Tumor endothelium marker-8 (TEM8) and capillary morphogenesis protein-2 (CMG2) are the two well-characterized anthrax toxin receptors, each containing a von Willebrand factor A (vWA) domain responsible for anthrax protective antigen (PA) binding. Recently, a cell-based analysis was used to implicate another vWA domain-containing protein, integrin β1 as a third anthrax toxin receptor. To explore whether proteins other than TEM8 and CMG2 function as anthrax toxin receptors in vivo, we challenged mice lacking TEM8 and/or CMG2. Specifically, we used as an effector protein the fusion protein FP59, a fusion between the PA-binding domain of anthrax lethal factor (LF) and the catalytic domain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa exotoxin A. FP59 is at least 50-fold more potent than LF in the presence of PA, with 2 μg PA + 2 μg FP59 being sufficient to kill a mouse. While TEM8−/− and wild type control mice succumbed to a 5 μg PA + 5 μg FP59 challenge, CMG2−/− mice were completely resistant to this dose, confirming that CMG2 is the major anthrax toxin receptor in vivo. To detect whether any toxic effects are mediated by TEM8 or other putative receptors such as integrin β1, CMG2−/−/TEM8−/− mice were challenged with as many as five doses of 50 μg PA + 50 μg FP59. Strikingly, the CMG2−/−/TEM8−/− mice were completely resistant to the 5-dose challenge. These results strongly suggest that TEM8 is the only minor anthrax toxin receptor mediating direct lethality in vivo and that other proteins implicated as receptors do not play this role.
anthrax; CMG2; FP59; integrin β1; Tem8
The mouse bioassay (MBA) for diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) toxins has been widely used in many countries of the world. In the Japanese and EU methods, male mice are designated to be used for MBA. Female mice were described to be less susceptible than male mice. To the best of our knowledge, however, there have been no reports on the details of sex differences in susceptibility to DSP toxins. In this study, we investigated whether, and to what extent, female mice are less sensitive to DSP toxins. A lethal dose of okadaic acid (OA), one of the representative DSP toxins, was injected intraperitoneally into mice. The mice were observed until 24 hours after injection. Both male and female mice of ICR and ddY strains, which are designated in the Japanese official method, were compared. All the mice were four weeks old and weighed 18–20 g. The experiments were repeated twice. The lethality was 70%–100%. Survival analysis showed no sex differences in susceptibility to OA, but ICR female mice showed significant resistance compared with other groups in one out of two trials. These results indicate that sex differences were not clear but, nonetheless, male mice showed more stable results.
sex difference; okadaic acid; mouse bioassay; diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) toxin
This retrospective study was performed to verify the efficacy and safety of Onabotulinumtoxin A (BTX-A) in treating children with neurogenic bladder (NB) secondary to myelomeningocele (MMC) with detrusor overactivity/low compliance. From January 2002 to June 2011, 47 patients out of 68 with neuropathic bladder were selected (22 females, 25 males, age range 5–17 years; mean age 10.7 years at first injection). They presented overactive/poor compliant neurogenic bladders on clean intermittent catheterization, and were resistant or non compliant to pharmacological therapy. Ten patients presented second to fourth grade concomitant monolateral/bilateral vesicoureteral reflux (VUR). All patients were incontinent despite catheterization. In the majority of patients Botulinum-A toxin was administered under general/local anesthesia by the injection of 200 IU of toxin, without exceeding the dosage of 12IU/kg body weight, diluted in 20 cc of saline solution in 20 sites, except in the periureteral areas. Follow-up included clinical and ultrasound examination, urodynamics performed at 6, 12 and 24 weeks, and annually thereafter. Seven patients remained stable, 21 patients required a second injection after 6–9 months and 19 a third injection. VUR was corrected, when necessary, in the same session after the BT-A injection, by 1–3 cc of subureteral Deflux®. Urodynamic parameters considered were leak point pressure (LPP), leak point volume (LPV) and specific volume at 20 cm H2O pressure. The results were analyzed using the Wilcoxon test. All patients experienced a significant 66.45% average increase of LPV (Wilcoxon paired rank test = 7169 × 10 −10) and a significant 118.57% average increase of SC 20 (Wilcoxon paired rank test = 2.466 × 10 −12). The difference between preoperative and postoperative LPP resulted not significant (Wilcoxon paired rank test = 0.8858) No patient presented severe systemic complications; 38/47 patients presented slight hematuria for 2–3 days. Two patients had postoperative urinary tract infection. All patients were hospitalized for 24 h with catheterization. Thirty-eight out of 47 patients achieved dryness between CIC; nine patients improved their incontinence but still need pads. Ten patients have resumed anticholinergic agents. Our results suggest that the use of BTX-A is safe and effective in patients with MMC with a positive effect on their dryness and quality of life.
