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Toxins, Volume 7, Issue 1 (January 2015) – 15 articles , Pages 1-218

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Review
Diversification of Ergot Alkaloids in Natural and Modified Fungi
Toxins 2015, 7(1), 201-218; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins7010201 - 20 Jan 2015
Cited by 37 | Viewed by 3752
Abstract
Several fungi in two different families––the Clavicipitaceae and the Trichocomaceae––produce different profiles of ergot alkaloids, many of which are important in agriculture and medicine. All ergot alkaloid producers share early steps before their pathways diverge to produce different end products. EasA, an oxidoreductase [...] Read more.
Several fungi in two different families––the Clavicipitaceae and the Trichocomaceae––produce different profiles of ergot alkaloids, many of which are important in agriculture and medicine. All ergot alkaloid producers share early steps before their pathways diverge to produce different end products. EasA, an oxidoreductase of the old yellow enzyme class, has alternate activities in different fungi resulting in branching of the pathway. Enzymes beyond the branch point differ among lineages. In the Clavicipitaceae, diversity is generated by the presence or absence and activities of lysergyl peptide synthetases, which interact to make lysergic acid amides and ergopeptines. The range of ergopeptines in a fungus may be controlled by the presence of multiple peptide synthetases as well as by the specificity of individual peptide synthetase domains. In the Trichocomaceae, diversity is generated by the presence or absence of the prenyl transferase encoded by easL (also called fgaPT1). Moreover, relaxed specificity of EasL appears to contribute to ergot alkaloid diversification. The profile of ergot alkaloids observed within a fungus also is affected by a delayed flux of intermediates through the pathway, which results in an accumulation of intermediates or early pathway byproducts to concentrations comparable to that of the pathway end product. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ergot Alkaloids: Chemistry, Biology and Toxicology)
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Article
Low Toxicity of Deoxynivalenol-3-Glucoside in Microbial Cells
Toxins 2015, 7(1), 187-200; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins7010187 - 20 Jan 2015
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2796
Abstract
Host plants excrete a glucosylation enzyme onto the plant surface that changes mycotoxins derived from fungal secondary metabolites to glucosylated products. Deoxynivalenol-3-glucoside (DON3G) is synthesized by grain uridine diphosphate-glucosyltransferase, and is found worldwide, although information on its toxicity is lacking. Here, we conducted [...] Read more.
Host plants excrete a glucosylation enzyme onto the plant surface that changes mycotoxins derived from fungal secondary metabolites to glucosylated products. Deoxynivalenol-3-glucoside (DON3G) is synthesized by grain uridine diphosphate-glucosyltransferase, and is found worldwide, although information on its toxicity is lacking. Here, we conducted growth tests and DNA microarray analysis to elucidate the characteristics of DON3G. The Saccharomyces cerevisiae PDR5 mutant strain exposed to DON3G demonstrated similar growth to the dimethyl sulfoxide control, and DNA microarray analysis revealed limited differences. Only 10 genes were extracted, and the expression profile of stress response genes was similar to that of DON, in contrast to metabolism genes like SER3, which encodes 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase. Growth tests with Chlamydomonas reinhardtii also showed a similar growth rate to the control sample. These results suggest that DON3G has extremely low toxicity to these cells, and the glucosylation of mycotoxins is a useful protective mechanism not only for host plants, but also for other species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
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Article
Shiga Toxin 2-Induced Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Is Minimized by Activated Protein C but Does Not Correlate with Lethal Kidney Injury
Toxins 2015, 7(1), 170-186; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins7010170 - 20 Jan 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2779
Abstract
Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli produce ribotoxic Shiga toxins (Stx), which are responsible for kidney injury and development of hemolytic uremic syndrome. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response is hypothesized to induce apoptosis contributing to organ injury; however, this process has been described only in [...] Read more.
Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli produce ribotoxic Shiga toxins (Stx), which are responsible for kidney injury and development of hemolytic uremic syndrome. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response is hypothesized to induce apoptosis contributing to organ injury; however, this process has been described only in vitro. ER stress marker transcripts of spliced XBP1 (1.78-fold), HSP40 (4.45-fold) and CHOP (7.69-fold) were up-regulated early in kidneys of Stx2 challenged mice compared to saline controls. Anti-apoptotic Bcl2 decreased (−2.41-fold vs. saline) and pro-apoptotic DR5 increased (6.38-fold vs. saline) at later time points. Cytoprotective activated protein C (APC) reduced early CHOP expression (−3.3-fold vs. untreated), increased later Bcl2 expression (5.8-fold vs. untreated), and had early effects on survival but did not alter DR5 expression. Changes in kidney ER stress and apoptotic marker transcripts were observed in Stx2-producing C. rodentium challenged mice compared to mice infected with a non-toxigenic control strain. CHOP (4.14-fold) and DR5 (2.81-fold) were increased and Bcl2 (−1.65-fold) was decreased. APC reduced CHOP expression and increased Bcl2 expression, but did not alter mortality. These data indicate that Stx2 induces renal ER stress and apoptosis in murine models of Stx2-induced kidney injury, but decreasing these processes alone was not sufficient to alter survival outcome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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Article
The Recombinant Maize Ribosome-Inactivating Protein Transiently Reduces Viral Load in SHIV89.6 Infected Chinese Rhesus Macaques
Toxins 2015, 7(1), 156-169; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins7010156 - 19 Jan 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3554
Abstract
Ribosome inactivating proteins (RIPs) inhibit protein synthesis by depurinating the large ribosomal RNA and some are found to possess anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) activity. Maize ribosome inactivating protein (RIP) has an internal inactivation loop which is proteolytically removed for full catalytic activity. Here, [...] Read more.
Ribosome inactivating proteins (RIPs) inhibit protein synthesis by depurinating the large ribosomal RNA and some are found to possess anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) activity. Maize ribosome inactivating protein (RIP) has an internal inactivation loop which is proteolytically removed for full catalytic activity. Here, we showed that the recombinant active maize RIP protected chimeric simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) 89.6-infected macaque peripheral blood mononuclear cells from lysis ex vivo and transiently reduced plasma viral load in SHIV89.6-infected rhesus macaque model. No evidence of immune dysregulation and other obvious side-effects was found in the treated macaques. Our work demonstrates the potential development of maize RIP as an anti-HIV agent without impeding systemic immune functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Toxins)
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Review
Important Poisonous Plants in Tibetan Ethnomedicine
Toxins 2015, 7(1), 138-155; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins7010138 - 14 Jan 2015
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 6429
Abstract
Tibetan ethnomedicine is famous worldwide, both for its high effectiveness and unique cultural background. Many poisonous plants have been widely used to treat disorders in the Tibetan medicinal system. In the present review article, some representative poisonous plant species are introduced in terms [...] Read more.
Tibetan ethnomedicine is famous worldwide, both for its high effectiveness and unique cultural background. Many poisonous plants have been widely used to treat disorders in the Tibetan medicinal system. In the present review article, some representative poisonous plant species are introduced in terms of their significance in traditional Tibetan medicinal practices. They are Aconitum pendulum, Strychnos nux-vomica, Datura stramonium and Anisodus tanguticus, for which the toxic chemical constituents, bioactivities and pharmacological functions are reviewed herein. The most important toxins include aconitine, strychnine, scopolamine, and anisodamine. These toxic plants are still currently in use for pain-reduction and other purposes by Tibetan healers after processing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Toxins)
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Communication
Increased Circulating Levels of Vitamin D Binding Protein in MS Patients
Toxins 2015, 7(1), 129-137; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7010129 - 13 Jan 2015
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 4991
Abstract
Vitamin D (vitD) low status is currently considered a main environmental factor in multiple sclerosis (MS) etiology and pathogenesis. VitD and its metabolites are highly hydrophobic and circulate mostly bound to the vitamin D binding protein (DBP) and with lower affinity to albumin, [...] Read more.
Vitamin D (vitD) low status is currently considered a main environmental factor in multiple sclerosis (MS) etiology and pathogenesis. VitD and its metabolites are highly hydrophobic and circulate mostly bound to the vitamin D binding protein (DBP) and with lower affinity to albumin, while less than 1% are in a free form. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the circulating levels of either of the two vitD plasma carriers and/or their relationship are altered in MS. We measured DBP and albumin plasma levels in 28 MS patients and 24 healthy controls. MS patients were found to have higher DBP levels than healthy subjects. Concomitant interferon beta therapy did not influence DBP concentration, and the difference with the control group was significant in both females and males. No significant correlation between DBP and albumin levels was observed either in healthy controls or in patients. These observations suggest the involvement of DBP in the patho-physiology of MS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Toxicity and Therapeutic Interventions in the Immune System)
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Article
The Cytolytic Activity of Vaginolysin Strictly Depends on Cholesterol and Is Potentiated by Human CD59
Toxins 2015, 7(1), 110-128; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins7010110 - 13 Jan 2015
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 3439
Abstract
Gardnerella vaginalis produces cytolysin vaginolysin (VLY), which has been suggested to be a contributor to bacterial vaginosis pathogenesis. VLY along with intermedilysin (ILY) from Streptococcus intermedius have been attributed to a group of cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (CDCs) whose pore-forming activity depends on human CD59 [...] Read more.
