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Toxins, Volume 13, Issue 8 (August 2021) – 83 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): α-hemolysin (HlyA) of B2 phylogroup E. coli contributes to intestinal inflammation. In Caco-2 cells, HlyA induces a decrease in phosphoinositide (PIP2) at the membrane via PTEN inhibition. This leads to cell polarity changes and epithelial leakiness via disruption of cell junctions and cell detachment. To visualize the abundance of PIP2, we used the Pleckstrin Homology (PH) domain of PLCδ fused to GFP as a biosensor (GFP-PH-PLCδ). The tight junction changes observed in this study display early events in cell loss towards focal leak formation and cell shedding. These mechanisms point to the leak flux type of diarrhea. Progression of the barrier dysfunction contributes to antigen influx and leaky gut. Epithelial cell signaling analysis indicates the inflammatory and carcinogenic impact of HlyA. View this paper
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Article
Changes in Growth, Photosynthesis Performance, Pigments, and Toxin Contents of Bloom-Forming Cyanobacteria after Exposure to Macroalgal Allelochemicals
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 589; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080589 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 642
Abstract
Macroalgae can directly restrict the growth of various phytoplankton species by releasing allelopathic compounds; therefore, considerable attention should be paid to the allelopathic potential of these organisms against harmful and bloom-forming cyanobacteria. The main aim of this study was to demonstrate for the [...] Read more.
Macroalgae can directly restrict the growth of various phytoplankton species by releasing allelopathic compounds; therefore, considerable attention should be paid to the allelopathic potential of these organisms against harmful and bloom-forming cyanobacteria. The main aim of this study was to demonstrate for the first time the allelopathic activity of Ulva intestinalis on the growth, the fluorescence parameters: the maximum PSII quantum efficiency (Fv/Fm) and the effective quantum yield of PSII photochemistry (ΦPSII), the chlorophyll a (Chl a) and carotenoid (Car) content, and the microcystin-LR (MC-LR) and phenol content of three bloom-forming cyanobacteria, Aphanizomenon sp., Nodularia spumigena, and Nostoc sp. We found both negative and positive allelopathic effects of U. intestinalis on tested cyanobacteria. The study clearly showed that the addition of the filtrate of U. intestinalis significantly inhibited growth, decreased pigment content and Fv/Fm and ΦPSII values of N. spumigena and Nostoc sp., and stimulated Aphanizomenon sp. The addition of different concentrations of aqueous extract also stimulated the cyanobacterial growth. It was also shown that the addition of extract obtained from U. intestinalis caused a significant decrease in the MC-LR content in Nostoc sp. cells. Moreover, it the phenol content in N. spumigena cells was increased. On the other hand, the cell-specific phenol content for Aphanizomenon sp. decreased due to the addition of the filtrate. In this work, we demonstrated that the allelopathic effect of U. intestinalis depends on the target species’ identity as well as the type of allelopathic method used. The study of the allelopathic Baltic macroalgae may help to identify their possible role as a significant biological factor influencing harmful cyanobacterial blooms in brackish ecosystems. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of Inner Exposure of Horses to Zearalenone (ZEN), Deoxynivalenol (DON) and Their Metabolites in Relation to Colic and Health-Related Clinical-Chemical Traits
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 588; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080588 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 726
Abstract
Mycotoxin contaminated feed has been associated with colic of horses caused by intestinal disorders. Whether such disease conditions alter the intestinal toxin metabolism and transfer across a compromised mucosal barrier is unknown. A screening approach was used to relate blood residue levels of [...] Read more.
Mycotoxin contaminated feed has been associated with colic of horses caused by intestinal disorders. Whether such disease conditions alter the intestinal toxin metabolism and transfer across a compromised mucosal barrier is unknown. A screening approach was used to relate blood residue levels of DON, ZEN and their metabolites to the status of the horses (sick vs. healthy). A total of 55 clinically healthy horses from 6 different farms with varying feeding background served as control for sick horses (N = 102) hospitalized due to colic. ZEN, alpha-zearalenol (ZEL), beta-ZEL and DON were detectable in peripheral blood as indicators for the inner exposure with significant farm effects for alpha- and beta-ZEL. However, the levels in sick horses were similar to all farms. Moreover, the proportion of beta-ZEL of all detected ZEN metabolites as an indicator for the degree of metabolism of ZEN was not different for sick horses but differed amongst the control farms. Although the incidence of DON in blood was generally low and not significantly different amongst healthy and sick horses, the positive samples were nearly exclusively found in sick horses suggesting either a higher toxin transfer, an association of DON with the development of colic or a different feeding background. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomonitoring of Mycotoxins)
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Article
In Vitro and In Vivo Analysis of Ochratoxin A-Derived Glucuronides and Mercapturic Acids as Biomarkers of Exposure
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 587; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080587 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 642
Abstract
Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a widespread food contaminant, with exposure estimated to range from 0.64 to 17.79 ng/kg body weight (bw) for average consumers and from 2.40 to 51.69 ng/kg bw per day for high consumers. Current exposure estimates are, however, associated with [...] Read more.
Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a widespread food contaminant, with exposure estimated to range from 0.64 to 17.79 ng/kg body weight (bw) for average consumers and from 2.40 to 51.69 ng/kg bw per day for high consumers. Current exposure estimates are, however, associated with considerable uncertainty. While biomarker-based approaches may contribute to improved exposure assessment, there is yet insufficient data on urinary metabolites of OTA and their relation to external dose to allow reliable estimates of daily intake. This study was designed to assess potential species differences in phase II biotransformation in vitro and to establish a correlation between urinary OTA-derived glucuronides and mercapturic acids and external exposure in rats in vivo. In vitro analyses of OTA metabolism using the liver S9 of rats, humans, rabbits and minipigs confirmed formation of an OTA glucuronide but provided no evidence for the formation of OTA-derived mercapturic acids to support their use as biomarkers. Similarly, OTA-derived mercapturic acids were not detected in urine of rats repeatedly dosed with OTA, while indirect analysis using enzymatic hydrolysis of the urine samples prior to LC–MS/MS established a linear relationship between urinary glucuronide excretion and OTA exposure. These results support OTA-derived glucuronides but not mercapturic acids as metabolites suitable for biomonitoring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxicological Effects of Mycotoxins)
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Review
Mycotoxin Biomarkers in Pigs—Current State of Knowledge and Analytics
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 586; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080586 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1022
Abstract
Farm animals are frequently exposed to mycotoxins, which have many adverse effects on their health and become a significant food safety issue. Pigs are highly exposed and particularly susceptible to mycotoxins, which can cause many adverse effects. For the above reasons, an appropriate [...] Read more.
