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Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases, Volume: 27, Publicado: 2021
  • Maintenance of venomous snakes in captivity for venom production at Butantan Institute from 1908 to the present: a scoping history REVIEW

    Grego, Kathleen Fernandes; Vieira, Samira Emanuela Maria; Vidueiros, Jarbas Prado; Serapicos, Eliana de Oliveira; Barbarini, Cibele Cíntia; Silveira, Giovanni Perez Machado da; Rodrigues, Fabíola de Souza; Alves, Lucas de Carvalho Francisco; Stuginski, Daniel Rodrigues; Rameh-de-Albuquerque, Luciana Carla; Furtado, Maria de Fátima Domingues; Tanaka-Azevedo, Anita Mitico; Morais-Zani, Karen de; Rocha, Marisa Maria Teixeira da; Fernandes, Wilson; Sant’Anna, Sávio Stefanini

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Maintenance of snakes at Butantan Institute started in the last century, intending to produce a different antivenom serum to reduce death caused by snakebites. Through a successful campaign coordinated by Vital Brazil, farmers sent venomous snakes to Butantan Institute by the railway lines with no cost. From 1908 to 1962, the snakes were kept in an outdoor serpentarium, where venom extraction was performed every 15 days. During this period, the snake average survival was 15 days. In 1963, the snakes were transferred to an adapted building, currently called Laboratory of Herpetology (LH), to be maintained in an intensive system. Although the periodicity of venom extraction remained the same, animal average survival increased to two months. With the severe serum crisis in 1983, the Ministry of Health financed remodeling for the three public antivenom producers, and with this support, the LH could be improved. Air conditioning and exhausting systems were installed in the rooms, besides the settlement of critical hygienic-sanitary managements to increase the welfare of snakes. In the early 1990s, snake survival was ten months. Over the years to the present day, several improvements have been made in the intensive serpentarium, as the establishment of two quarantines, feeding with thawed rodents, an interval of two months between venom extraction routines, and monitoring of snake health through laboratory tests. With these new protocols, average snake survival increased significantly, being eight years for the genus Bothrops, ten years for genus Crotalus and Lachesis, and four years for the genus Micrurus. Aiming the production of venoms of good quality, respect for good management practices is essential for the maintenance of snakes in captivity. New techniques and efficient management must always be sought to improve animal welfare, the quality of the venom produced, and the safety of those working directly with the venomous snakes.
  • Once upon a time, inflammation REVIEW

    Cavaillon, Jean-Marc

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Inflammation has accompanied humans since their first ancestors appeared on Earth. Aulus Cornelius Celsus (25 BC-50 AD), a Roman encyclopedist, offered a still valid statement about inflammation: “Notae vero inflammationis sunt quatuor: rubor et tumor cum calore and dolore”, defining the four cardinal signs of inflammation as redness and swelling with heat and pain. While inflammation has long been considered as a morbid phenomenon, John Hunter (18th century) and Elie Metchnikoff (19th century) understood that it was a natural and beneficial event that aims to address a sterile or an infectious insult. Many other famous scientists and some forgotten ones have identified the different cellular and molecular players, and deciphered the different mechanisms of inflammation. This review pays tribute to some of the giants who made major contributions, from Hippocrates to the late 19th and first half of the 20th century. We particularly address the discoveries related to phagocytes, diapedesis, chemotactism, and fever. We also mention the findings of the various inflammatory mediators and the different approaches designed to treat inflammatory disorders.
  • Vector saliva controlled inflammatory response of the host may represent the Achilles heel during pathogen transmission REVIEW

    Demarta-Gatsi, Claudia; Mécheri, Salah

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Infection with vector-borne pathogens starts with the inoculation of these pathogens during blood feeding. In endemic regions, the population is regularly bitten by naive vectors, implicating a permanent stimulation of the immune system by the vector saliva itself (pre-immune context). Comparatively, the number of bites received by exposed individuals from non-infected vectors is much higher than the bites from infected ones. Therefore, vector saliva and the immunological response in the skin may play an important role, so far underestimated, in the establishment of anti-pathogen immunity in endemic areas. Hence, the parasite biology and the disease pathogenesis in “saliva-primed” and “saliva-unprimed” individuals must be different. This integrated view on how the pathogen evolves within the host together with vector salivary components, which are known to be endowed with a variety of pharmacological and immunological properties, must remain the focus of any investigational study dealing with vector-borne diseases. Considering this three-way partnership, the host skin (immune system), the pathogen, and the vector saliva, the approach that consists in the validation of vector saliva as a source of molecular entities with anti-disease vaccine potential has been recently a subject of active and fruitful investigation. As an example, the vaccination with maxadilan, a potent vasodilator peptide extracted from the saliva of the sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis, was able to protect against infection with various leishmanial parasites. More interestingly, a universal mosquito saliva vaccine that may potentially protect against a range of mosquito-borne infections including malaria, dengue, Zika, chikungunya and yellow fever. In this review, we highlight the key role played by the immunobiology of vector saliva in shaping the outcome of vector-borne diseases and discuss the value of studying diseases in the light of intimate cross talk among the pathogen, the vector saliva, and the host immune mechanisms.
  • Effects of venoms on neutrophil respiratory burst: a major inflammatory function REVIEW

    El-Benna, Jamel; Hurtado-Nedelec, Margarita; Gougerot-Pocidalo, Marie-Anne; Dang, Pham My-Chan