Gardnerella vaginalis produces cytolysin vaginolysin (VLY), which has been suggested to be a contributor to bacterial vaginosis pathogenesis. VLY along with intermedilysin (ILY) from Streptococcus intermedius have been attributed to a group of cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (CDCs) whose pore-forming activity depends on human CD59 (hCD59). Here, we show that different types of cells lacking hCD59 are susceptible to VLY-mediated lysis, albeit to different extents. We analyze the effects of both hCD59 and cholesterol on VLY cytolytic activity. We show that VLY binds to cholesterol-rich membranes of non-human cells, while VLY with an impaired cholesterol recognition site retains binding to the hCD59-containing cells. We further demonstrate that cholesterol binding by VLY is sufficient to trigger the formation of oligomeric complexes on cholesterol rich-liposomes lacking hCD59. Thus, VLY may induce cell lysis following two alternative pathways. One requires only cholesterol and does not depend on hCD59. The second pathway involves hCD59 contribution similarly to ILY. Apparently, under physiological conditions VLY acts in the most effective way by accepting the assistance of hCD59. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
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Article
Nephroprotective Role of Resveratrol and Ursolic Acid in Aristolochic Acid Intoxicated Zebrafish
Toxins 2015, 7(1), 97-109; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins7010097 - 13 Jan 2015
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 3424
Abstract
The nephrotoxicity of aristolochic acid (AA) is well known, but information regarding the attenuation of AA-induced toxicity is limited. The aim of the present study was to study the nephroprotective effects of resveratrol (Resv) and ursolic acid (UA) in a zebrafish model. We [...] Read more.
The nephrotoxicity of aristolochic acid (AA) is well known, but information regarding the attenuation of AA-induced toxicity is limited. The aim of the present study was to study the nephroprotective effects of resveratrol (Resv) and ursolic acid (UA) in a zebrafish model. We used two transgenic lines, Tg(wt1b:EGFP) and Tg(gata1:DsRed), to evaluate the nephroprotective effects of Resv and UA by recording subtle changes in the kidney and red blood cell circulation. Our results demonstrated that both Resv and UA treatment can attenuate AA-induced kidney malformations and improve blood circulation. Glomerular filtration rate assays revealed that both Resv and UA treatment can restore renal function (100% for Mock; 56.1% ± 17.3% for AA-treated; 80.2% ± 11.3% for Resv+AA; and 83.1% ± 8.1% for UA+AA, n = 15). Furthermore, real-time RT-PCR experiments showed that pre-treatment with either Resv or UA suppresses expression of pro-inflammatory genes. In conclusion, our findings reveal that AA-induced nephrotoxicities can be attenuated by pre-treatment with either Resv or UA. Therefore, we believe that zebrafish represent an efficient model for screening AA-protective natural compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
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Article
Triggering Apoptotic Death of Human Epidermal Keratinocytes by Malic Acid: Involvement of Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress- and Mitochondria-Dependent Signaling Pathways
Toxins 2015, 7(1), 81-96; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins7010081 - 09 Jan 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3971
Abstract
Malic acid (MA) has been commonly used in cosmetic products, but the safety reports in skin are sparse. To investigate the biological effects of MA in human skin keratinocytes, we investigated the potential cytotoxicity and apoptotic effects of MA in human keratinocyte cell [...] Read more.