Farm animals are frequently exposed to mycotoxins, which have many adverse effects on their health and become a significant food safety issue. Pigs are highly exposed and particularly susceptible to mycotoxins, which can cause many adverse effects. For the above reasons, an appropriate diagnostic tool is needed to monitor pig’ exposure to mycotoxins. The most popular tool is feed analysis, which has some disadvantages, e.g., it does not include individual exposure. In recent years, the determination of biomarkers as a method to assess the exposure to mycotoxins by using concentrations of the parent compounds and/or metabolites in biological matrices is becoming more and more popular. This review provides a comprehensive overview of reported in vivo mycotoxin absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME) and toxicokinetic studies on pigs. Biomarkers of exposure for aflatoxins, deoxynivalenol, ochratoxin A, fumonisins, T-2 toxin and zearalenone are described to select the most promising compound for analysis of porcine plasma, urine and faeces. Biomarkers occur in biological matrices at trace levels, so a very sensitive technique—tandem mass spectrometry—is commonly used for multiple biomarkers quantification. However, the sample preparation for multi-mycotoxin methods remains a challenge. Therefore, a summary of different biological samples preparation strategies is included in that paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reduction and Control of Mycotoxins Along Entire Food and Feed Chain)
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Article
Human-Relevant Sensitivity of iPSC-Derived Human Motor Neurons to BoNT/A1 and B1
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 585; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080585 - 22 Aug 2021
Viewed by 747
Abstract
The application of botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) for medical treatments necessitates a potency quantification of these lethal bacterial toxins, resulting in the use of a large number of test animals. Available alternative methods are limited in their relevance, as they are based on rodent [...] Read more.
The application of botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) for medical treatments necessitates a potency quantification of these lethal bacterial toxins, resulting in the use of a large number of test animals. Available alternative methods are limited in their relevance, as they are based on rodent cells or neuroblastoma cell lines or applicable for single toxin serotypes only. Here, human motor neurons (MNs), which are the physiological target of BoNTs, were generated from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and compared to the neuroblastoma cell line SiMa, which is often used in cell-based assays for BoNT potency determination. In comparison with the mouse bioassay, human MNs exhibit a superior sensitivity to the BoNT serotypes A1 and B1 at levels that are reflective of human sensitivity. SiMa cells were able to detect BoNT/A1, but with much lower sensitivity than human MNs and appear unsuitable to detect any BoNT/B1 activity. The MNs used for these experiments were generated according to three differentiation protocols, which resulted in distinct sensitivity levels. Molecular parameters such as receptor protein concentration and electrical activity of the MNs were analyzed, but are not predictive for BoNT sensitivity. These results show that human MNs from several sources should be considered in BoNT testing and that human MNs are a physiologically relevant model, which could be used to optimize current BoNT potency testing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
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Communication
Botulinum Toxin Services for Neurorehabiliation: Recommendations for Challenges and Opportunities during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 584; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080584 - 22 Aug 2021
Viewed by 711
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted the function of medical facilities and rehabilitation services worldwide, including toxin services delivering Botulinum toxin treatments for neuromuscular conditions such as spasticity, dystonia, and sialorrhea. The aim of this paper is to understand how toxin services have dealt [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted the function of medical facilities and rehabilitation services worldwide, including toxin services delivering Botulinum toxin treatments for neuromuscular conditions such as spasticity, dystonia, and sialorrhea. The aim of this paper is to understand how toxin services have dealt with the situation and what strategies have been adopted to continue services. The recommendations are based on a virtual round table held with toxin services experts from different European countries who shared their experiences and discussed the best practices. The challenges for toxin services were reviewed based on the experts’ experiences and on relevant literature from 2020 and 2021. A set of recommendations and best practices were compiled, focusing firstly on guidance for clinical practice, including assessing patients’ health and risk status and the urgency of their treatment. Secondly, it was discussed how patients on botulinum toxin therapy can be cared for and supported during the pandemic, and how modern technology and tele-medicine platforms can be generally used to optimize effectiveness and safety of toxin treatments. The technological advances prompted by the COVID-19 crisis can result in better and more modern patient care in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
Article
Metaproteomics Reveals Alteration of the Gut Microbiome in Weaned Piglets Due to the Ingestion of the Mycotoxins Deoxynivalenol and Zearalenone
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 583; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080583 - 21 Aug 2021
Viewed by 740
Abstract
The ingestion of mycotoxins can cause adverse health effects and represents a severe health risk to humans and livestock. Even though several acute and chronic effects have been described, the effect on the gut metaproteome is scarcely known. For that reason, we used [...] Read more.
The ingestion of mycotoxins can cause adverse health effects and represents a severe health risk to humans and livestock. Even though several acute and chronic effects have been described, the effect on the gut metaproteome is scarcely known. For that reason, we used metaproteomics to evaluate the effect of the mycotoxins deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEN) on the gut microbiome of 15 weaned piglets. Animals were fed for 28 days with feed contaminated with different concentrations of DON (DONlow: 870 μg DON/kg feed, DONhigh: 2493 μg DON/kg feed) or ZEN (ZENlow: 679 μg ZEN/kg feed, ZENhigh: 1623 μg ZEN/kg feed). Animals in the control group received uncontaminated feed. The gut metaproteome composition in the high toxin groups shifted compared to the control and low mycotoxin groups, and it was also more similar among high toxin groups. These changes were accompanied by the increase in peptides belonging to Actinobacteria and a decrease in peptides belonging to Firmicutes. Additionally, DONhigh and ZENhigh increased the abundance of proteins associated with the ribosomes and pentose-phosphate pathways, while decreasing glycolysis and other carbohydrate metabolism pathways. Moreover, DONhigh and ZENhigh increased the abundance of the antioxidant enzyme thioredoxin-dependent peroxiredoxin. In summary, the ingestion of DON and ZEN altered the abundance of different proteins associated with microbial metabolism, genetic processing, and oxidative stress response, triggering a disruption in the gut microbiome structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Mutual Interaction between Mycotoxins and Gut Microbiome)
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Article
Biological and Biochemical Characterization of Coronado Island Rattlesnake (Crotalus helleri caliginis) Venom and Antivenom Neutralization
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 582; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080582 - 21 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1347
Abstract
The Baja California Peninsula has over 250 islands and islets with many endemic species. Among them, rattlesnakes are the most numerous but also one of the least studied groups. The study of island rattlesnake venom could guide us to a better understanding of [...] Read more.