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Neutrophils play a pivotal role in innate immunity and in the inflammatory response. Neutrophils are very motile cells that are rapidly recruited to the inflammatory site as the body first line of defense. Their bactericidal activity is due to the release into the phagocytic vacuole, called phagosome, of several toxic molecules directed against microbes. Neutrophil stimulation induces release of this arsenal into the phagosome and induces the assembly at the membrane of subunits of the NAPDH oxidase, the enzyme responsible for the production of superoxide anion that gives rise to other reactive oxygen species (ROS), a process called respiratory burst. Altogether, they are responsible for the bactericidal activity of the neutrophils. Excessive activation of neutrophils can lead to extensive release of these toxic agents, inducing tissue injury and the inflammatory reaction. Envenomation, caused by different animal species (bees, wasps, scorpions, snakes etc.), is well known to induce a local and acute inflammatory reaction, characterized by recruitment and activation of leukocytes and the release of several inflammatory mediators, including prostaglandins and cytokines. Venoms contain several molecules such as enzymes (phospholipase A2, L-amino acid oxidase and proteases, among others) and peptides (disintegrins, mastoporan, parabutoporin etc.). These molecules are able to stimulate or inhibit ROS production by neutrophils. The present review article gives a general overview of the main neutrophil functions focusing on ROS production and summarizes how venoms and venom molecules can affect this function.
  • Brown spider venom toxins: what are the functions of astacins, serine proteases, hyaluronidases, allergens, TCTP, serpins and knottins? REVIEW

    Gremski, Luiza Helena; Matsubara, Fernando Hitomi; Justa, Hanna Câmara da; Schemczssen-Graeff, Zelinda; Baldissera, Antonielle Beatriz; Schluga, Pedro Henrique de Caires; Leite, Isabel de Oliveira; Boia-Ferreira, Marianna; Wille, Ana Carolina Martins; Senff-Ribeiro, Andrea; Veiga, Silvio Sanches

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Accidents caused by the bites of brown spiders (Loxosceles) generate a clinical condition that often includes a threatening necrotic skin lesion near the bite site along with a remarkable inflammatory response. Systemic disorders such as hemolysis, thrombocytopenia, and acute renal failure may occur, but are much less frequent than the local damage. It is already known that phospholipases D, highly expressed toxins in Loxosceles venom, can induce most of these injuries. However, this spider venom has a great range of toxins that probably act synergistically to enhance toxicity. The other protein classes remain poorly explored due to the difficulty in obtaining sufficient amounts of them for a thorough investigation. They include astacins (metalloproteases), serine proteases, knottins, translationally controlled tumor proteins (TCTP), hyaluronidases, allergens and serpins. It has already been shown that some of them, according to their characteristics, may participate to some extent in the development of loxoscelism. In addition, all of these toxins present potential application in several areas. The present review article summarizes information regarding some functional aspects of the protein classes listed above, discusses the directions that could be taken to materialize a comprehensive investigation on each of these toxins as well as highlights the importance of exploring the full venom repertoire.
  • Inflammation and kidney involvement in human viral diseases caused by SARS-CoV-2, HIV, HCV and HBV REVIEW

    Mata, Gustavo Ferreira da; Fernandes, Danilo Euclides; Luciano, Eduardo de Paiva; Sales, Gabriel Teixeira Montezuma; Riguetti, Michelle Tiveron Passos; Kirsztajn, Gianna Mastroianni

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Inflammation is closely related to renal diseases. This is particularly true for renal diseases caused by infections as in viral diseases. In this review, we highlight the inflammatory mechanisms that underlie kidney dysfunction in SARS-CoV-2, human immunodeficiency (HIV), hepatitis C (HCV), and hepatitis B (HBV) infections. The pathophysiology of renal involvement in COVID-19 is complex, but kidney damage is frequent, and the prognosis is worse when it happens. Virus-like particles were demonstrated mostly in renal tubular epithelial cells and podocytes, which suggest that SARS-CoV-2 directly affects the kidneys. SARS-CoV-2 uses the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor, which is found in endothelial cells, to infect the human host cells. Critical patients with SARS-CoV-2-associated acute kidney injury (AKI) show an increase in inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-8, IFN-γ, TNF-α), known as cytokine storm that favors renal dysfunction by causing intrarenal inflammation, increased vascular permeability, volume depletion, thromboembolic events in microvasculature and persistent local inflammation. Besides AKI, SARS-CoV-2 can also cause glomerular disease, as other viral infections such as in HIV, HBV and HCV. HIV-infected patients present chronic inflammation that can lead to a number of renal diseases. Proinflammatory cytokines and TNF-induced apoptosis are some of the underlying mechanisms that may explain the virus-induced renal diseases that are here reviewed.
  • Dehydrobufotenin extracted from the Amazonian toad Rhinella marina (Anura: Bufonidae) as a prototype molecule for the development of antiplasmodial drugs RESEARCH

    Banfi, Felipe Finger; Krombauer, Gabriela Camila; Fonseca, Amanda Luisa da; Nunes, Renata Rachide; Andrade, Silmara Nunes; Rezende, Millena Alves de; Chaves, Mariana Helena; Monção, Evaldo dos Santos; Taranto, Alex Guterres; Rodrigues, Domingos de Jesus; Vieira, Gerardo Magela; Castro, Whocely Victor de; Varotti, Fernando de Pilla; Sanchez, Bruno Antonio Marinho

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Background: The resistance against antimalarial drugs represents a global challenge in the fight and control of malaria. The Brazilian biodiversity can be an important tool for research and development of new medicinal products. In this context, toxinology is a multidisciplinary approach on the development of new drugs, including the isolation, purification, and evaluation of the pharmacological activities of natural toxins. The present study aimed to evaluate the cytotoxicity, as well as the antimalarial activity in silico and in vitro of four compounds isolated from Rhinella marina venom as potential oral drug prototypes. Methods: Four compounds were challenged against 35 target proteins from P. falciparum and screened to evaluate their physicochemical properties using docking assay in Brazilian Malaria Molecular Targets (BraMMT) software and in silico assay in OCTOPUS® software. The in vitro antimalarial activity of the compounds against the 3D7 Plasmodium falciparum clones were assessed using the SYBR Green I based assay (IC50). For the cytotoxic tests, the LD50 was determined in human pulmonary fibroblast cell line using the [3(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide] (MTT) assay. Results: All compounds presented a ligand-receptor interaction with ten Plasmodium falciparum-related protein targets, as well as antimalarial activity against chloroquine resistant strain (IC50 = 3.44 μM to 19.11 μM). Three of them (dehydrobufotenine, marinobufagin, and bufalin) showed adequate conditions for oral drug prototypes, with satisfactory prediction of absorption, permeability, and absence of toxicity. In the cell viability assay, only dehydrobufotenin was selective for the parasite. Conclusions: Dehydrobufotenin revealed to be a potential oral drug prototype presenting adequate antimalarial activity and absence of cytotoxicity, therefore should be subjected to further studies.
  • Design, synthesis, and evaluation of Bothrops venom serine protease peptidic inhibitors RESEARCH