myelomeningocele; neurogenic bladder; vesicoureteral reflux; urodynamics; onabotulinumtoxin A
Enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) causes severe diseases in humans worldwide. One of its virulence factors is EspP, which belongs to the serine protease autotransporters of Enterobacteriaceae (SPATE) family. In this review we recapitulate the current data on prevalence, biogenesis, structural properties and functionality. EspP has been used to investigate mechanistic details of autotransport, and recent studies indicate that this transport mechanism is not autonomous but rather dependent on additional factors. Currently, five subtypes have been identified (EspPα-EspPε), with EspPα being associated with highly virulent EHEC serotypes and isolates from patients with severe disease. EspPα has been shown to degrade major proteins of the complement cascade, namely C3 and C5 and probably interferes with hemostasis by cleavage of coagulation factor V. Furthermore, EspPα is believed to contribute to biofilm formation perhaps by polymerization to rope-like structures. Together with the proteolytic activity, EspPα might ameliorate host colonization and interfere with host response.
EspP; EHEC; virulence factor; SPATE; autotransporter; serine protease
Grape berries attacked by Lobesia botrana larvae are more easily infected by Aspergillus section Nigri (black aspergilli) ochratoxigenic species. Two-year field trials were carried out in Apulia (Italy) to evaluate a bioinsecticide control strategy against L. botrana and the indirect effect on reducing ochratoxin A (OTA) contamination in vineyards. A commercial Bacillus thuringiensis formulate and an experimental Beauveria bassiana (ITEM-1559) formulate were tested in two vineyards cultivated with the same grape variety, Negroamaro, but with two different training systems (espalier and little-arbor techniques). In both years and training systems the treatments by B. bassiana ITEM-1559 significantly controlled L. botrana larvae attacks with effectiveness similar to B. thuringensis (more than 20%). A significant reduction of OTA concentrations (up to 80% compared to untreated controls) was observed only in the first year in both training systems, when the metereological parameters prior to harvest were more favorable to the insect attack. Results of field trials showed that B. bassiana ITEM-1559 is a valid bioinsecticide against L. botrana and that grape moth biocontrol is a strategy to reduce OTA contamination in vineyard in seasons with heavy natural infestation.
Lobesia botrana; biological control; Beauveria bassiana; black aspergilli; ochratoxin A; grapes
The treatment of children with cerebral palsy with Botulinum Toxin is considered safe and effective, but is only approved for children older than two years of age. The effect of BoNT-A injection on juvenile skeletal muscle especially on neuromuscular junction density, distribution and morphology is poorly delineated and concerns of irreversible damage to the motor endplates especially in young children exist. In contrast, earlier treatment could be appropriate to improve the attainment of motor milestones and general motor development. This review systematically analyzes the evidence regarding this hypothesis. A database search, including PubMed and Medline databases, was performed and all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing the efficacy of Botulinum Toxin in children younger than two years were identified. Two authors independently extracted the data and the methods of all identified trials were assessed. Three RCTs met the inclusion criteria. The results of the analysis revealed an improvement in spasticity of the upper and lower extremities as well as in the range of motion in the joints of the lower limbs. However, evidence of an improvement of general motor development could not be found, as the assessment of this area was not completely specified for this patient group. Based on available evidence it can not be concluded that Botulinum Toxin treatment in children younger than two years improves the achievement of motor milestones. However, there is evidence for the reduction of spasticity, avoiding contractures and delaying surgery. Due to some limitations, the results of this review should be cautiously interpreted. More studies, long-term follow up independent high-quality RCTs with effectiveness analyses are needed.