The Baja California Peninsula has over 250 islands and islets with many endemic species. Among them, rattlesnakes are the most numerous but also one of the least studied groups. The study of island rattlesnake venom could guide us to a better understanding of evolutionary processes and the description of novel toxins. Crotalus helleri caliginis venom samples were analyzed to determine possible ontogenetic variation with SDS-PAGE in one and two dimensions and with RP-HPLC. Western Blot, ELISA, and amino-terminal sequencing were used to determine the main components of the venom. The biological and biochemical activities demonstrate the similarity of C. helleri caliginis venom to the continental species C. helleri helleri, with both having low proteolytic and phospholipase A2 (PLA2) activity but differing due to the absence of neurotoxin (crotoxin-like) in the insular species. The main components of the snake venom were metalloproteases, serine proteases, and crotamine, which was the most abundant toxin group (30–35% of full venom). The crotamine was isolated using size-exclusion chromatography where its functional effects were tested on mouse phrenic nerve–hemidiaphragm preparations in which a significant reduction in muscle twitch contractions were observed. The two Mexican antivenoms could neutralize the lethality of C. helleri caliginis venom but not the crotamine effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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Article
Cytotoxicity of Mycotoxins Frequently Present in Aquafeeds to the Fish Cell Line RTGill-W1
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 581; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080581 - 20 Aug 2021
Viewed by 617
Abstract
In the last decades, the aquaculture industry has introduced plant-based ingredients as a source of protein in aquafeeds. This has led to mycotoxin contaminations, representing an ecological, health and economic problem. The aim of this study was to determine in the RTgill-W1 fish [...] Read more.
In the last decades, the aquaculture industry has introduced plant-based ingredients as a source of protein in aquafeeds. This has led to mycotoxin contaminations, representing an ecological, health and economic problem. The aim of this study was to determine in the RTgill-W1 fish cell line the toxicity of fifteen mycotoxins of common occurrence in aquafeeds. To identify the most sensitive endpoint of toxicity, the triple assay was used. It consisted of three assays: alamarBlue, Neutral Red Uptake and CFDA-AM, which revealed the mitochondrial activity, the lysosomal integrity and the plasma membrane integrity, respectively. Most of the assayed mycotoxins were toxic predominantly at lysosomal level (enniatins, beauvericin, zearalenone, ochratoxin A, deoxynivalenol (DON) and its acetylated metabolites 15-O-acetyl-DON and 3-acetyl-DON). Aflatoxins B1 and B2 exerted the greatest effects at mitochondrial level, while fumonisins B1 and B2 and nivalenol were not toxic up to 100 µg/mL. In general, low toxicity was observed at plasma membrane level. The vast majority of the mycotoxins assayed exerted a pronounced acute effect in the fish RTgill-W1 cell line, emphasizing the need for further studies to ascertain the impact of mycotoxin contamination of fish feeds in the aquaculture industry and to establish safe limits in aquafeeds. Full article
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Article
An Update on Ciguatoxins and CTX-like Toxicity in Fish from Different Trophic Levels of the Selvagens Islands (NE Atlantic, Madeira, Portugal)
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 580; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080580 - 20 Aug 2021
Viewed by 643
Abstract
The Selvagens Islands, which are a marine protected area located at the southernmost point of the Portuguese maritime zone, have been associated with fish harboring ciguatoxins (CTX) and linked to ciguatera fish poisonings. This study reports the results of a field sampling campaign [...] Read more.
The Selvagens Islands, which are a marine protected area located at the southernmost point of the Portuguese maritime zone, have been associated with fish harboring ciguatoxins (CTX) and linked to ciguatera fish poisonings. This study reports the results of a field sampling campaign carried out in September 2018 in these remote and rarely surveyed islands. Fifty-six fish specimens from different trophic levels were caught for CTX-like toxicity determination by cell-based assay (CBA) and toxin content analysis by liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Notably, high toxicity levels were found in fish with an intermediate position in the food web, such as zebra seabream (Diplodus cervinus) and barred hogfish (Bodianus scrofa), reaching levels up to 0.75 µg CTX1B equivalent kg−1. The LC-MS/MS analysis confirmed that C-CTX1 was the main toxin, but discrepancies between CBA and LC-MS/MS in D. cervinus and top predator species, such as the yellowmouth barracuda (Sphyraena viridis) and amberjacks (Seriola spp.), suggest the presence of fish metabolic products, which need to be further elucidated. This study confirms that fish from coastal food webs of the Selvagens Islands represent a high risk of ciguatera, raising important issues for fisheries and environmental management of the Selvagens Islands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ciguatoxins)
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Article
Origin and Characterization of Extracellular Vesicles Present in the Spider Venom of Ornithoctonus hainana
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 579; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080579 - 20 Aug 2021
Viewed by 946
Abstract
Extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes and microvesicles, are membranous vesicles released from nearly all cellular types. They contain various bioactive molecules, and their molecular composition varies depending on their cellular origin. As research into venomous animals has progressed, EVs have been discovered in [...] Read more.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes and microvesicles, are membranous vesicles released from nearly all cellular types. They contain various bioactive molecules, and their molecular composition varies depending on their cellular origin. As research into venomous animals has progressed, EVs have been discovered in the venom of snakes and parasitic wasps. Although vesicle secretion in spider venom glands has been observed, these secretory vesicles’ origin and biological properties are unknown. In this study, the origin of the EVs from Ornithoctonus hainana venom was observed using transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The Ornithoctonus hainana venom extracellular vesicles (HN-EVs) were isolated and purified by density gradient centrifugation. HN-EVs possess classic membranous vesicles with a size distribution ranging from 50 to 150 nm and express the arthropod EV marker Tsp29Fb. The LC-MS/MS analysis identified a total of 150 proteins, which were divided into three groups according to their potential function: conservative vesicle transport-related proteins, virulence-related proteins, and other proteins of unknown function. Functionally, HN-EVs have hyaluronidase activity and inhibit the proliferation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) by affecting the cytoskeleton and cell cycle. Overall, this study investigates the biological characteristics of HN-EVs for the first time and sheds new light on the envenomation process of spider venom. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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Article
Inhibition of Diarrheal Shellfish Toxins Accumulation in the Mussel Perna viridis by Curcumin and Underlying Mechanisms
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 578; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080578 - 20 Aug 2021
Viewed by 658
Abstract
Diarrheal shellfish toxins (DSTs) are among the most widely distributed phytotoxins, and are associated with diarrheal shellfish poisoning (DSP) events in human beings all over the world. Therefore, it is urgent and necessary to identify an effective method for toxin removal in bivalves. [...] Read more.