    Silva, Gloria Maria da; Souza, Daniel Henrique Berto de; Waitman, Karoline B.; Ebram, Matteo Celano; Fessel, Melissa R.; Zainescu, Iuliu Cezar; Portaro, Fernanda C.; Heras, Montse; Andrade, Sonia A. de

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Background: In Central and South America, snakebite envenomation is mainly caused by Bothrops spp. snakes, whose venoms feature significant biochemical richness, including serine proteases. The available bothropic antivenoms are efficient in avoiding fatalities, but do not completely neutralize venom serine proteases, which are co-responsible for some disorders observed during envenomation. Methods: In order to search for tools to improve the antivenom’s, 6-mer peptides were designed based on a specific substrate for Bothrops jararaca venom serine proteases, and then synthesized, with the intention to selectively inhibit these enzymes. Results: Using batroxobin as a snake venom serine protease model, two structurally similar inhibitor peptides were identified. When tested on B. jararaca venom, one of the new inhibitors displayed a good potential to inhibit the activity of the venom serine proteases. These inhibitors do not affect human serine proteases as human factor Xa and thrombin, due to their selectivity. Conclusion: Our study identified two small peptides able to inhibit bothropic serine proteases, but not human ones, can be used as tools to enhance knowledge of the venom composition and function. Moreover, one promising peptide (pepC) was identified that can be explored in the search for improving Bothrops spp. envenomation treatment.
  • Escherichia coli vacuolating factor, involved in avian cellulitis, induces actin contraction and binds to cytoskeleton proteins in fibroblasts RESEARCH

    Aragão, Annelize Zambon Barbosa; Quel, Natália Galdi; Joazeiro, Paulo Pinto; Yano, Tomomasa

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Background Avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) isolated from avian cellulitis lesions produces a toxin, named Escherichia coli vacuolating factor (ECVF), that causes cell vacuolization and induces inflammatory response in broiler chicken. Methods We investigated the intracellular activities of ECVF in avian fibroblasts using fluorescence staining, electron microscopy, MTT and LDH measurements. As ECVF act specifically in avian cells, we performed blotting assay followed by mass spectrometry to better understand its initial intracellular protein recognition. Results ECVF induced actin contraction, mitochondrial damage and membrane permeability alterations. Ultrastructural analysis showed intracellular alterations, as nuclear lobulation and the presence of degraded structures inside the vacuoles. Moreover, ECVF induced cell death in fibroblasts. ECVF-biotin associates to at least two proteins only in avian cell lysates: alpha-actinin 4 and vinculin, both involved in cytoskeleton structure. Conclusion These findings demonstrated that ECVF plays an important role in avian cellulitis, markedly in initial steps of infection. Taken together, the results place this toxin as a target for drug and/or vaccine development, instead of the use of large amounts antibiotics.
  • Proteolytic activity of Triatoma infestans saliva associated with PAR-2 activation and vasodilation RESEARCH

    Oliveira, Karla A.; Torquato, Ricardo J. S.; Lustosa, Daniela C. G. Garcia; Ribeiro, Tales; Nascimento, Bruno W. L.; Oliveira, Lilian C. G. de; Juliano, Maria A.; Paschoalin, Thaysa; Lemos, Virginia S.; Araujo, Ricardo N.; Pereira, Marcos H.; Tanaka, Aparecida S.

    Resumo em Inglês:

    ABSTRACT Background Triatoma infestans (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) is a hematophagous insect and the main vector of Trypanosoma cruzi (Kinetoplastida: Trypanosomatidae). In the present study, the authors investigated whether a serine protease activity from the saliva of T. infestans has a role in vasomotor modulation, and in the insect-blood feeding by cleaving and activating protease-activated receptors (PARs). Methods T. infestans saliva was chromatographed as previously reported for purification of triapsin, a serine protease. The cleavage activity of triapsin on PAR peptides was investigated based on FRET technology. Mass spectrometry was used to analyze the sites of PAR-2 peptide cleaved by triapsin. NO measurements were performed using the DAN assay (2,3-diaminonapthalene). The vasorelaxant activity of triapsin was measured in vessels with or without functional endothelium pre-contracted with phenylephrine (3 µM). Intravital microscopy was used to assess the effect of triapsin on mouse skin microcirculation. Results Triapsin was able to induce hydrolysis of PAR peptides and showed a higher preference for cleavage of the PAR-2 peptide. Analysis by mass spectrometry confirmed a single cleavage site, which corresponds to the activation site of the PAR-2 receptor. Triapsin induced dose-dependent NO release in cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), reaching a maximum effect at 17.58 nM. Triapsin purified by gel-filtration chromatography (10-16 to 10-9 M) was applied cumulatively to mouse mesenteric artery rings and showed a potent endothelium-dependent vasodilator effect (EC30 = 10-12 M). Nitric oxide seems to be partially responsible for this vasodilator effect because L-NAME (L-NG-nitroarginine methyl ester 300 µM), a nitric oxide synthetase inhibitor, did not abrogate the vasodilation activated by triapsin. Anti-PAR-2 antibody completely inhibited vasodilation observed in the presence of triapsin activity. Triapsin activity also induced an increase in the mouse ear venular diameter. Conclusion Data from this study suggest a plausible association between triapsin activity mediated PAR-2 activation and vasodilation caused by T. infestans saliva.
  • Identification and recombinant expression of an antimicrobial peptide (cecropin B-like) from soybean pest Anticarsia gemmatalis RESEARCH

