Bioactive Peptides and Toxins from Aquatic and Marine Organisms: From Origin to Prospective Biomedical and Biotechnological Applications

A special issue of Toxins (ISSN 2072-6651). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Venoms".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2023) | Viewed by 5759

Special Issue Editors

Laboratory of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Institute for Marine Sciences, Federal University of Ceara, Fortaleza 60165-081, CE, Brazil
Interests: transcriptome of arthropods, cnidarians and other venomous animals; peptide engineering; anti-proliferative peptides; membranolytic peptides; regulatory peptides; molecular biology; pharmaceutical biotechnology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Carlos Daniel Perez
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Centro Acadêmico de Vitoria, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Vitoria de Santo Antao, PE, Brazil
Interests: systematics; taxonomy; biodiversity; marine ecology; zoology; marine biodiversity; invasive species; conservation biology; conservation; ecology and evolution

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

More than seventy percent of the Earth's surface is water-covered, and aquatic and marine environments encompass biomes with thousand of species and significant biodiversity. Accumulated evidence indicates that life originated in the oceans, and several existing species of marine organisms can be traced to millions of years ago. These marine organisms are self-adapted and evolved at molecular, physiological, and structural levels to cope with the harsh conditions of the oceans. Many species produce pharmacological active or toxic substances to subdue prey and avoid predators or competitors. For instance, cnidarians that comprise numerous species distributed into five classes (e.g., true corals, sea anemones, sea wasp, fire corals, hydromedusae, and jellyfish, among others) possess specialized structures (cnidae) to deliver a cocktail of toxic compounds for defense and predation. Organisms belonging to other phyla, such as invertebrates (polychaetes), mollusks (e.g., cone snails and octopus), and vertebrates (stingrays and venomous fishes), are also notable for the production and inoculation of poisonous secretion and venom. Marvelous biologically active peptides and toxins have been disclosed and characterized through classical protein chemistry methods and pharmacological assays. More discoveries are expected by advanced analytical technologies, including the omic sciences and ingenious bioassay systems. Based on current knowledge, species’ origins, and the basics of aquatic and marine bioactive compounds, these could be revisited for novel biomedical and biotechnological applications. In addition, recently disclosed components of the toxic secretion of aquatic and marine organisms by different techniques and bioassays could offer unparallel opportunities for dedicated applications. In this context, the main goal of this Special Issue is to build a collection of remarkable original research articles and reviews on bioactive peptides and toxins from aquatic and marine organisms and call the audience's attention to these unlimited aquatic and marine resources for natural products and drug discovery.

Dr. Gandhi Rádis-Baptista
Dr. Carlos Daniel Perez
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • marine biodiversity
  • marine biotechnology
  • transcriptomic
  • venomics
  • protein chemistry
  • molecular pharmacology
  • venom biochemistry
  • venom glands
  • venom peptide
  • marine peptide
  • marine bioactive compound
  • mollusks
  • cnidarians
  • polychaetes
  • venomous fishes
  • advanced bioassay
  • target-driven drug discovery
  • chronic diseases