botulinum toxin A; cerebral palsy; CP; multi-level treatment; key-muscle concept; infants; toddlers; motor development; motor milestones
Tetanus toxin, the product of Clostridium tetani, is the cause of tetanus symptoms. Tetanus toxin is taken up into terminals of lower motor neurons and transported axonally to the spinal cord and/or brainstem. Here the toxin moves trans-synaptically into inhibitory nerve terminals, where vesicular release of inhibitory neurotransmitters becomes blocked, leading to disinhibition of lower motor neurons. Muscle rigidity and spasms ensue, often manifesting as trismus/lockjaw, dysphagia, opistotonus, or rigidity and spasms of respiratory, laryngeal, and abdominal muscles, which may cause respiratory failure. Botulinum toxin, in contrast, largely remains in lower motor neuron terminals, inhibiting acetylcholine release and muscle activity. Therefore, botulinum toxin may reduce tetanus symptoms. Trismus may be treated with botulinum toxin injections into the masseter and temporalis muscles. This should probably be done early in the course of tetanus to reduce the risk of pulmonary aspiration, involuntary tongue biting, anorexia and dental caries. Other muscle groups are also amenable to botulinum toxin treatment. Six tetanus patients have been successfully treated with botulinum toxin A. This review discusses the use of botulinum toxin for tetanus in the context of the pathophysiology, symptomatology, and medical treatment of Clostridium tetani infection.
tetanus; tetanospasmin; Clostridium tetani; botulinum toxin; trismus; lockjaw; dysphagia
Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a renal mycotoxin and transplacental genotoxic carcinogen. The aim of this study was to evaluate the natural occurrence of OTA in equine blood samples and its placental transfer. For the assessment of OTA levels, serum samples were collected from 12 stallions, 7 cycling mares and 17 pregnant mares. OTA was found in 83% of serum samples (median value = 121.4 pg/mL). For the assessment of placental transfer, serum samples were collected from the 17 mares after delivery and from the umbilical cords of their foals, after foaling. Fourteen serum samples from pregnant mares contained OTA (median value = 106.5 pg/mL), but only 50% of their foals were exposed (median values = 96.6 pg/mL). HPLC analysis carried out on four serum samples (collected from two mares and their respective foals) supported the ELISA results on OTA placental transfer. This is the first report on the natural occurrence of OTA in horse serum samples and placental transfer in horses.
serum; ochratoxin A; mycotoxin; placental transfer; horse
Botulinum toxin injections may significantly improve lower limb kinematics in gait of children with spastic forms of cerebral palsy. Here we aimed to analyze the effect of lower limb botulinum toxin injections on trunk postural control and lower limb intralimb (intersegmental) coordination in children with spastic diplegia or spastic hemiplegia (GMFCS I or II). We recorded tridimensional trunk kinematics and thigh, shank and foot elevation angles in fourteen 3–12 year-old children with spastic diplegia and 14 with spastic hemiplegia while walking either barefoot or with ankle-foot orthoses (AFO) before and after botulinum toxin infiltration according to a management protocol. We found significantly greater trunk excursions in the transverse plane (barefoot condition) and in the frontal plane (AFO condition). Intralimb coordination showed significant differences only in the barefoot condition, suggesting that reducing the degrees of freedom may limit the emergence of selective coordination. Minimal relative phase analysis showed differences between the groups (diplegia and hemiplegia) but there were no significant alterations unless the children wore AFO. We conclude that botulinum toxin injection in lower limb spastic muscles leads to changes in motor planning, including through interference with trunk stability, but a combination of therapies (orthoses and physical therapy) is needed in order to learn new motor strategies.