    Ramos, Luís Felipe Costa; Rangel, João Henrique de Oliveira; Andrade, Guilherme Caldas; Lixa, Carolina; Castilho, Livia Vieira Araujo de; Nogueira, Fábio César Sousa; Pinheiro, Anderson S.; Gomes, Fabio Mendonça; AnoBom, Cristiane Dinis; Almeida, Rodrigo Volcan; Oliveira, Danielle Maria Perpétua de

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Background Insects can be found in numerous diverse environments, being exposed to pathogenic organisms like fungi and bacteria. Once these pathogens cross insect physical barriers, the innate immune system operates through cellular and humoral responses. Antimicrobial peptides are small molecules produced by immune signaling cascades that develop an important and generalist role in insect defenses against a variety of microorganisms. In the present work, a cecropin B-like peptide (AgCecropB) sequence was identified in the velvetbean caterpillar Anticarsia gemmatalis and cloned in a bacterial plasmid vector for further heterologous expression and antimicrobial tests. Methods AgCecropB sequence (without the signal peptide) was cloned in the plasmid vector pET-M30-MBP and expressed in the Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) expression host. Expression was induced with IPTG and a recombinant peptide was purified using two affinity chromatography steps with Histrap column. The purified peptide was submitted to high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) and structural analyses. Antimicrobial tests were performed using gram-positive (Bacillus thuringiensis) and gram-negative (Burkholderia kururiensis and E. coli) bacteria. Results AgCecropB was expressed in E. coli BL21 (DE3) at 28°C with IPTG 0.5 mM. The recombinant peptide was purified and enriched after purification steps. HRMS confirmed AgCrecropB molecular mass (4.6 kDa) and circular dichroism assay showed α-helix structure in the presence of SDS. AgCrecropB inhibited almost 50% of gram-positive B. thuringiensis bacteria growth. Conclusions The first cecropin B-like peptide was described in A. gemmatalis and a recombinant peptide was expressed using a bacterial platform. Data confirmed tertiary structure as predicted for the cecropin peptide family. AgCecropB was capable to inhibit B. thuringiensis growth in vitro.
  • Quantity - but not diversity - of secreted peptides and proteins increases with age in the tree frog Pithecopus nordestinus RESEARCH

    Mariano, Douglas O.; Sciani, Juliana M.; Antoniazzi, Marta M.; Jared, Carlos; Conceição, Katia; Pimenta, Daniel C.

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Background: Amphibians inhabit the terrestrial environment, a conquest achieved after several evolutionary steps, which were still insufficient to make them completely independent of the aquatic environment. These processes gave rise to many morphological and physiological changes, making their skin (and cutaneous secretion) rich in bioactive molecules. Among the tree frogs, the secretion is composed mainly of peptides; but alkaloids, proteins and steroids can also be found depending on the species. The most known class of biologically active molecules is the antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) that act against bacteria, fungi and protozoans. Although these molecules are well-studied among the hylids, AMPs ontogeny remains unknown. Therefore, we performed peptidomic and proteomic analyses of Pithecopus nordestinus (formerly Phyllomedusa nordestina) in order to evaluate the peptide content in post-metamorphosed juveniles and adult individuals. Methods: Cutaneous secretion of both life stages of individuals was obtained and analyzed by LC-MS/MS after reduction and alkylation of disulfide bonds or reduction, alkylation and hydrolysis by trypsin. Results: Differences in the TIC profile of juveniles and adults in both treatments were observed. Moreover, the proteomic data revealed known proteins and peptides, with slight differences in the composition, according to the life stage and the treatment. AMPs were identified, and bradykinin-potentiating peptides were observed in trypsin-treated samples, which suggests a protein source of such peptide (cryptide). Conclusion: In general, skin secretion contents were similar between juveniles and adults, varying in quantity, indicating that the different stages of life are reflected in the number of molecules and not on their diversity.
  • Kinetic and toxicological effects of synthesized palladium(II) complex on snake venom (Bungarus sindanus) acetylcholinesterase RESEARCH

    Ahmed, Mushtaq; Khan, Shahan Zeb; Sher, Naila; Rehman, Zia Ur; Mushtaq, Nadia; Khan, Rahmat Ali

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Background: The venom of the krait (Bungarus sindanus), an Elapidae snake, is highly toxic to humans and contains a great amount of acetylcholinesterase (AChE). The enzyme AChE provokes the hydrolysis of substrate acetylcholine (ACh) in the nervous system and terminates nerve impulse. Different inhibitors inactivate AChE and lead to ACh accumulation and disrupted neurotransmission. Methods: The present study was designed to evaluate the effect of palladium(II) complex as antivenom against krait venom AChE using kinetics methods. Results: Statistical analysis showed that krait venom AChE inhibition decreases with the increase of Pd(II) complex (0.025-0.05 µM) and exerted 61% inhibition against the AChE at a fixed concentration (0.5 mM) of ACh. Kinetic analysis using the Lineweaver Burk plot showed that Pd(II) caused a competitive inhibition. The compound Pd(II) complex binds at the active site of the enzyme. It was observed that K m (Michaelis-Menten constant of AChE-ACh into AChE and product) increased from 0.108 to 0.310 mM (45.74 to 318.35%) and V max remained constant with an increase of Pd(II) complex concentrations. In AChE K Iapp was found to increase from 0.0912 to 0.025 µM (29.82-72.58%) and did not affect the V maxapp with an increase of ACh from (0.05-1 mM). K i (inhibitory constant) was estimated to be 0.029 µM for snake venom; while the K m was estimated to be 0.4 mM. The calculated IC50 for Pd(II) complex was found to be 0.043 µM at constant ACh concentration (0.5 mM). Conclusions: The results show that the Pd(II) complex can be deliberated as an inhibitor of AChE.
  • Reverse vaccinology and subtractive genomics approaches for identifying common therapeutics against Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis RESEARCH