Diarrheal shellfish toxins (DSTs) are among the most widely distributed phytotoxins, and are associated with diarrheal shellfish poisoning (DSP) events in human beings all over the world. Therefore, it is urgent and necessary to identify an effective method for toxin removal in bivalves. In this paper, we found that curcumin (CUR), a phytopolylphenol pigment, can inhibit the accumulation of DSTs (okadaic acid-eq) in the digestive gland of Perna viridis after Prorocentrum lima exposure. qPCR results demonstrated that CUR inhibited the induction of DSTs on the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), hormone receptor 96 (HR96) and CYP3A4 mRNA, indicating that the CUR-induced reduction in DSTs may be correlated with the inhibition of transcriptional induction of AhR, HR96 and CYP3A4. The histological examination showed that P. lima cells caused severe damage to the digestive gland of P. viridis, and the addition of curcumin effectively alleviated the damage induced by P. lima. In conclusion, our findings provide a potential method for the effective removal of toxins from DST-contaminated shellfish. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
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Article
Interactions between Filter-Feeding Bivalves and Toxic Diatoms: Influence on the Feeding Behavior of Crassostrea gigas and Pecten maximus and on Toxin Production by Pseudo-nitzschia
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 577; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080577 - 19 Aug 2021
Viewed by 597
Abstract
Among Pseudo-nitzschia species, some produce the neurotoxin domoic acid (DA), a source of serious health problems for marine organisms. Filter-feeding organisms—e.g., bivalves feeding on toxigenic Pseudo-nitzschia spp.—are the main vector of DA in humans. However, little is known about the interactions between bivalves [...] Read more.
Among Pseudo-nitzschia species, some produce the neurotoxin domoic acid (DA), a source of serious health problems for marine organisms. Filter-feeding organisms—e.g., bivalves feeding on toxigenic Pseudo-nitzschia spp.—are the main vector of DA in humans. However, little is known about the interactions between bivalves and Pseudo-nitzschia. In this study, we examined the interactions between two juvenile bivalve species—oyster (Crassostrea gigas) and scallop (Pecten maximus)—and two toxic Pseudo-nitzschia species—P. australis and P. fraudulenta. We characterized the influence of (1) diet composition and the Pseudo-nitzschia DA content on the feeding rates of oysters and scallops, and (2) the presence of bivalves on Pseudo-nitzschia toxin production. Both bivalve species fed on P. australis and P. fraudulenta. However, they preferentially filtered the non-toxic Isochrysis galbana compared to Pseudo-nitzschia. The presence of the most toxic P. australis species resulted in a decreased clearance rate in C. gigas. The two bivalve species accumulated DA in their tissues (up to 0.35 × 10−3 and 5.1 × 10−3 µg g−1 for C. gigas and P. maximus, respectively). Most importantly, the presence of bivalves induced an increase in the cellular DA contents of both Pseudo-nitzschia species (up to 58-fold in P. fraudulenta in the presence of C. gigas). This is the first evidence of DA production by Pseudo-nitzschia species stimulated in the presence of filter-feeding bivalves. The results of this study highlight complex interactions that can influence toxin production by Pseudo-nitzschia and accumulation in bivalves. These results will help to better understand the biotic factors that drive DA production by Pseudo-nitzschia and bivalve contamination during Pseudo-nitzschia blooms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phycotoxins: From Producers to Transfer in the Food Chain)
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Article
Changes of DNA Damage Effect of T-2 or Deoxynivalenol Toxins during Three Weeks Exposure in Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio L.) Revealed by LORD-Q PCR
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 576; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080576 - 19 Aug 2021
Viewed by 605
Abstract
The present study aimed to adapt a Long-run Real-time DNA Damage Quantification (LORD-Q) qPCR-based method for the analysis of the mitochondrial genome of Common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.) and detect the DNA damaging effect of T-2 (4.11 mg kg−1) and [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to adapt a Long-run Real-time DNA Damage Quantification (LORD-Q) qPCR-based method for the analysis of the mitochondrial genome of Common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.) and detect the DNA damaging effect of T-2 (4.11 mg kg−1) and deoxynivalenol (5.96 mg kg−1) mycotoxins in a 3-week feeding period. One-year-old Common carp were treated in groups (control, T-2 and DON). The mycotoxins were sprayed over the complete pelleted feed, and samples were taken weekly. Following the adaptation of LORD-Q PCR method for the Common carp species, the number of lesions were calculated to determine the amount of DNA damage. In the first and second weeks, the T-2 and the DON treated groups differed significantly from each other; however these differences disappeared in the third week. There was a significant difference in the DNA lesion values between weeks 1 and 3 in the deoxynivalenol-contaminated groups. While in the T-2 treated groups, the DNA lesion values were significantly reduced on weeks 2 and 3 compared to week 1. The results suggested that the trichothecene mycotoxins have a relevant DNA damaging effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
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Article
A Spider Toxin Exemplifies the Promises and Pitfalls of Cell-Free Protein Production for Venom Biodiscovery
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 575; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080575 - 18 Aug 2021
Viewed by 755
Abstract
Arthropod venoms offer a promising resource for the discovery of novel bioactive peptides and proteins, but the limited size of most species translates into minuscule venom yields. Bioactivity studies based on traditional fractionation are therefore challenging, so alternative strategies are needed. Cell-free synthesis [...] Read more.
Arthropod venoms offer a promising resource for the discovery of novel bioactive peptides and proteins, but the limited size of most species translates into minuscule venom yields. Bioactivity studies based on traditional fractionation are therefore challenging, so alternative strategies are needed. Cell-free synthesis based on synthetic gene fragments is one of the most promising emerging technologies, theoretically allowing the rapid, laboratory-scale production of specific venom components, but this approach has yet to be applied in venom biodiscovery. Here, we tested the ability of three commercially available cell-free protein expression systems to produce venom components from small arthropods, using U2-sicaritoxin-Sdo1a from the six-eyed sand spider Hexophtalma dolichocephala as a case study. We found that only one of the systems was able to produce an active product in low amounts, as demonstrated by SDS-PAGE, mass spectrometry, and bioactivity screening on murine neuroblasts. We discuss our findings in relation to the promises and limitations of cell-free synthesis for venom biodiscovery programs in smaller invertebrates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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Review
Secretion of Pertussis Toxin from Bordetella pertussis
by
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 574; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080574 - 18 Aug 2021
Viewed by 643
Abstract
Production and secretion of pertussis toxin (PT) is essential for the virulence of Bordetella pertussis. Due to the large oligomeric structure of PT, transport of the toxin across bacterial membrane barriers represents a significant hurdle that the bacteria must overcome in order [...] Read more.