Botulinum toxin; cerebral palsy; postural control; intersegmental coordination
Clostridium difficile toxin A (TcdA) and toxin B (TcdB) are the causative agent of the C. difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD) and its severe form, the pseudomembranous colitis (PMC). TcdB from the C. difficile strain VPI10463 mono-glucosylates (thereby inactivates) the small GTPases Rho, Rac, and Cdc42, while Toxin B from the variant C. difficile strain serotype F 1470 (TcdBF) specifically mono-glucosylates Rac but not Rho(A/B/C). TcdBF is related to lethal toxin from C. sordellii (TcsL) that glucosylates Rac1 but not Rho(A/B/C). In this study, the effects of Rho-inactivating toxins on the concentrations of cellular F-actin were investigated using the rhodamine-phalloidin-based F-actin ELISA. TcdB induces F-actin depolymerization comparable to the RhoA-inactivating exoenzyme C3 from C. limosum (C3-lim). In contrast, the Rac-glucosylating toxins TcdBF and TcsL did not cause F-actin depolymerization. These observations led to the conclusion that F-actin depolymerization depends on the toxin’s capability of glucosylating RhoA. Furthermore, the integrity of focal adhesions (FAs) was analyzed using paxillin and p21-activated kinase (PAK) as FA marker proteins. Paxillin dephosphorylation was observed upon treatment of cells with TcdB, TcdBF, or C3-lim. In conclusion, the Rho-inactivating toxins induce loss of cell shape by either F-actin depolymerization (upon RhoA inactivation) or the disassembly of FAs (upon Rac1 inactivation).
Rho protein; mono-glucosylation; latrunculin B; C. botulinum C2 toxin; C. limosum exoenzyme C3
Inhaled Bacillus anthracis spores germinate and the subsequent vegetative growth results in bacteremia and toxin production. Anthrax toxin is tripartite: the lethal factor and edema factor are enzymatic moieties, while the protective antigen (PA) binds to cell receptors and the enzymatic moieties. Antibiotics can control B. anthracis bacteremia, whereas raxibacumab binds PA and blocks lethal toxin effects. This study assessed plasma PA kinetics in rabbits following an inhaled B. anthracis spore challenge. Additionally, at 84 h post-challenge, 42% of challenged rabbits that had survived were treated with either levofloxacin/placebo or levofloxacin/raxibacumab. The profiles were modeled using a modified Gompertz/second exponential growth phase model in untreated rabbits, with added monoexponential PA elimination in treated rabbits. Shorter survival times were related to a higher plateau and a faster increase in PA levels. PA elimination half-lives were 10 and 19 h for the levofloxacin/placebo and levofloxacin/raxibacumab groups, respectively, with the difference attributable to persistent circulating PA-raxibacumab complex. PA kinetics were similar between untreated and treated rabbits, with one exception: treated rabbits had a plateau phase nearly twice as long as that for untreated rabbits. Treated rabbits that succumbed to disease had higher plateau PA levels and shorter plateau duration than surviving treated rabbits.
protective antigen; kinetics; anthrax; raxibacumab
Ergot alkaloids (the sum of individual ergot alkaloids are termed as total alkaloids, TA) are produced by the fungus Claviceps purpurea, which infests cereal grains commonly used as feedstuffs. Ergot alkaloids potentially modulate microsomal and mitochondrial hepatic enzymes. Thus, the aim of the present experiment was to assess their effects on microsomal and mitochondrial liver function using the 13C-Methacetin (MC) and 13C-α-ketoisocaproic acid (KICA) breath test, respectively. Two ergot batches were mixed into piglet diets, resulting in 11 and 22 mg (Ergot 5-low and Ergot 5-high), 9 and 14 mg TA/kg (Ergot 15-low and Ergot 15-high) and compared to an ergot-free control group. Feed intake and live weight gain decreased significantly with the TA content (p < 0.001). Feeding the Ergot 5-high diet tended to decrease the 60-min-cumulative 13CO2 percentage of the dose recovery (cPDR60) by 26% and 28% in the MC and KICA breath test, respectively, compared to the control group (p = 0.065). Therefore, both microsomal and mitochondrial liver function was slightly affected by ergot alkaloids.