Malic acid (MA) has been commonly used in cosmetic products, but the safety reports in skin are sparse. To investigate the biological effects of MA in human skin keratinocytes, we investigated the potential cytotoxicity and apoptotic effects of MA in human keratinocyte cell lines (HaCaT). The data showed that MA induced apoptosis based on the observations of DAPI staining, DNA fragmentation, and sub-G1 phase in HaCaT cells and normal human epidermal keratinocytes (NHEKs). Flow cytometric assays also showed that MA increased the production of mitochondrial superoxide (mito-SOX) but decreased the mitochondrial membrane potential. Analysis of bioenergetics function with the XF 24 analyzer Seahorse extracellular flux analyzer demonstrated that oxygen consumption rate (OCR) was significantly decreased whereas extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) was increased in MA-treated keratinocytes. The occurrence of apoptosis was proved by the increased expressions of FasL, Fas, Bax, Bid, caspases-3, -8, -9, cytochrome c, and the declined expressions of Bcl-2, PARP. MA also induced endoplasmic reticulum stress associated protein expression such as GRP78, GADD153, and ATF6α. We demonstrated that MA had anti-proliferative effect in HaCaT cell through the inhibition of cell cycle progression at G0/G1, and the induction of programmed cell death through endoplasmic reticulum stress- and mitochondria-dependent pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Toxins)
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Article
Effects of Natural Flavonoids on Photosynthetic Activity and Cell Integrity in Microcystis aeruginosa
Toxins 2015, 7(1), 66-80; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins7010066 - 09 Jan 2015
Cited by 61 | Viewed by 3704
Abstract
Flavonoids are natural polyphenolic compounds produced by many aquatic plants and released in their environments. In this study, the effects of several aquatic flavonoids on cyanobacterial Microcystis aeruginosa, especially in relation to the cell growth, photosynthetic activity, cell morphology, and cell membrane [...] Read more.
Flavonoids are natural polyphenolic compounds produced by many aquatic plants and released in their environments. In this study, the effects of several aquatic flavonoids on cyanobacterial Microcystis aeruginosa, especially in relation to the cell growth, photosynthetic activity, cell morphology, and cell membrane integrity, were investigated. Significant growth inhibition was observed when the cyanobacteria were exposed to three flavonoids, namely, 5,4'-dihydroxyflavone (DHF), apigenin, and luteolin. Luteolin reduced the effective quantum yield, photosynthetic efficiency, and maximal electron transport rate by 70%, 59% and 44%, respectively, whereas 5,4'-DHF and apigenin slightly affected these parameters, which implies that luteolin disrupts the photosynthetic system. Moreover, 5,4'-DHF and apigenin compromised the membrane integrity, and induced membrane depolarization in 52% and 38%, and permeabilization in 30% and 44% of the cells, respectively. The 5,4'-DHF and apigenin showed more pronounced effects on M. aeruginosa morphology and membrane integrity, compared to the luteolin. These results suggest that flavonoids could have significant effects on growth and physiological functions in cyanobacterial species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
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Review
Ricin Trafficking in Cells
Toxins 2015, 7(1), 49-65; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins7010049 - 09 Jan 2015
Cited by 54 | Viewed by 4513
Abstract
The heterodimeric plant toxin ricin binds exposed galactosyls at the cell surface of target mammalian cells, and, following endocytosis, is transported in vesicular carriers to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Subsequently, the cell-binding B chain (RTB) and the catalytic A chain (RTA) are separated [...] Read more.
The heterodimeric plant toxin ricin binds exposed galactosyls at the cell surface of target mammalian cells, and, following endocytosis, is transported in vesicular carriers to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Subsequently, the cell-binding B chain (RTB) and the catalytic A chain (RTA) are separated reductively, RTA embeds in the ER membrane and then retrotranslocates (or dislocates) across this membrane. The protein conducting channels used by RTA are usually regarded as part of the ER-associated protein degradation system (ERAD) that removes misfolded proteins from the ER for destruction by the cytosolic proteasomes. However, unlike ERAD substrates, cytosolic RTA avoids destruction and folds into a catalytic conformation that inactivates its target ribosomes. Protein synthesis ceases, and subsequently the cells die apoptotically. This raises questions about how this protein avoids the pathways that are normally sanctioned for ER-dislocating substrates. In this review we focus on the molecular events that occur with non-tagged ricin and its isolated subunits at the ER–cytosol interface. This focus reveals that intra-membrane interactions of RTA may control its fate, an area that warrants further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Toxins)
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Editorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Toxins in 2014
Toxins 2015, 7(1), 43-48; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins7010043 - 08 Jan 2015
Viewed by 2054
Abstract
The editors of Toxins would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2014:[...] Full article
Article
Plectasin, First Animal Toxin-Like Fungal Defensin Blocking Potassium Channels through Recognizing Channel Pore Region
Toxins 2015, 7(1), 34-42; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins7010034 - 05 Jan 2015
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 3754
Abstract
The potassium channels were recently found to be inhibited by animal toxin-like human β-defensin 2 (hBD2), the first defensin blocker of potassium channels. Whether there are other defensin blockers from different organisms remains an open question. Here, we reported the potassium channel-blocking plectasin, [...] Read more.