Production and secretion of pertussis toxin (PT) is essential for the virulence of Bordetella pertussis. Due to the large oligomeric structure of PT, transport of the toxin across bacterial membrane barriers represents a significant hurdle that the bacteria must overcome in order to maintain pathogenicity. During the secretion process, PT undergoes a two-step transport process. The first step involves transport of the individual polypeptide chains of PT across the inner membrane utilizing a generalized secretion pathway, most likely the bacterial Sec system. The second step involves the use of a specialized apparatus to transport the toxin across the outer membrane of the bacterial cell. This apparatus, which has been termed the Ptl transporter and which is unique to the PT secretion pathway, is a member of the type IV family of bacterial transporters. Here, the current understanding of the PT secretion process is reviewed including a description of the Ptl proteins that assemble to form the transporter, the general structure of type IV transporters, the known similarities and differences between canonical type IV substrate transport and Ptl-mediated transport of PT, as well as the known sequence of events in the assembly and secretion of PT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pertussis Toxin and Research on Pertussis Vaccine)
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Review
The Therapeutic Strategies for Uremic Toxins Control in Chronic Kidney Disease
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 573; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080573 - 17 Aug 2021
Viewed by 744
Abstract
Uremic toxins (UTs) are mainly produced by protein metabolized by the intestinal microbiota and converted in the liver or by mitochondria or other enzymes. The accumulation of UTs can damage the intestinal barrier integrity and cause vascular damage and progressive kidney damage. Together, [...] Read more.
Uremic toxins (UTs) are mainly produced by protein metabolized by the intestinal microbiota and converted in the liver or by mitochondria or other enzymes. The accumulation of UTs can damage the intestinal barrier integrity and cause vascular damage and progressive kidney damage. Together, these factors lead to metabolic imbalances, which in turn increase oxidative stress and inflammation and then produce uremia that affects many organs and causes diseases including renal fibrosis, vascular disease, and renal osteodystrophy. This article is based on the theory of the intestinal–renal axis, from bench to bedside, and it discusses nonextracorporeal therapies for UTs, which are classified into three categories: medication, diet and supplement therapy, and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and other therapies. The effects of medications such as AST-120 and meclofenamate are described. Diet and supplement therapies include plant-based diet, very low-protein diet, probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, and nutraceuticals. The research status of Chinese herbal medicine is discussed for CAM and other therapies. This review can provide some treatment recommendations for the reduction of UTs in patients with chronic kidney disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Uremic Toxins)
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Review
Integrated Mycotoxin Management System in the Feed Supply Chain: Innovative Approaches
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 572; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080572 - 16 Aug 2021
Viewed by 658
Abstract
Exposure to mycotoxins is a worldwide concern as their occurrence is unavoidable and varies among geographical regions. Mycotoxins can affect the performance and quality of livestock production and act as carriers putting human health at risk. Feed can be contaminated by various fungal [...] Read more.
Exposure to mycotoxins is a worldwide concern as their occurrence is unavoidable and varies among geographical regions. Mycotoxins can affect the performance and quality of livestock production and act as carriers putting human health at risk. Feed can be contaminated by various fungal species, and mycotoxins co-occurrence, and modified and emerging mycotoxins are at the centre of modern mycotoxin research. Preventing mould and mycotoxin contamination is almost impossible; it is necessary for producers to implement a comprehensive mycotoxin management program to moderate these risks along the animal feed supply chain in an HACCP perspective. The objective of this paper is to suggest an innovative integrated system for handling mycotoxins in the feed chain, with an emphasis on novel strategies for mycotoxin control. Specific and selected technologies, such as nanotechnologies, and management protocols are reported as promising and sustainable options for implementing mycotoxins control, prevention, and management. Further research should be concentrated on methods to determine multi-contaminated samples, and emerging and modified mycotoxins. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of Salivary Indoxyl Sulfate with Proteinuria for Predicting Graft Deterioration in Kidney Transplant Recipients
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 571; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080571 - 16 Aug 2021
Viewed by 693
Abstract
Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a significant risk factor for developing chronic kidney disease and progression to end-stage renal disease in elderly patients. AKI is also a relatively common complication after kidney transplantation (KTx) associated with graft failure. Since the lifespan of a [...] Read more.
Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a significant risk factor for developing chronic kidney disease and progression to end-stage renal disease in elderly patients. AKI is also a relatively common complication after kidney transplantation (KTx) associated with graft failure. Since the lifespan of a transplanted kidney is limited, the risk of the loss/deterioration of graft function (DoGF) should be estimated to apply the preventive treatment. The collection of saliva and urine is more convenient than collecting blood and can be performed at home. The study aimed to verify whether non-invasive biomarkers, determined in saliva and urine, may be useful in the prediction of DoGF in kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) (n = 92). Salivary and serum toxins (p-cresol sulfate, pCS; indoxyl sulfate, IS) concentrations were determined using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Urinary proteins, hemoglobin, and glucose were measured using a semi-quantitative strip test. Salivary IS (odds ratio (OR) = 1.19), and proteinuria (OR = 3.69) were demonstrated as independent factors for the prediction of DoGF. Satisfactory discriminatory power (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) = 0.71 ± 0.07) and calibration of the model were obtained. The model showed that categories of the increasing probability of the risk of DoGF are associated with the decreased risk of graft survival. The non-invasive diagnostic biomarkers are a useful screening tool to identify high-risk patients for DoGF. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Uremic Toxins and Urinary Acute Kidney Injury Biomarkers)
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Article
Analysis of Aflatoxin Biomarkers in the Hair of Experimental Animals
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 570; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080570 - 16 Aug 2021
Viewed by 597
Abstract
Analysis of body fluids and tissues of aflatoxin exposed individuals for the presence of aflatoxins and aflatoxin metabolites has emerged as a reliable indicator of exposure and metabolism of aflatoxins. However, current aflatoxin biomarkers are not appropriate for investigating the long-term effects of [...] Read more.