ergot alkaloids; breath test; pig
Maize breeders continue to seek new sources of aflatoxin resistance, but most lines identified as resistance sources are late maturing. The vast difference in flowering time makes it hard to cross these lines with proprietary commercial lines that mature much earlier and often subjects the reproductive phase of these resistant lines to the hottest and driest portion of the summer, making silking, pollination and grain fill challenging. Two hundred crosses from the GEM Project were screened for aflatoxin accumulation at Mississippi State in 2008, and a subset of these lines were screened again in 2009. The breeding cross UR13085:S99g99u was identified as a potential source of aflatoxin resistance, and maturity-based selections were made from an S2 breeding population from this same germplasm source: UR13085:S99g99u-B-B. The earliest maturing selections performed poorly for aflatoxin accumulation, but later maturing selections were identified with favorable levels of aflatoxin accumulation. These selections, while designated as “late” within this study, matured earlier than most aflatoxin resistant lines presently available to breeders. Two selections from this study, designated S5_L7 and S5_L8, are potential sources of aflatoxin resistance and will be advanced for line development and additional aflatoxin screening over more site years and environments.
aflatoxin; GEM Project; maize germplasm; bidirectional selection; Aspergillus flavus; maturity
The potent hepatotoxin and carcinogen aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is a common mycotoxin contaminant of grains used in animal feeds. Aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) is the major metabolite of AFB1 in mammals, being partially excreted into milk, and is a possible human carcinogen. The maximum permitted concentration of AFM1 in cows’ milk is 0.05 μg/kg in Israel and the European Union. Since milk yield and the carry-over of AFB1 in the feed to AFM1 in the milk are highly correlated, it was considered important to determine the AFM1 carry-over in Israeli-Holstein dairy cows, distinguished by world record high milk production. Twelve such cows were used to determine AFM1 carry-over following daily oral administration of feed containing ~86 μg AFB1 for 7 days. The mean carry-over rate at steady-state (Days 3–7) was 5.8% and 2.5% in mid-lactation and late-lactation groups, respectively. The carry-over appears to increase exponentially with milk yield and could be described by the equation: carry-over% = 0.5154 e0.0521 × milk yield, with r2 = 0.6224. If these data truly reflect the carry-over in the national Israeli dairy herd, the maximum level of AFB1 in feed should not exceed 1.4 μg/kg, a value 3.6 times lower than the maximum residue level currently applied in Israel.
aflatoxin B1; aflatoxin M1; carry-over; Israeli-Holstein cows
The control of mycotoxins is a global challenge not only in human consumption but also in nutrition of farm animals including aquatic species. Fusarium toxins, such as deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEN), are common contaminants of animal feed but no study reported the occurrence of both mycotoxins in fish feed so far. Here, we report for the first time the occurrence of DON and ZEN in samples of commercial fish feed designed for nutrition of cyprinids collected from central Europe. A maximal DON concentration of 825 μg kg−1 feed was found in one feed whereas average values of 289 μg kg−1 feed were noted. ZEN was the more prevalent mycotoxin but the concentrations were lower showing an average level of 67.9 μg kg−1 feed.
Fusarium toxins; aquaculture; feedstuffs
The amounts of puffer toxin (tetrodotoxin, TTX) extracted from the fresh and the traditional Japanese salted and fermented “Nukazuke” and “Kasuzuke” ovaries of Takifugu stictonotus (T. stictonotus) were quantitatively analyzed in the voltage-dependent sodium current (INa) recorded from mechanically dissociated single rat hippocampal CA1 neurons. The amount of TTX contained in “Nukazuke” and “Kasuzuke” ovaries decreased to 1/50–1/90 times of that of fresh ovary during a salted and successive fermented period over a few years. The final toxin concentration after fermentation was almost close to the TTX level extracted from T. Rubripes” fresh muscle that is normally eaten. It was concluded that the fermented “Nukazuke” and “Kasuzuke” ovaries of puffer fish T. Stictonotus are safe and harmless as food.