    Jaiswal, Arun Kumar; Tiwari, Sandeep; Jamal, Syed Babar; Oliveira, Letícia de Castro; Sales-Campos, Helioswilton; Andrade-Silva, Leonardo Eurípedes; Oliveira, Carlo Jose Freire; Ghosh, Preetam; Barh, Debmalya; Azevedo, Vasco; Soares, Siomar C.; Rodrigues, Virmondes; Silva, Marcos Vinicius da

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Background Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis are gram-positive bacterial pathogens and the causative agents of leprosy in humans across the world. The elimination of leprosy cannot be achieved by multidrug therapy alone, and highlights the need for new tools and drugs to prevent the emergence of new resistant strains. Methods In this study, our contribution includes the prediction of vaccine targets and new putative drugs against leprosy, using reverse vaccinology and subtractive genomics. Six strains of Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis (4 and 2 strains, respectively) were used for comparison taking Mycobacterium leprae strain TN as the reference genome. Briefly, we used a combined reverse vaccinology and subtractive genomics approach. Results As a result, we identified 12 common putative antigenic proteins as vaccine targets and three common drug targets against Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Furthermore, the docking analysis using 28 natural compounds with three drug targets was done. Conclusions The bis-naphthoquinone compound Diospyrin (CID 308140) obtained from indigenous plant Diospyros spp. showed the most favored binding affinity against predicted drug targets, which can be a candidate therapeutic target in the future against leprosy.
  • Proteomics, toxicity and antivenom neutralization of Sri Lankan and Indian Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii) venoms RESEARCH

    Faisal, Tasnim; Tan, Kae Yi; Tan, Nget Hong; Sim, Si Mui; Gnanathasan, Christeine Ariaranee; Tan, Choo Hock

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Background: The western Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii) is widely distributed in South Asia, and geographical venom variation is anticipated among distant populations. Antivenoms used for Russell’s viper envenomation are, however, raised typically against snakes from Southern India. The present study investigated and compared the venom proteomes of D. russelii from Sri Lanka (DrSL) and India (DrI), the immunorecognition of Indian VINS Polyvalent Antivenom (VPAV) and its efficacy in neutralizing the venom toxicity. Methods: The venoms of DrSL and DrI were decomplexed with C18 high-performance liquid chromatography and SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis under reducing conditions. The proteins fractionated were identified through nano-ESI-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LCMS/MS). The immunological studies were conducted with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The neutralization of the venom procoagulant effect was evaluated in citrated human plasma. The neutralization of the venom lethality was assessed in vivo in mice adopting the WHO protocol. Results: DrSL and DrI venom proteomes showed comparable major protein families, with phospholipases A2 (PLA2) being the most abundant (> 60% of total venom proteins) and diverse (six protein forms identified). Both venoms were highly procoagulant and lethal (intravenous median lethal dose in mice, LD50 = 0.24 and 0.32 µg/g, for DrSL and DrI, respectively), while lacking hemorrhagic and anticoagulant activities. VPAV was immunoreactive toward DrSL and DrI venoms, indicating conserved protein antigenicity in the venoms. The high molecular weight venom proteins were, however, more effectively immunorecognized than small ones. VPAV was able to neutralize the coagulopathic and lethal effects of the venoms moderately. Conclusion: Considering that a large amount of venom can be injected by Russell’s viper during envenomation, the potency of antivenom can be further improved for optimal neutralization and effective treatment. Region-specific venoms and key toxins may be incorporated into the immunization procedure during antivenom production.
  • Characterization and evaluation of the enzymatic activity of tetanus toxin submitted to cobalt-60 gamma radiation Research

    Sartori, Giselle Pacifico; Costa, Andréa da; Macarini, Fernanda Lúcio dos Santos; Mariano, Douglas Oscar Ceolin; Pimenta, Daniel Carvalho; Spencer, Patrick Jack; Nali, Luiz Henrique da Silva; Galisteo, Andrés Jimenez

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Background Tetanus toxin blocks the release of the inhibitory neurotransmitters in the central nervous system and causes tetanus and its main form of prevention is through vaccination. The vaccine is produced by inactivation of tetanus toxin with formaldehyde, which may cause side effects. An alternative way is the use of ionizing radiation for inactivation of the toxin and also to improve the potential immunogenic response and to reduce the post-vaccination side effects. Therefore, the aim of this study was to characterize the tetanus toxin structure after different doses of ionizing radiation of 60Co. Methods Irradiated and native tetanus toxin was characterized by SDS PAGE in reducing and non-reducing conditions and MALD-TOF. Enzymatic activity was measured by FRET substrate. Also, antigenic properties were assessed by ELISA and Western Blot data. Results Characterization analysis revealed gradual modification on the tetanus toxin structure according to doses increase. Also, fragmentation and possible aggregations of the protein fragments were observed in higher doses. In the analysis of peptide preservation by enzymatic digestion and mass spectrometry, there was a slight modification in the identification up to the dose of 4 kGy. At subsequent doses, peptide identification was minimal. The analysis of the enzymatic activity by fluorescence showed 35 % attenuation in the activity even at higher doses. In the antigenic evaluation, anti-tetanus toxin antibodies were detected against the irradiated toxins at the different doses, with a gradual decrease as the dose increased, but remaining at satisfactory levels. Conclusion Ionizing radiation promoted structural changes in the tetanus toxin such as fragmentation and/or aggregation and attenuation of enzymatic activity as the dose increased, but antigenic recognition of the toxin remained at good levels indicating its possible use as an immunogen. However, studies of enzymatic activity of tetanus toxin irradiated with doses above 8 kGy should be further analyzed.
  • A novel proline-rich M-superfamily conotoxin that can simultaneously affect sodium, potassium and calcium currents RESEARCH

