitory activity suggests that the bacterium is a candidate for an effective biocontrol agent for AF control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Aflatoxins)
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13 pages, 863 KiB  
Article
Impact of Botulinum Toxin Injections on Quality of Life of Patients with Long-Standing Peripheral Facial Palsy
by Jérémy Amar, Frédéric Tankere, Diane Picard, Lauranne Alciato, Fabienne Carré and Claire Foirest
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030140 - 08 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 830
Abstract
(1) Background: Sequels of facial palsy lead to major psychosocial repercussions, disrupting patients’ quality of life (QoL). Botulinum toxin (BoNT) injections can permit us to treat long-standing facial palsy, improving facial symmetry and functional signs including synkinesis and contractures. (2) Methods: The main [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Sequels of facial palsy lead to major psychosocial repercussions, disrupting patients’ quality of life (QoL). Botulinum toxin (BoNT) injections can permit us to treat long-standing facial palsy, improving facial symmetry and functional signs including synkinesis and contractures. (2) Methods: The main aim of this study was to assess the evolution of the QoL for patients with long-standing facial palsy before, at 1 month, and at 4 months after BoNT injections by using three questionnaires (HFS-30, FaCE, and HAD). The other goals were to find clinical factors associated with the improvement in the QoL and to assess the HFS-30 questionnaire for patients with unilateral facial palsy (3) Results: Eighty-eight patients were included in this study. There was a statistically significant improvement in QoL at 1 month after injections, assessed using the three questionnaires. This improvement was sustained at 4 months after the injections, with a statistically significant difference for the HFS-30 and FaCE questionnaires. (4) Conclusions: This study showed that the BoNT injections lead to a significant increase in the QoL of patients with unilateral facial palsy. This improvement is sustained 4 months after the injections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
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13 pages, 501 KiB  
Article
Human Biomonitoring Guidance Values for Deoxynivalenol Derived under the European Human Biomonitoring Initiative (HBM4EU)
by Marcel J. B. Mengelers, Annick D. van den Brand, Shensheng Zhao, Rudolf Hoogenveen and Eva Ougier
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030139 - 07 Mar 2024
Viewed by 772
Abstract
The mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) was one of the priority substances in the European Joint Human Biomonitoring Initiative (HBM4EU) project. In this study, to better interpret the actual internal exposure of DON in the general population and safeguard public health, human biomonitoring guidance values [...] Read more.
The mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) was one of the priority substances in the European Joint Human Biomonitoring Initiative (HBM4EU) project. In this study, to better interpret the actual internal exposure of DON in the general population and safeguard public health, human biomonitoring guidance values of DON for the general population (HBM-GVGenPop) were derived. The HBM-GVGenPop of DON was based on either the total DON (DON and its glucuronides) or DON’s main metabolite (DON-15-GlcA) levels in 24-h urine samples, resulting in a HBM-GVGenPop of 0.023 µg/mL for the total DON or a HBM-GVGenPop of 0.020 µg/mL for DON-15-GlcA. The use of 24-h urine samples is recommended based on the fact that DON and its metabolites have a short elimination half-life (T1/2), and 95% of the cumulative amount was excreted within 12 h after DON intake. The T1/2 for DON, DON-15-GlcA, and total DON were estimated to be 2.55 h, 2.95 h, and 2.95 h, respectively. Therefore, a 24-h urine sample reflects almost all of the DON exposure from the previous day, and this type of sample was considered for the derivation of a HBM-GVGenPop for DON. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
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13 pages, 2020 KiB  
Article
Heterogeneity of Size and Toxin Distribution in Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans Outer Membrane Vesicles
by Justin B Nice, Shannon M. Collins, Samuel M. J. Agro, Anxhela Sinani, Spencer D. Moros, Leah M. Pasch and Angela C. Brown
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030138 - 07 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1019
Abstract
Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans is a Gram-negative bacterium associated with localized aggressive periodontitis as well as some systemic diseases. The strains of A. actinomycetemcomitans most closely associated with disease produce more of a secreted leukotoxin (LtxA) than isolates from healthy carriers, suggesting a key role [...] Read more.
Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans is a Gram-negative bacterium associated with localized aggressive periodontitis as well as some systemic diseases. The strains of A. actinomycetemcomitans most closely associated with disease produce more of a secreted leukotoxin (LtxA) than isolates from healthy carriers, suggesting a key role for this toxin in disease progression. LtxA is released into the bacterial cytosol in a free form as well as in association with the surface of outer membrane vesicles (OMVs). We previously observed that the highly leukotoxic A. actinomycetemcomitans strain JP2 produces two populations of OMVs: a highly abundant population of small (<100 nm) OMVs and a less abundant population of large (>300 nm) OMVs. Here, we have developed a protocol to isolate the OMVs produced during each specific phase of growth and used this to demonstrate that small OMVs are produced throughout growth and lack LtxA, while large OMVs are produced only during the exponential phase and are enriched with LtxA. Our results indicate that surface-associated DNA drives the selective sorting of LtxA into large OMVs. This study provides valuable insights into the observed heterogeneity of A. actinomycetemcomitans vesicles and emphasizes the importance of understanding these variations in the context of bacterial pathogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
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31 pages, 678 KiB  
Review
Hidden Hazards Revealed: Mycotoxins and Their Masked Forms in Poultry
by Hamada Okasha, Bochen Song and Zhigang Song
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030137 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1190
Abstract
The presence of mycotoxins and their masked forms in chicken feed poses a significant threat to both productivity and health. This review examines the multifaceted impacts of mycotoxins on various aspects of chicken well-being, encompassing feed efficiency, growth, immunity, antioxidants, blood biochemistry, and [...] Read more.
The presence of mycotoxins and their masked forms in chicken feed poses a significant threat to both productivity and health. This review examines the multifaceted impacts of mycotoxins on various aspects of chicken well-being, encompassing feed efficiency, growth, immunity, antioxidants, blood biochemistry, and internal organs. Mycotoxins, toxic substances produced by fungi, can exert detrimental effects even at low levels of contamination. The hidden or masked forms of mycotoxins further complicate the situation, as they are not easily detected by conventional methods but can be converted into their toxic forms during digestion. Consequently, chickens are exposed to mycotoxin-related risks despite apparently low mycotoxin levels. The consequences of mycotoxin exposure in chickens include reduced feed efficiency, compromised growth rates, impaired immune function, altered antioxidant levels, disturbances in blood biochemical parameters, and adverse effects on internal organs. To mitigate these impacts, effective management strategies are essential, such as routine monitoring of feed ingredients and finished feeds, adherence to proper storage practices, and the implementation of feed detoxification methods and mycotoxin binders. Raising awareness of these hidden hazards is crucial for safeguarding chicken productivity and health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolism and Toxicology of Mycotoxins and Their Masked Forms)
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14 pages, 3891 KiB  
Article
Unveiling the Broad Substrate Specificity of Deoxynivalenol Oxidation Enzyme DepA and Its Role in Detoxifying Trichothecene Mycotoxins
by Yan Zhu, Edicon Tze Shun Chan, Nadine Abraham, Xiu-Zhen Li, Weijun Wang, Lili Mats, Honghui Zhu, Jason Carere and Ting Zhou
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030136 - 05 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1038
Abstract
DepA, a pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ)-dependent enzyme isolated from Devosia mutans 17-2-E-8, exhibits versatility in oxidizing deoxynivalenol (DON) and its derivatives. This study explored DepA’s substrate specificity and enzyme kinetics, focusing on DON and 15-acetyl-DON. Besides efficiently oxidizing DON, DepA also transforms 15-acetyl-DON into [...] Read more.
DepA, a pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ)-dependent enzyme isolated from Devosia mutans 17-2-E-8, exhibits versatility in oxidizing deoxynivalenol (DON) and its derivatives. This study explored DepA’s substrate specificity and enzyme kinetics, focusing on DON and 15-acetyl-DON. Besides efficiently oxidizing DON, DepA also transforms 15-acetyl-DON into 15-acetyl-3-keto-DON, as identified via LC-MS/MS and NMR analysis. The kinetic parameters, including the maximum reaction rate, turnover number, and catalytic efficiency, were thoroughly evaluated. DepA-PQQ complex docking was deployed to rationalize the substrate specificity of DepA. This study further delves into the reduced toxicity of the transformation products, as demonstrated via enzyme homology modeling and in silico docking analysis with yeast 80S ribosomes, indicating a potential decrease in toxicity due to lower binding affinity. Utilizing the response surface methodology and central composite rotational design, mathematical models were developed to elucidate the relationship between the enzyme and cofactor concentrations, guiding the future development of detoxification systems for liquid feeds and grain processing. This comprehensive analysis underscores DepA’s potential for use in mycotoxin detoxification, offering insights for future applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxins: 15th Anniversary)
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14 pages, 3491 KiB  
Article
Hortensins, Type 1 Ribosome-Inactivating Proteins from Seeds of Red Mountain Spinach: Isolation, Characterization, and Their Effect on Glioblastoma Cells
by Sara Ragucci, Veronica Russo, Angela Clemente, Maria Giuseppina Campanile, Maria Antonietta Oliva, Nicola Landi, Paolo Vincenzo Pedone, Antonietta Arcella and Antimo Di Maro
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030135 - 04 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1014
Abstract
Ribosome inactivating proteins (RIPs) are specific N-β-glycosylases that are well-characterized in plants. Their enzymatic action is to damage ribosomes, thereby blocking protein translation. Recently, several research groups have been working on the screening for these toxins in edible plants to facilitate the use [...] Read more.