puffer fish; Takifugu Stictonotus; fermented puffer’s ovary; tetrodotoxin; rat hippocampal neuron; sodium current
Stroke imposes significant burdens on health services and society, and as such there is a growing need to assess the cost-effectiveness of stroke treatment to ensure maximum benefit is derived from limited resources. This study compared the cost-effectiveness of treating post-stroke upper limb spasticity with botulinum toxin type A plus an upper limb therapy programme against the therapy programme alone. Data on resource use and health outcomes were prospectively collected for 333 patients with post-stroke upper limb spasticity taking part in a randomized trial and combined to estimate the incremental cost per quality adjusted life year (QALY) gained of botulinum toxin type A plus therapy relative to therapy alone. The base case incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of botulinum toxin type A plus therapy was £93,500 per QALY gained. The probability of botulinum toxin type A plus therapy being cost-effective at the England and Wales cost-effectiveness threshold value of £20,000 per QALY was 0.36. The point estimates of the ICER remained above £20,000 per QALY for a range of sensitivity analyses, and the probability of botulinum toxin type A plus therapy being cost-effective at the threshold value did not exceed 0.39, regardless of the assumptions made.
botulinum toxin type A; stroke; upper limb spasticity; cost-effectiveness
The roles of immune cells and their soluble products during myocardial infarction (MI) are not completely understood. Here, we observed that the percentages of IL-17, but not IL-22, producing cells are reduced in mice splenocytes after developing MI. To correlate this finding with the functional activity of IL-17, we sought to determine its effect on monocytes. In particular, we presumed that this cytokine might affect the chemotaxis of monocytes important for cardiac inflammation and remodeling. We observed that IL-17 tends to reduce the expression of two major chemokine receptors involved in monocyte chemotaxis, namely CCR2 and CXCR4. Further analysis showed that monocytes pretreated with IL-17 have reduced in vitro chemotaxis towards the ligand for CCR2, i.e., MCP-1/CCL2, and the ligand for CXCR4, i.e., SDF-1α/CXCL12. Our results support the possibility that IL-17 may be beneficial in MI, and this could be due to its ability to inhibit the migration of monocytes.
myocardial infarction; IL-17; monocytes; chemokines; chemokine receptors
Ochratoxins are fungal secondary metabolites that may contaminate a broad variety of foodstuffs, such as grains, vegetables, coffee, dried fruits, beer, wine and meats. Ochratoxins are nephrotoxins, carcinogens, teratogens and immunotoxins in rats and are also likely to be in humans. In 2009/2010, a survey of the presence of Ochratoxin A (OTA) in regularly hunted wild boars in the Calabria region of southern Italy detected OTA in 23 animals in the kidney, urinary bladder, liver and muscles: 1.1 ± 1.15, 0.6 ± 0.58, 0.5 ± 0.54 and 0.3 ± 0.26 μg/kg, respectively. Twelve tissue samples showed levels of OTA higher than the guideline level (1 μg/kg) established by the Italian Ministry of Health. In five wild boars, gross-microscopic lesions were described for the organs displaying the highest concentrations of OTA determined by HPLC-FLD analysis, i.e., the kidney, liver and urinary bladder.
ochratoxin A; Sus scrofa; wild boar
Anthrax Lethal Toxin consists of Protective Antigen (PA) and Lethal Factor (LF), and current vaccination strategies focus on eliciting antibodies to PA. In human vaccination, the response to PA can vary greatly, and the response is often directed toward non-neutralizing epitopes. Variable vaccine responses have been shown to be due in part to genetic differences in individuals, with both MHC class II and other genes playing roles. Here, we investigated the relative contribution of MHC class II versus non-MHC class II genes in the humoral response to PA and LF immunization using three immunized strains of inbred mice: A/J (H-2k at the MHC class II locus), B6 (H-2b), and B6.H2k (H-2k). IgG antibody titers to LF were controlled primarily by the MHC class II locus, whereas IgG titers to PA were strongly influenced by the non-MHC class II genetic background. Conversely, the humoral fine specificity of reactivity to LF appeared to be controlled primarily through non-MHC class II genes, while the specificity of reactivity to PA was more dependent on MHC class II. Common epitopes, reactive in all strains, occurred in both LF and PA responses. These results demonstrate that MHC class II differentially influences humoral immune responses to LF and PA.