The potassium channels were recently found to be inhibited by animal toxin-like human β-defensin 2 (hBD2), the first defensin blocker of potassium channels. Whether there are other defensin blockers from different organisms remains an open question. Here, we reported the potassium channel-blocking plectasin, the first defensin blocker from a fungus. Based on the similar cysteine-stabilized alpha-beta (CSαβ) structure between plectasin and scorpion toxins acting on potassium channels, we found that plectasin could dose-dependently block Kv1.3 channel currents through electrophysiological experiments. Besides Kv1.3 channel, plectasin could less inhibit Kv1.1, Kv1.2, IKCa, SKCa3, hERG and KCNQ channels at the concentration of 1 μΜ. Using mutagenesis and channel activation experiments, we found that outer pore region of Kv1.3 channel was the binding site of plectasin, which is similar to the interacting site of Kv1.3 channel recognized by animal toxin blockers. Together, these findings not only highlight the novel function of plectasin as a potassium channel inhibitor, but also imply that defensins from different organisms functionally evolve to be a novel kind of potassium channel inhibitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ion Channel Neurotoxins)
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Article
Characterization of 27 Mycotoxin Binders and the Relation with in Vitro Zearalenone Adsorption at a Single Concentration
Toxins 2015, 7(1), 21-33; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7010021 - 05 Jan 2015
Cited by 38 | Viewed by 4135
Abstract
The aim of this study was to characterize 27 feed additives marketed as mycotoxin binders and to screen them for their in vitro zearalenone (ZEN) adsorption. Firstly, 27 mycotoxin binders, commercially available in Belgium and The Netherlands, were selected and characterized. Characterization was [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to characterize 27 feed additives marketed as mycotoxin binders and to screen them for their in vitro zearalenone (ZEN) adsorption. Firstly, 27 mycotoxin binders, commercially available in Belgium and The Netherlands, were selected and characterized. Characterization was comprised of X-ray diffraction (XRD) profiling of the mineral content and d-spacing, determination of the cation exchange capacity (CEC) and the exchangeable base cations, acidity, mineral fraction, relative humidity (RH) and swelling volume. Secondly, an in vitro screening experiment was performed to evaluate the adsorption of a single concentration of ZEN in a ZEN:binder ratio of 1:20,000. The free concentration of ZEN was measured after 4 h of incubation with each of the 27 mycotoxin binders at a pH of 2.5, 6.5 and 8.0. A significant correlation between the free concentration of ZEN and both the d-spacing and mineral fraction of the mycotoxin binders was seen at the three pH levels. A low free concentration of ZEN was demonstrated using binders containing mixed-layered smectites and binders containing humic acids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Detoxification of Mycotoxins)
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Review
Disorder-to-Order Transition in the CyaA Toxin RTX Domain: Implications for Toxin Secretion
Toxins 2015, 7(1), 1-20; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins7010001 - 31 Dec 2014
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 3410
Abstract
The past decade has seen a fundamental reappraisal of the protein structure-to-function paradigm because it became evident that a significant fraction of polypeptides are lacking ordered structures under physiological conditions. Ligand-induced disorder-to-order transition plays a key role in the biological functions of many [...] Read more.
The past decade has seen a fundamental reappraisal of the protein structure-to-function paradigm because it became evident that a significant fraction of polypeptides are lacking ordered structures under physiological conditions. Ligand-induced disorder-to-order transition plays a key role in the biological functions of many proteins that contain intrinsically disordered regions. This trait is exhibited by RTX (Repeat in ToXin) motifs found in more than 250 virulence factors secreted by Gram-negative pathogenic bacteria. We have investigated several RTX-containing polypeptides of different lengths, all derived from the Bordetella pertussis adenylate cyclase toxin, CyaA. Using a combination of experimental approaches, we showed that the RTX proteins exhibit the hallmarks of intrinsically disordered proteins in the absence of calcium. This intrinsic disorder mainly results from internal electrostatic repulsions between negatively charged residues of the RTX motifs. Calcium binding triggers a strong reduction of the mean net charge, dehydration and compaction, folding and stabilization of secondary and tertiary structures of the RTX proteins. We propose that the intrinsically disordered character of the RTX proteins may facilitate the uptake and secretion of virulence factors through the bacterial secretion machinery. These results support the hypothesis that the folding reaction is achieved upon protein secretion and, in the case of proteins containing RTX motifs, could be finely regulated by the calcium gradient across bacterial cell wall. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intracellular Traffic and Transport of Bacterial Protein Toxins)
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