Analysis of body fluids and tissues of aflatoxin exposed individuals for the presence of aflatoxins and aflatoxin metabolites has emerged as a reliable indicator of exposure and metabolism of aflatoxins. However, current aflatoxin biomarkers are not appropriate for investigating the long-term effects of aflatoxin exposure. In this explorative study, we investigated the analysis of hair as a complementary or alternative matrix for the assessment of biomarkers of long-term aflatoxin exposure. Three groups of guinea pigs were orally dosed with 5 ugkg−1bw−1, 50 ugkg−1bw−1, and 100 ugkg−1bw−1 of AFB1. Urine and hair samples were collected on days 0, 1, 2, 3, 7, 30, 60, and 90 and analysed for AFB1 and AFM1 using UHPLC-MS/MS. AFB1 and AFM1 were detected in 75% and 13.6%, respectively, of the day 1 to day 7 urine samples. AFB1 was detected in hair samples collected from day 3 up to day 60. This is the first report to confirm the deposition of AFB1 in the hair of experimental animals. These findings indicate that hair analysis has the potential to provide an accurate long-term historical record of aflatoxin exposure with potentially important implications for the field of aflatoxin biomarkers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Biomonitoring and Risk Assessment of Mycotoxins)
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Article
Association of Polygenic Risk Score and Bacterial Toxins at Screening Colonoscopy with Colorectal Cancer Progression: A Multicenter Case-Control Study
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 569; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080569 - 16 Aug 2021
Viewed by 799
Abstract
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a leading cause of cancer death worldwide, and its incidence is correlated with infections, chronic inflammation, diet, and genetic factors. An emerging aspect is that microbial dysbiosis and chronic infections triggered by certain bacteria can be risk factors for [...] Read more.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a leading cause of cancer death worldwide, and its incidence is correlated with infections, chronic inflammation, diet, and genetic factors. An emerging aspect is that microbial dysbiosis and chronic infections triggered by certain bacteria can be risk factors for tumor progression. Recent data suggest that certain bacterial toxins implicated in DNA attack or in proliferation, replication, and death can be risk factors for insurgence and progression of CRC. In this study, we recruited more than 300 biopsy specimens from people undergoing colonoscopy, and we analyzed to determine whether a correlation exists between the presence of bacterial genes coding for toxins possibly involved in CRC onset and progression and the different stages of CRC. We also analyzed to determine whether CRC-predisposing genetic factors could contribute to bacterial toxins response. Our results showed that CIF toxin is associated with polyps or adenomas, whereas pks+ seems to be a predisposing factor for CRC. Toxins from Escherichia coli as a whole have a higher incidence rate in adenocarcinoma patients compared to controls, whereas Bacteroides fragilis toxin does not seem to be associated with pre-cancerous nor with cancerous lesions. These results have been obtained irrespectively of the presence of CRC-risk loci. Full article
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Article
Reduced Expression of Metallothionein-I/II in Renal Proximal Tubules Is Associated with Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 568; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080568 - 15 Aug 2021
Viewed by 839
Abstract
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a commonly occurring complex renal syndrome that causes overall mortality in many diseases. The clinical manifestations of CKD include renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis and loss of renal function. Metallothionein-I/II (MT-I/II) is potentially expressed in the liver and kidney, and [...] Read more.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a commonly occurring complex renal syndrome that causes overall mortality in many diseases. The clinical manifestations of CKD include renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis and loss of renal function. Metallothionein-I/II (MT-I/II) is potentially expressed in the liver and kidney, and possesses antioxidant and metal detoxification properties. However, whether MT-I/II expression is associated with the prognosis of nephropathy remains unknown. In this study, we investigated the MT-I/II level in human CKD, using immunohistochemistry. MT-I/II is located on the proximal tubules and is notably reduced in patients with CKD. MT-I/II expression was significantly correlated with the functional and histological grades of CKD. In an aristolochic acid (AAI)-induced nephropathy mouse model, MT-I/II was abundantly increased after AAI injection for 7 days, but decreased subsequently compared to that induced in the acute phase when injected with AAI for 28 days. Furthermore, we found that ammonium pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate (PDTC) restored AAI-induced MT-I/II reduction in HK2 cells. The injection of PDTC ameliorated AAI-induced renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis and reduced the concentrations of blood urea nitrogen and creatinine in mouse sera. Taken together, our results indicate that MT-I/II reduction is associated with advanced CKD, and the retention of renal MT-I/II is a potential therapeutic strategy for CKD. Full article
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Review
Panorama of the Intracellular Molecular Concert Orchestrated by Actinoporins, Pore-Forming Toxins from Sea Anemones
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 567; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080567 - 13 Aug 2021
Viewed by 661
Abstract
Actinoporins (APs) are soluble pore-forming proteins secreted by sea anemones that experience conformational changes originating in pores in the membranes that can lead to cell death. The processes involved in the binding and pore-formation of members of this protein family have been deeply [...] Read more.
Actinoporins (APs) are soluble pore-forming proteins secreted by sea anemones that experience conformational changes originating in pores in the membranes that can lead to cell death. The processes involved in the binding and pore-formation of members of this protein family have been deeply examined in recent years; however, the intracellular responses to APs are only beginning to be understood. Unlike pore formers of bacterial origin, whose intracellular impact has been studied in more detail, currently, we only have knowledge of a few poorly integrated elements of the APs’ intracellular action. In this review, we present and discuss an updated landscape of the studies aimed at understanding the intracellular pathways triggered in response to APs attack with particular reference to sticholysin II, the most active isoform produced by the Caribbean Sea anemone Stichodactyla helianthus. To achieve this, we first describe the major alterations these cytolysins elicit on simpler cells, such as non-nucleated mammalian erythrocytes, and then onto more complex eukaryotic cells, including tumor cells. This understanding has provided the basis for the development of novel applications of sticholysins such as the construction of immunotoxins directed against undesirable cells, such as tumor cells, and the design of a cancer vaccine platform. These are among the most interesting potential uses for the members of this toxin family that have been carried out in our laboratory. Full article
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Article
Humoral Immune Response Evaluation in Horses Vaccinated with Recombinant Clostridium perfringens Toxoids Alpha and Beta for 12 Months
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 566; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080566 - 13 Aug 2021
Viewed by 728
Abstract
In horses, Clostridium perfringens is associated with acute and fatal enterocolitis, which is caused by a beta toxin (CPB), and myonecrosis, which is caused by an alpha toxin (CPA). Although the most effective way to prevent these diseases is through vaccination, specific clostridial [...] Read more.