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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14 pages, 2505 KiB  
Article
Growth, Toxin Content and Production of Dinophysis Norvegica in Cultured Strains Isolated from Funka Bay (Japan)
Toxins 2023, 15(5), 318; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins15050318 - 01 May 2023
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Abstract
The successful cultivation of Dinophysis norvegica Claparède & Lachmann, 1859, isolated from Japanese coastal waters, is presented in this study, which also includes an examination of its toxin content and production for the first time. Maintaining the strains at a high abundance (>2000 [...] Read more.
The successful cultivation of Dinophysis norvegica Claparède & Lachmann, 1859, isolated from Japanese coastal waters, is presented in this study, which also includes an examination of its toxin content and production for the first time. Maintaining the strains at a high abundance (>2000 cells per mL−1) for more than 20 months was achieved by feeding them with the ciliate Mesodinium rubrum Lohmann, 1908, along with the addition of the cryptophyte Teleaulax amphioxeia (W.Conrad) D.R.A.Hill, 1992. Toxin production was examined using seven established strains. At the end of the one-month incubation period, the total amounts of pectenotoxin-2 (PTX2) and dinophysistoxin-1 (DTX1) ranged between 132.0 and 375.0 ng per mL−1 (n = 7), and 0.7 and 3.6 ng per mL−1 (n = 3), respectively. Furthermore, only one strain was found to contain a trace level of okadaic acid (OA). Similarly, the cell quota of pectenotoxin-2 (PTX2) and dinophysistoxin-1 (DTX1) ranged from 60.6 to 152.4 pg per cell−1 (n = 7) and 0.5 to 1.2 pg per cell−1 (n = 3), respectively. The results of this study indicate that toxin production in this species is subject to variation depending on the strain. According to the growth experiment, D. norvegica exhibited a long lag phase, as suggested by the slow growth observed during the first 12 days. In the growth experiment, D. norvegica grew very slowly for the first 12 days, suggesting they had a long lag phase. However, after that, they grew exponentially, with a maximum growth rate of 0.56 divisions per day (during Days 24–27), reaching a maximum concentration of 3000 cells per mL−1 at the end of the incubation (Day 36). In the toxin production study, the concentration of DTX1 and PTX2 increased following their vegetative growth, but the toxin production still increased exponentially on Day 36 (1.3 ng per mL−1 and 154.7 ng per mL−1 of DTX1 and PTX2, respectively). The concentration of OA remained below detectable levels (≤0.010 ng per mL−1) during the 36-day incubation period, with the exception of Day 6. This study presents new information on the toxin production and content of D. norvegica, as well as insights into the maintenance and culturing of this species. Full article
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13 pages, 8574 KiB  
Article
Tetrodotoxin Profiles in Xanthid Crab Atergatis floridus and Blue-Lined Octopus Hapalochlaena cf. fasciata from the Same Site in Nagasaki, Japan
Toxins 2023, 15(3), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins15030193 - 03 Mar 2023
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Abstract
The xanhid crab Atergatis floridus and the blue-lined octopus Hapalochlaena cf. fasciata have long been known as TTX-bearing organisms. It has been speculated that the TTX possessed by both organisms is exogenously toxic through the food chain, since they are reported to have [...] Read more.
The xanhid crab Atergatis floridus and the blue-lined octopus Hapalochlaena cf. fasciata have long been known as TTX-bearing organisms. It has been speculated that the TTX possessed by both organisms is exogenously toxic through the food chain, since they are reported to have geographic and individual differences. The source and supply chain of TTX for both of these organisms, however, remain unclear. On the other hand, since crabs are one of the preferred prey of octopuses, we focused our attention on the relationship between the two species living in the same site. The aim of this study was to determine TTX concentrations and TTX profiles of A. floridus and H. cf. fasciata, collected simultaneously in the same site, and examine the relationship between them. Although there were individual differences in the TTX concentration in both A. floridus and H. cf. fasciata, the toxin components commonly contained 11-norTTX-6(S)-ol in addition to TTX as the major components, with 4-epiTTX, 11-deoxyTTX, and 4,9-anhydroTTX as the minor components. The results suggest that octopuses and crabs in this site acquire TTX from common prey, including TTX-producing bacteria and/or may have a predator–prey relationship. Full article
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Review

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27 pages, 2261 KiB  
Review
Investigation of Best Practices for Venom Toxin Purification in Jellyfish towards Functional Characterisation
Toxins 2023, 15(3), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins15030170 - 21 Feb 2023
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Abstract
The relative lack of marine venom pharmaceuticals can be anecdotally attributed to difficulties in working with venomous marine animals, including how to maintain venom bioactivity during extraction and purification. The primary aim of this systematic literature review was to examine the key factors [...] Read more.
The relative lack of marine venom pharmaceuticals can be anecdotally attributed to difficulties in working with venomous marine animals, including how to maintain venom bioactivity during extraction and purification. The primary aim of this systematic literature review was to examine the key factors for consideration when extracting and purifying jellyfish venom toxins to maximise their effectiveness in bioassays towards the characterisation of a single toxin.An up-to-date database of 119 peer-reviewed research articles was established for all purified and semi-purified venoms across all jellyfish, including their level of purification, LD50, and the types of experimental toxicity bioassay used (e.g., whole animal and cell lines). We report that, of the toxins successfully purified across all jellyfish, the class Cubozoa (i.e., Chironex fleckeri and Carybdea rastoni) was most highly represented, followed by Scyphozoa and Hydrozoa. We outline the best practices for maintaining jellyfish venom bioactivity, including strict thermal management, using the “autolysis” extraction method and two-step liquid chromatography purification involving size exclusion chromatography. To date, the box jellyfish C. fleckeri has been the most effective jellyfish venom model with the most referenced extraction methods and the most isolated toxins, including CfTX-A/B. In summary, this review can be used as a resource for the efficient extraction, purification, and identification of jellyfish venom toxins. Full article
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