Ribosome inactivating proteins (RIPs) are specific N-β-glycosylases that are well-characterized in plants. Their enzymatic action is to damage ribosomes, thereby blocking protein translation. Recently, several research groups have been working on the screening for these toxins in edible plants to facilitate the use of RIPs as biotechnological tools and biopesticides and to overcome public prejudice. Here, four novel monomeric (type 1) RIPs have been isolated from the seeds of Atriplex hortensis L. var. rubra, which is commonly known as edible red mountain spinach. These enzymes, named hortensins 1, 2, 4, and 5, are able to release the β-fragment and, like many other RIPs, adenines from salmon sperm DNA, thus, acting as polynucleotide:adenosine glycosidases. Structurally, hortensins have a different molecular weight and are purified with different yields (hortensin 1, ~29.5 kDa, 0.28 mg per 100 g; hortensin 2, ~29 kDa, 0.29 mg per 100 g; hortensin 4, ~28.5 kDa, 0.71 mg per 100 g; and hortensin 5, ~30 kDa, 0.65 mg per 100 g); only hortensins 2 and 4 are glycosylated. Furthermore, the major isoforms (hortensins 4 and 5) are cytotoxic toward human continuous glioblastoma U87MG cell line. In addition, the morphological change in U87MG cells in the presence of these toxins is indicative of cell death triggered by the apoptotic pathway, as revealed by nuclear DNA fragmentation (TUNEL assay). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Activities of Ribosome Inactivating Proteins II)
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13 pages, 2648 KiB  
Article
Insecticidal Effects of Transgenic Maize Bt-Cry1Ab, Bt-Vip3Aa, and Bt-Cry1Ab+Vip3Aa against the Oriental Armyworm, Mythimna separata (Walker) in Southwest China
by Zhenghao Zhang, Xianming Yang, Wenhui Wang and Kongming Wu
Toxins 2024, 16(3), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16030134 - 04 Mar 2024
Viewed by 976
Abstract
The oriental armyworm, Mythimna separata (Walker), an important migratory pest of maize and wheat, is posing a severe threat to maize production in Asian countries. As source areas of spring–summer emigratory populations, the control of M. separata in southwestern China is of great [...] Read more.
The oriental armyworm, Mythimna separata (Walker), an important migratory pest of maize and wheat, is posing a severe threat to maize production in Asian countries. As source areas of spring–summer emigratory populations, the control of M. separata in southwestern China is of great significance for East Asian maize production. To assess the toxicity of Bt maize against the pest, bioassays of Bt-(Cry1Ab+Vip3Aa) maize (event DBN3601T), Bt-Cry1Ab maize (event DBN9936), and Bt-Vip3Aa maize (event DBN9501) were conducted in Yunnan province of southwest China. There were significant differences in insecticidal activity between the three Bt maize events, and DBN3601T presented the highest insecticidal role. The results also indicated that the insecticidal effect of various Bt maize tissues took an order in leaf > kernel > silk, which is highly consistent with the expression amounts of Bt insecticidal protein in leaf (69.69 ± 1.18 μg/g), kernel (11.69 ± 0.75 μg/g), and silk (7.32 ± 0.31 μg/g). In field trials, all larval population densities, plant damage rates, and leaf damage levels of DBN3601T maize were significantly lower than the conventional maize. This research indicated that the DBN3601T event had a high control efficiency against M. separata and could be deployed in southwest China for the management of M. separata. Full article
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