In horses, Clostridium perfringens is associated with acute and fatal enterocolitis, which is caused by a beta toxin (CPB), and myonecrosis, which is caused by an alpha toxin (CPA). Although the most effective way to prevent these diseases is through vaccination, specific clostridial vaccines for horses against C. perfringens are not widely available. The aim of this study was to pioneer the immunization of horses with three different concentrations (100, 200 and 400 µg) of C. perfringens recombinant alpha (rCPA) and beta (rCPB) proteins, as well as to evaluate the humoral immune response over 360 days. Recombinant toxoids were developed and applied to 50 horses on days 0 and 30. Those vaccines attempted to stimulate the production of alpha antitoxin (anti-CPA) and beta antitoxin (anti-CPB), in addition to becoming innocuous, stable and sterile. There was a reduction in the level of neutralizing anti-CPA and anti-CPB antibodies following the 60th day; therefore, the concentrations of 200 and 400 µg capable of inducing a detectable humoral immune response were not determined until day 180. In practical terms, 200 µg is possibly the ideal concentration for use in the veterinary industry’s production of vaccines against the action of C. perfringens in equine species. Full article
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Review
In Vivo Models and In Vitro Assays for the Assessment of Pertussis Toxin Activity
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 565; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080565 - 12 Aug 2021
Viewed by 629
Abstract
One of the main virulence factors produced by Bordetella pertussis is pertussis toxin (PTx) which, in its inactivated form, is the major component of all marketed acellular pertussis vaccines. PTx ADP ribosylates Gαi proteins, thereby affecting the inhibition of adenylate cyclases and [...] Read more.
One of the main virulence factors produced by Bordetella pertussis is pertussis toxin (PTx) which, in its inactivated form, is the major component of all marketed acellular pertussis vaccines. PTx ADP ribosylates Gαi proteins, thereby affecting the inhibition of adenylate cyclases and resulting in the accumulation of cAMP. Apart from this classical model, PTx also activates some receptors and can affect various ADP ribosylation- and adenylate cyclase-independent signalling pathways. Due to its potent ADP-ribosylation properties, PTx has been used in many research areas. Initially the research primarily focussed on the in vivo effects of the toxin, including histamine sensitization, insulin secretion and leukocytosis. Nowadays, PTx is also used in toxicology research, cell signalling, research involving the blood–brain barrier, and testing of neutralizing antibodies. However, the most important area of use is testing of acellular pertussis vaccines for the presence of residual PTx. In vivo models and in vitro assays for PTx often reflect one of the toxin’s properties or details of its mechanism. Here, the established and novel in vivo and in vitro methods used to evaluate PTx are reviewed, their mechanisms, characteristics and limitations are described, and their application for regulatory and research purposes are considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pertussis Toxin and Research on Pertussis Vaccine)
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Article
Experimental Evidence of Ciguatoxin Accumulation and Depuration in Carnivorous Lionfish
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 564; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080564 - 11 Aug 2021
Viewed by 749
Abstract
Ciguatera poisoning is a food intoxication associated with the consumption of fish or shellfish contaminated, through trophic transfer, with ciguatoxins (CTXs). In this study, we developed an experimental model to assess the trophic transfer of CTXs from herbivorous parrotfish, Chlorurus microrhinos, to [...] Read more.
Ciguatera poisoning is a food intoxication associated with the consumption of fish or shellfish contaminated, through trophic transfer, with ciguatoxins (CTXs). In this study, we developed an experimental model to assess the trophic transfer of CTXs from herbivorous parrotfish, Chlorurus microrhinos, to carnivorous lionfish, Pterois volitans. During a 6-week period, juvenile lionfish were fed naturally contaminated parrotfish fillets at a daily dose of 0.11 or 0.035 ng CTX3C equiv. g−1, as measured by the radioligand-receptor binding assay (r-RBA) or neuroblastoma cell-based assay (CBA-N2a), respectively. During an additional 6-week depuration period, the remaining fish were fed a CTX-free diet. Using r-RBA, no CTXs were detectable in muscular tissues, whereas CTXs were measured in the livers of two out of nine fish sampled during exposure, and in four out of eight fish sampled during depuration. Timepoint pooled liver samples, as analyzed by CBA-N2a, confirmed the accumulation of CTXs in liver tissues, reaching 0.89 ng CTX3C equiv. g−1 after 41 days of exposure, followed by slow toxin elimination, with 0.37 ng CTX3C equiv. g−1 measured after the 6-week depuration. These preliminary results, which need to be pursued in adult lionfish, strengthen our knowledge on CTX transfer and kinetics along the food web. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ciguatoxins)
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Article
A Comparative Analysis of Methods (LC-MS/MS, LC-MS and Rapid Test Kits) for the Determination of Diarrhetic Shellfish Toxins in Oysters, Mussels and Pipis
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 563; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080563 - 11 Aug 2021
Viewed by 779
Abstract
Rapid methods for the detection of biotoxins in shellfish can assist the seafood industry and safeguard public health. Diarrhetic Shellfish Toxins (DSTs) are produced by species of the dinoflagellate genus Dinophysis, yet the comparative efficacy of their detection methods has not been [...] Read more.