Bacillus anthracis; protective antigen; lethal factor; vaccine; antibody response; MHC class II; mouse; genetic background
The aim of this study was to select wine yeast strains as biocontrol agents against fungal contaminants responsible for the accumulation of ochratoxin A (OTA) in grape and wine and to dissect the mechanism of OTA detoxification by a Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain (DISAABA1182), which had previously been reported to reduce OTA in a synthetic must. All of the yeast strains tested displayed an ability to inhibit the growth of Aspergillus carbonarius both in vivo and in vitro and addition of culture filtrates from the tested isolates led to complete inhibition of OTA production. S. cerevisiae DISAABA1182 was selected and further tested for its capacity to inhibit OTA production and pks (polyketide synthase) transcription in A. carbonarius and Aspergillus ochraceus in vitro. In order to dissect the mechanism of OTA detoxification, each of these two fungi was co-cultured with living yeast cells exposed to yeast crude or to autoclaved supernatant: S. cerevisiae DISAABA1182 was found to inhibit mycelial growth and OTA production in both Aspergilli when co-cultured in the OTA-inducing YES medium. Moreover, a decrease in pks transcription was observed in the presence of living cells of S. cerevisiae DISAABA1182 or its supernatant, while no effects were observed on transcription of either of the constitutively expressed calmodulin and β-tubulin genes. This suggests that transcriptional regulation of OTA biosynthetic genes takes place during the interaction between DISAABA1182 and OTA-producing Aspergilli.
polyketide synthase; grape; Ochratoxin A; biological control; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Aspergillus carbonarius; Aspergillus ochraceus
Apoptotic cell death is induced in primary hepatocytes by the Ser/Thr protein phosphatase inhibiting cyanobacterial toxin nodularin after only minutes of exposure. Nodularin-induced apoptosis involves a rapid development of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can be delayed by the Ca2+/calmodulin protein kinase II inhibitor KN93. This apoptosis model provides us with a unique population of highly synchronized dying cells, making it possible to identify low abundant phosphoproteins participating in apoptosis signaling. Here, we show that nodularin induces phosphorylation and possibly also cysteine oxidation of the antioxidant Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1), without altering enzymatic SOD1 activity. The observed post-translational modifications of SOD1 could be regulated by Ca2+/calmodulin protein kinase II. In untreated hepatocytes, a high concentration of SOD1 was found in the sub-membranous area, co-localized with the cortical actin cytoskeleton. In the early phase of nodularin exposure, SOD1 was found in high concentration in evenly distributed apoptotic buds. Nodularin induced a rapid reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton and, at the time of polarized budding, SOD1 and actin filaments no longer co-localized.
nodularin; apoptosis; SOD1; phosphorylation; actin; ROS
The antimicrobial and antiparasite activity of phospholipase A2 (PLA2) from snakes and bees has been extensively explored. We studied the antiplasmodial effect of the whole venom of the snake Bothrops asper and of two fractions purified by ion-exchange chromatography: one containing catalytically-active phospholipases A2 (PLA2) (fraction V) and another containing a PLA2 homologue devoid of enzymatic activity (fraction VI). The antiplasmodial effect was assessed on in vitro cultures of Plasmodium falciparum. The whole venom of B. asper, as well as its fractions V and VI, were active against the parasite at 0.13 ± 0.01 µg/mL, 1.42 ± 0.56 µg/mL and 22.89 ± 1.22 µg/mL, respectively. Differences in the cytotoxic activity on peripheral blood mononuclear cells between the whole venom and fractions V and VI were observed, fraction V showing higher toxicity than total venom and fraction VI. Regarding toxicity in mice, the whole venom showed the highest lethal effect in comparison to fractions V and VI. These results suggest that B. asper PLA2 and its homologue have antiplasmodial potential.