    Yang, Manyi; Li, Yubin; Liu, Longfei; Zhou, Maojun

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Background Conotoxins have become a research hotspot in the neuropharmacology field for their high activity and specificity in targeting ion channels and neurotransmitter receptors. There have been reports of a conotoxin acting on two ion channels, but rare reports of a conotoxin acting on three ion channels. Methods Vr3a, a proline-rich M-superfamily conotoxin from a worm-hunting Conus varius, was obtained by solid-phase synthesis and identified by mass spectrometry. The effects of synthesized Vr3a on sodium, potassium and calcium currents were tested on rat DRG cells by patch clamp experiments. The further effects of Vr3a on human Cav1.2 and Cav2.2 currents were tested on HEK293 cells. Results About 10 μM Vr3a has no effects on the peak sodium currents, but can induce a ~10 mV shift in a polarizing direction in the current-voltage relationship. In addition, 10 μM Vr3a can increase 19.61 ± 5.12% of the peak potassium currents and do not induce a shift in the current-voltage relationship. An amount of 10 μM Vr3a can inhibit 31.26% ± 4.53% of the peak calcium currents and do not induce a shift in the current-voltage relationship. The IC50 value of Vr3a on calcium channel currents in rat DRG neurons is 19.28 ± 4.32 μM. Moreover, 10 μM Vr3a can inhibit 15.32% ± 5.41% of the human Cav1.2 currents and 12.86% ± 4.93% of the human Cav2.2 currents. Conclusions Vr3a can simultaneously affect sodium, potassium and calcium currents. This novel triple-target conotoxin Vr3a expands understanding of conotoxin functions.
  • Glycosylation of β1 subunit plays a pivotal role in the toxin sensitivity and activation of BK channels RESEARCH

    Wang, Xiaoli; Xiao, Qian; Zhu, Yudan; Qi, Hong; Qu, Dongxiao; Yao, Yu; Jia, Yuxiang; Guo, Jingkan; Cheng, Jiwei; Ji, Yonghua; Li, Guoyi; Tao, Jie

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Background: The accessory β1 subunits, regulating the pharmacological and biophysical properties of BK channels, always undergo post-translational modifications, especially glycosylation. To date, it remains elusive whether the glycosylation contributes to the regulation of BK channels by β1 subunits. Methods: Herein, we combined the electrophysiological approach with molecular mutations and biochemical manipulation to investigate the function roles of N-glycosylation in β1 subunits. Results: The results show that deglycosylation of β1 subunits through double-site mutations (β1 N80A/N142A or β1 N80Q/N142Q) could significantly increase the inhibitory potency of iberiotoxin, a specific BK channel blocker. The deglycosylated channels also have a different sensitivity to martentoxin, another BK channel modulator with some remarkable effects as reported before. On the contrary to enhancing effects of martentoxin on glycosylated BK channels under the presence of cytoplasmic Ca2+, deglycosylated channels were not affected by the toxin. However, the deglycosylated channels were surprisingly inhibited by martentoxin under the absence of cytoplasmic Ca2+, while the glycosylated channels were not inhibited under this same condition. In addition, wild type BK (α+β1) channels treated with PNGase F also showed the same trend of pharmacological results to the mutants. Similar to this modulation of glycosylation on BK channel pharmacology, the deglycosylated forms of the channels were activated at a faster speed than the glycosylated ones. However, the V1/2 and slope were not changed by the glycosylation. Conclusion: The present study reveals that glycosylation is an indispensable determinant of the modulation of β1-subunit on BK channel pharmacology and its activation. The loss of glycosylation of β1 subunits could lead to the dysfunction of BK channel, resulting in a pathological state.
  • Novel neuroprotective peptides in the venom of the solitary scoliid wasp Scolia decorata ventralis RESEARCH

    Alberto-Silva, Carlos; Portaro, Fernanda Calheta Vieira; Kodama, Roberto Tadashi; Pantaleão, Halyne Queiroz; Rangel, Marisa; Nihei, Ken-ichi; Konno, Katsuhiro

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Background Solitary wasp venoms may be a rich source of neuroactive substances, since their venoms are used for paralyzing preys. We have been exploring bioactive constituents of solitary wasp venoms and, in this study, the component profile of the venom from a solitary scoliid wasp, Scolia decorata ventralis, was investigated through a comprehensive analysis using LC-MS. Two peptides were synthesized, and their neuroprotective properties were evaluated. Methods A reverse-phase HPLC connected to ESI-MS was used for LC-MS analyses. Online mass fingerprinting was performed from TIC, and data-dependent tandem mass spectrometry gave the MS/MS spectra. The sequences of two major peptide components were determined by MALDI-TOF/TOF MS analysis, confirmed by solid phase synthesis. Using the synthetic peptides, biological activities were assessed. Cell integrity tests and neuroprotection analyzes using H2O2 as an oxidative stress inducer were performed for both peptides. Results Online mass fingerprinting revealed that the venom contains 123 components, and the MS/MS analysis resulted in 33 full sequences of peptide components. The two main peptides, α-scoliidine (DYVTVKGFSPLR) and β-scoliidine (DYVTVKGFSPLRKA), present homology with the bradykinin C-terminal. Despite this, both peptides did not behave as substrates or inhibitors of ACE, indicating that they do not interact with this metallopeptidase. In further studies, β-scoliidine, but not α -scoliidine, showed protective effects against oxidative stress-induced neurotoxicity in PC12 cells through integrity and metabolism cell assays. Interestingly, β-scoliidine has the extension of the KA dipeptide at the C-terminal in comparison with α-scoliidine. Conclusion Comprehensive LC-MS and MS/MS analyses from the Scolia decorata ventralis venom displayed the component profile of this venom. β-scoliidine showed an effective cytoprotective effect, probably due to the observed increase in the number of cells. This is the first report of solitary wasp venom peptides showing neuroprotective activity.
  • Neuroactive venom compounds obtained from Phlogiellus bundokalbo as potential leads for neurodegenerative diseases: insights on their acetylcholinesterase and beta-secretase inhibitory activities in vitro RESEARCH

    Lopez, Simon Miguel M.; Aguilar, Jeremey S.; Fernandez, Jerene Bashia B.; Lao, Angelic Gayle J.; Estrella, Mitzi Rain R.; Devanadera, Mark Kevin P.; Ramones, Cydee Marie V.; Villaraza, Aaron Joseph L.; Guevarra, Leonardo A.; Santiago-Bautista, Myla R.; Santiago, Librado A.