Rapid methods for the detection of biotoxins in shellfish can assist the seafood industry and safeguard public health. Diarrhetic Shellfish Toxins (DSTs) are produced by species of the dinoflagellate genus Dinophysis, yet the comparative efficacy of their detection methods has not been systematically determined. Here, we examined DSTs in spiked and naturally contaminated shellfish–Sydney Rock Oysters (Saccostrea glomerata), Pacific Oysters (Magallana gigas/Crassostrea gigas), Blue Mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and Pipis (Plebidonax deltoides/Donax deltoides), using LC-MS/MS and LC-MS in 4 laboratories, and 5 rapid test kits (quantitative Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) and Protein Phosphatase Inhibition Assay (PP2A), and qualitative Lateral Flow Assay (LFA)). We found all toxins in all species could be recovered by all laboratories using LC-MS/MS (Liquid Chromatography—tandem Mass Spectrometry) and LC-MS (Liquid Chromatography—Mass Spectrometry); however, DST recovery at low and mid-level concentrations (<0.1 mg/kg) was variable (0–150%), while recovery at high-level concentrations (>0.86 mg/kg) was higher (60–262%). While no clear differences were observed between shellfish, all kits delivered an unacceptably high level (25–100%) of falsely compliant results for spiked samples. The LFA and the PP2A kits performed satisfactorily for naturally contaminated pipis (0%, 5% falsely compliant, respectively). There were correlations between spiked DSTs and quantitative methods was highest for LC-MS (r2 = 0.86) and the PP2A kit (r2 = 0.72). Overall, our results do not support the use of any DST rapid test kit as a stand-alone quality assurance measure at this time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Toxins from Harmful Algae and Seafood Safety)
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Article
Proteo-Transcriptomic Characterization of Sirex nitobei (Hymenoptera: Siricidae) Venom
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 562; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080562 - 11 Aug 2021
Viewed by 695
Abstract
The wood-boring woodwasp Sirex nitobei is a native pest in Asia, infecting and weakening the host trees in numerous ecological and commercial coniferous forest plantations. In China, hosts of S. nitobei are diverse, so the pest has spread to several provinces of China, [...] Read more.
The wood-boring woodwasp Sirex nitobei is a native pest in Asia, infecting and weakening the host trees in numerous ecological and commercial coniferous forest plantations. In China, hosts of S. nitobei are diverse, so the pest has spread to several provinces of China, resulting in considerable economic and ecological damage. During female oviposition, S. nitobei venom along with arthrospores of the symbiotic fungus Amylostereum areolatum or A. chaetica is injected into host trees, and the combination of these two biological factors causes the death of xylem host trees. The presence of venom alone causes only the yellowing and wilting of needles. In this study, we constructed the venom gland transcriptome of S. nitobei for the first time and a total of 15,036 unigenes were acquired. From the unigenes, 11,560 ORFs were identified and 537 encoding protein sequences with signal peptides at the N-terminus. Then, we used the venomics approach to characterize the venom composition of female S. nitobei and predicted 1095 proteins by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analysis. We focused on seven proteins that were both highly expressed in the venom gland transcriptome and predicted in the crude venom proteome. These seven proteins are laccase-2, laccase-3, a protein belonging to the Kazal family, chitooligosaccharidolytic β-N-acetylglucosaminidase, beta-galactosidase, icarapin-like protein, and waprin-Thr1-like protein. Using quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR), we also proved that the genes related to these seven proteins are specifically expressed in the venom glands. Finally, we revealed the functional role of S. nitobei venom in the physiological response of host trees. It can not only promote the colonization of symbiotic fungus but contribute to the development of eggs and larvae. This study provides a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanism of the woodwasp–pine interaction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution, Genomics and Proteomics of Venom)
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Review
Deoxynivalenol and Zearalenone—Synergistic or Antagonistic Agri-Food Chain Co-Contaminants?
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 561; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080561 - 11 Aug 2021
Viewed by 822
Abstract
Deoxynivalenol (DON) and Zearalenone (ZEN) are two commonly co-occurring mycotoxins produced by members of the genus Fusarium. As important food chain contaminants, these can adversely affect both human and animal health. Critically, as they are formed prior to harvesting, their occurrence cannot [...] Read more.
Deoxynivalenol (DON) and Zearalenone (ZEN) are two commonly co-occurring mycotoxins produced by members of the genus Fusarium. As important food chain contaminants, these can adversely affect both human and animal health. Critically, as they are formed prior to harvesting, their occurrence cannot be eliminated during food production, leading to ongoing contamination challenges. DON is one of the most commonly occurring mycotoxins and is found as a contaminant of cereal grains that are consumed by humans and animals. Consumption of DON-contaminated feed can result in vomiting, diarrhoea, refusal of feed, and reduced weight gain in animals. ZEN is an oestrogenic mycotoxin that has been shown to have a negative effect on the reproductive function of animals. Individually, their mode of action and impacts have been well-studied; however, their co-occurrence is less well understood. This common co-occurrence of DON and ZEN makes it a critical issue for the Agri-Food industry, with a fundamental understanding required to develop mitigation strategies. To address this issue, in this targeted review, we appraise what is known of the mechanisms of action of DON and ZEN with particular attention to studies that have assessed their toxic effects when present together. We demonstrate that parameters that impact toxicity include species and cell type, relative concentration, exposure time and administration methods, and we highlight additional research required to further elucidate mechanisms of action and mitigation strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycotoxins, Food Safety and Metrology)
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Article
Evaluation of the Therapeutic Effects of Protocatechuic Aldehyde in Diabetic Nephropathy
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 560; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13080560 - 10 Aug 2021
Viewed by 731
Abstract
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is one of the most severe chronic kidney diseases in diabetes and is the main cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Protocatechuic aldehyde (PCA) is a natural product with a variety of effects on pulmonary fibrosis. In this study, we [...] Read more.
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is one of the most severe chronic kidney diseases in diabetes and is the main cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Protocatechuic aldehyde (PCA) is a natural product with a variety of effects on pulmonary fibrosis. In this study, we examined the effects of PCA in C57BL/KS db/db male mice. Kidney morphology, renal function indicators, and Western blot, immunohistochemistry, and hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining data were analyzed. The results revealed that treatment with PCA could reduce diabetic-induced renal dysfunction, as indicated by the urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (db/m: 120.1 ± 46.1μg/mg, db/db: 453.8 ± 78.7 µg/mg, db/db + 30 mg/kg PCA: 196.6 ± 52.9 µg/mg, db/db + 60 mg/kg PCA: 163.3 ± 24.6 μg/mg, p < 0.001). However, PCA did not decrease body weight, fasting plasma glucose, or food and water intake in db/db mice. H&E staining data revealed that PCA reduced glomerular size in db/db mice (db/m: 3506.3 ± 789.3 μm2, db/db: 6538.5 ± 1818.6 μm2, db/db + 30 mg/kg PCA: 4916.9 ± 1149.6 μm2, db/db + 60 mg/kg PCA: 4160.4 ± 1186.5 μm2p < 0.001). Western blot and immunohistochemistry staining indicated that PCA restored the normal levels of diabetes-induced fibrosis markers, such as transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) and type IV collagen. Similar results were observed for epithelial–mesenchymal transition-related markers, including fibronectin, E-cadherin, and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA). PCA also decreased oxidative stress and inflammation in the kidney of db/db mice. This research provides a foundation for using PCA as an alternative therapy for DN in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Studies on Humans and Animals)
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