snake venom; Plasmodium falciparum; Bothrops asper; phospholipase A2; enzymatic activity; phospholipase A2 homologue
Our previous genetic, pharmacological and analogue protection studies identified the glycosphingolipid, Gb3 (globotriaosylceramide, Pk blood group antigen) as a natural resistance factor for HIV infection. Gb3 is a B cell marker (CD77), but a fraction of activated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) can also express Gb3. Activated PBMCs predominantly comprise CD4+ T-cells, the primary HIV infection target. Gb3 is the sole receptor for Escherichia coli verotoxins (VTs, Shiga toxins). VT1 contains a ribosome inactivating A subunit (VT1A) non-covalently associated with five smaller receptor-binding B subunits. The effect of VT on PHA/IL2-activated PBMC HIV susceptibility was determined. Following VT1 (or VT2) PBMC treatment during IL2/PHA activation, the small Gb3+/CD4+ T-cell subset was eliminated but, surprisingly, remaining CD4+ T-cell HIV-1IIIB (and HIV-1Ba-L) susceptibility was significantly reduced. The Gb3-Jurkat T-cell line was similarly protected by brief VT exposure prior to HIV-1IIIB infection. The efficacy of the VT1A subunit alone confirmed receptor independent protection. VT1 showed no binding or obvious Jurkat cell/PBMC effect. Protective VT1 concentrations reduced PBMC (but not Jurkat cell) proliferation by 50%. This may relate to the mechanism of action since HIV replication requires primary T-cell proliferation. Microarray analysis of VT1A-treated PBMCs indicated up regulation of 30 genes. Three of the top four were histone genes, suggesting HIV protection via reduced gene activation. VT blocked HDAC inhibitor enhancement of HIV infection, consistent with a histone-mediated mechanism. We speculate that VT1A may provide a benign approach to reduction of (X4 or R5) HIV cell susceptibility.
verotoxin; HIV; AIDS; PBMCs; anergy
It has previously been shown that the biosynthesis of the mycotoxins ochratoxin A and B and of citrinin by Penicillium is regulated by light. However, not only the biosynthesis of these mycotoxins, but also the molecules themselves are strongly affected by light of certain wavelengths. The white light and blue light of 470 and 455 nm are especially able to degrade ochratoxin A, ochratoxin B and citrinin after exposure for a certain time. After the same treatment of the secondary metabolites with red (627 nm), yellow (590 nm) or green (530 nm) light or in the dark, almost no degradation occurred during that time indicating the blue light as the responsible part of the spectrum. The two derivatives of ochratoxin (A and B) are degraded to certain definitive degradation products which were characterized by HPLC-FLD-FTMS. The degradation products of ochratoxin A and B did no longer contain phenylalanine however were still chlorinated in the case of ochratoxin A. Citrinin is completely degraded by blue light. A fluorescent band was no longer visible after detection by TLC suggesting a higher sensitivity and apparently greater absorbance of energy by citrinin. The fact that especially blue light degrades the three secondary metabolites is apparently attributed to the absorption spectra of the metabolites which all have an optimum in the short wave length range. The absorption range of citrinin is, in particular, broader and includes the wave length of blue light. In wheat, which was contaminated with an ochratoxin A producing culture of Penicillium verrucosum and treated with blue light after a pre-incubation by the fungus, the concentration of the preformed ochratoxin A reduced by roughly 50% compared to the control and differed by > 90% compared to the sample incubated further in the dark. This indicates that the light degrading effect is also exerted in vivo, e.g., on food surfaces. The biological consequences of the light instability of the toxins are discussed.
ochratoxin A; ochratoxin B; citrinin; degradation; light; stability