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Background Spider venom is a rich cocktail of neuroactive compounds designed to prey capture and defense against predators that act on neuronal membrane proteins, in particular, acetylcholinesterases (AChE) that regulate synaptic transmission through acetylcholine (ACh) hydrolysis - an excitatory neurotransmitter - and beta-secretases (BACE) that primarily cleave amyloid precursor proteins (APP), which are, in turn, relevant in the structural integrity of neurons. The present study provides preliminary evidence on the therapeutic potential of Phlogiellus bundokalbo venom against neurodegenerative diseases. Methods Spider venom was extracted by electrostimulation and fractionated by reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) and characterized by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS). Neuroactivity of the whole venom was observed by a neurobehavioral response from Terebrio molitor larvae in vivo and fractions were screened for their inhibitory activities against AChE and BACE in vitro. Results The whole venom from P. bundokalbo demonstrated neuroactivity by inducing excitatory movements from T. molitor for 15 min. Sixteen fractions collected produced diverse mass fragments from MALDI-TOF-MS ranging from 900-4500 Da. Eleven of sixteen fractions demonstrated AChE inhibitory activities with 14.34% (± 2.60e-4) to 62.05% (± 6.40e-5) compared with donepezil which has 86.34% (± 3.90e-5) inhibition (p > 0.05), while none of the fractions were observed to exhibit BACE inhibition. Furthermore, three potent fractions against AChE, F1, F3, and F16 displayed competitive and uncompetitive inhibitions compared to donepezil as the positive control. Conclusion The venom of P. bundokalbo contains compounds that demonstrate neuroactivity and anti-AChE activities in vitro, which could comprise possible therapeutic leads for the development of cholinergic compounds against neurological diseases.
  • Effects of climate variables on the incidence of scorpion stings in Iran for five years Research

    Ghorbani, Ahmad; Mansouri, Behzad; Baradaran, Masoumeh

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Background: Although scorpionism is recorded worldwide, some regions such as Iran present a higher incidence. Due to the great prevalence of scorpion stings in Khuzestan province, southwestern Iran, the present study examined the relationship between different climate parameters and the scorpion sting rate in this area from April 2010 to March 2015. Methods: In this cross-sectional descriptive-analytical study, we considered all scorpion sting cases recorded in the Department of Infectious Diseases, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences. Data were analyzed using statistics, frequency distribution and Pearson’s correlation coefficient. Results: A total of 104,197 cases of scorpion stings was recorded from 2010 to 2015. The cumulative incidence of scorpion sting was 2.23%. The spatial distribution of scorpion stings showed that most cases occurred in the Dehdez district (4,504 scorpion stings/100,000 inhabitants) and the Masjed Soleyman county (4,069 scorpion stings/100,000 inhabitants). A significant association was found between climate factors (temperature, evaporation rate, sunshine duration, humidity, and precipitation) and the scorpion sting rate. An increase in rainfall and humidity coincided with a reduction in scorpion stings whereas an increase in temperature, evaporation, and sunshine duration was accompanied by a growth of scorpion stings. No significant correlation was found between wind velocity/direction and the incidence rate of stings. Moreover, the seasonal peak incidence of scorpion stings was recorded in summer (an average of 8,838 cases) and the lowest incidence was recorded during winter (an average of 1,286 cases). The annual trend of scorpion sting cases decreased during the period from 2010 to 2015. Conclusion: Climate variables can be a good index for predicting the incidence of scorpion stings in endemic regions. Since they occur mostly in the hot season, designing preventive measures in the counties and districts with a high incidence of scorpion stings such as Dehdez and Masjed Soleyman can minimize mortality and other burdens.
  • MS/MS analysis of four scorpion venoms from Colombia: a descriptive approach RESEARCH

    Estrada-Gómez, Sebastian; Vargas-Muñoz, Leidy Johana; Saldarriaga-Córdoba, Monica Maria; Meijden, Arie van der

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Background: Scorpions are widely known for the neurotoxic effects of their venoms, which contain peptides affecting ionic channels. Although Colombia is recognized for its scorpion diversity, only a few studies are available describing the venom content. Methods: In this descriptive study, we analyzed the MS/MS sequence, electrophoretic and chromatographic profile linked to a bioinformatics analysis of the scorpions Chactas reticulatus (Chactidae), Opisthacanthus elatus (Hormuridae), Centruroides edwardsii (Buthidae) and Tityus asthenes (Buthidae) from Colombia. Results: Each scorpion showed a specific electrophoretic and chromatographic profile. The electrophoretic profiles indicate the presence of high molecular mass compounds in all venoms, with a predominance of low molecular mass compounds in the Buthidae species. Chromatographic profiles showed a similar pattern as the electrophoretic profiles. From the MS/MS analysis of the chromatographic collected fractions, we obtained internal peptide sequences corresponding to proteins reported in scorpions from the respective family of the analyzed samples. Some of these proteins correspond to neurotoxins affecting ionic channels, antimicrobial peptides and metalloproteinase-like fragments. In the venom of Tityus asthenes, the MSn analysis allowed the detection of two toxins affecting sodium channels covering 50% and 84% of the sequence respectively, showing 100% sequence similarity. Two sequences from Tityus asthenes showed sequence similarity with a phospholipase from Opisthacanthus cayaporum indicating the presence of this type of toxin in this species for the first time. One sequence matching a hypothetical secreted protein from Hottentotta judaicus was found in three of the studied venoms. We found that this protein is common in the Buthidae family whereas it has been reported in other families - such as Scorpionidae - and may be part of the evolutionary puzzle of venoms in these arachnids. Conclusion: Buthidae venoms from Colombia can be considered an important source of peptides similar to toxins affecting ionic channels. An interesting predicted antimicrobial peptide was detected in three of the analyzed venoms.
  • Proteomic characterization of Naja mandalayensis venom RESEARCH

    Beraldo, Emídio; Coelho, Guilherme Rabelo; Sciani, Juliana Mozer; Pimenta, Daniel Carvalho

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Background Naja mandalayensis is a spitting cobra from Myanmar. To the best of our knowledge, no studies on this venom composition have been conducted so far. On the other hand, few envenomation descriptions state that it elicits mainly local inflammation in the victims’ eyes, the preferred target of this spiting cobra. Symptoms would typically include burning and painful sensation, conjunctivitis, edema and temporary loss of vision. Methods We have performed a liquid-chromatography (C18-RP-HPLC) mass spectrometry (ESI-IT-TOF/MS) based approach in order to biochemically characterize N. mandalayensis venom. Results A wide variety of three-finger toxins (cardiotoxins) and metallopeptidases were detected. Less abundant, but still representative, were cysteine-rich secretory proteins, L-amino-acid oxidases, phospholipases A2, venom 5'-nucleotidase and a serine peptidase inhibitor. Other proteins were present, but were detected in a relatively small concentration. Conclusion The present study set the basis for a better comprehension of the envenomation from a molecular perspective and, by increasing the interest and information available for this species, allows future venom comparisons among cobras and their diverse venom proteins.
  • Persistent interstitial lung abnormalities in post-COVID-19 patients: a case series CASE REPORT

    Lago, Vanessa Carvalho; Prudente, Robson Aparecido; Luzia, Dayane Araujo; Franco, Estefânia Thomé; Cezare, Talita Jacon; Peralta, Amanda; Ferreira, Eloara Vieira M.; Albuquerque, André Luis Pereira; Okoshi, Marina Politi; Baldi, Bruno Guedes; Tanni, Suzana Erico

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract A new concept of multisystem disease has emerged as a long-term condition following mild-severe COVID-19 infection. The main symptoms of this affection are breathlessness, chest pain, and fatigue. We present here the clinical case of four COVID-19 patients during hospitalization and 60 days after hospital discharge. Physiological impairment of all patients was assessed by spirometry, dyspnea score, arterial blood gas, and 6-minute walk test 60 days after hospital discharge, and computed tomographic scan 90 days after discharge. All patients had fatigue, which was not related to hypoxemia or impaired spirometry values, and interstitial lung alterations, which occurred in both mechanically ventilated and non-mechanically ventilated patients. In conclusion, identifying the prevalence and patterns of permanent lung damage is paramount in preventing and treating COVID-19-induced fibrotic lung disease. Additionally, and based on our preliminary results, it will be also relevant to establish long-term outpatient programs for these individuals.
  • In situ cellular immune response in non-ulcerated skin lesions due to Leishmania (L.) infantum chagasi infection SHORT REPORT

    Sandoval, Carmen; Araujo, Gabriela; Sosa, Wilfredo; Avalos, Sara; Silveira, Fernando; Corbett, Carlos; Zúniga, Concepción; Laurenti, Marcia

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Background Skin lesions of patients affected by non-ulcerated cutaneous leishmaniasis (NUCL) caused by L. (L.) infantum chagasi are characterized by lymphohistiocytic inflammatory infiltrate associated with epithelioid granuloma and scarce parasitism. However, the in situ cellular immune response of these patients is unclear. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to characterize the cellular immune response in the skin lesions of patients affected by NUCL. Methods Twenty biopsies were processed by immunohistochemistry using primary antibodies to T lymphocytes (CD4, CD8), NK cells, B lymphocytes, macrophages, nitric oxide synthase and interferon-gamma. Results Immunohistochemistry revealed higher expression of all cellular types and molecules (IFN-γ, iNOS) in the dermis of diseased skin compared to the skin of healthy individuals (p < 0.05). Morphometric analysis performed in the skin lesions sections showed the predominance of CD8+ T lymphocytes in the mononuclear infiltrate, followed by macrophages, mostly iNOS+, a response that could be mediated by IFN-γ. Conclusion Our study improves knowledge of the cellular immune response in non-ulcerated or atypical cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by L. (L.) infantum chagasi in Central America and pointed to the pivotal participation of CD8+ T lymphocytes in the host defense mechanisms against the parasite in patients with NUCL.
  • Leptospirosis diagnosis among patients suspected of dengue fever in Brazil SHORT REPORT

    Fornazari, Felipe; Richini-Pereira, Virgínia Bodelão; Joaquim, Sâmea Fernandes; Nachtigall, Pedro Gabriel; Langoni, Helio

    Resumo em Inglês:

    Abstract Background: The early symptoms of leptospirosis and dengue fever are difficult to distinguish and can cause diagnostic confusion. Due to the large dengue epidemics that has occurred in Brazil in recent years, it is possible that cases of leptospirosis were unreported. Therefore, we performed a retrospective study to detect leptospirosis in patients who were tested for dengue, but whose laboratory diagnoses were negative. Methods: Sera samples from 2,017 patients from 48 cities located in the central region of São Paulo state, Brazil, were studied. All samples were subjected to the microscopic agglutination test (MAT), 305 of which were taken from patients five days or less since the onset of symptoms, and were additionally subjected to real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Results: The overall prevalence of leptospirosis cases was 21 (1.04%), with 20 through MAT (18 for Icterohaemorrhagiae and two for the Cynopteri serogroup) and one through PCR (amplicon sequencing compatible with Leptospira interrogans). According to previously established criteria, eight cases of leptospirosis were classified as “confirmed” and 13 as “probable”. The Brazilian notification system for health surveillance had no records for 16 patients positive for leptospirosis and, thus, they were considered unreported cases. Statistical analyses revealed that the prevalence of leptospirosis was higher in men (1.56%) than in women (0.56%), and the mean age was higher in positive patients (43.7 years) than in negative ones (32.3 years). Conclusion: The results indicated that patients suspected of dengue fever had evidence of leptospirosis or Leptospira infection, and most of these cases were unreported in the Brazilian notification system. The high burden of dengue may contribute to the misdiagnosis of leptospirosis, and health professionals should increase their awareness of leptospirosis as an important differential diagnosis of patients with suspicion of dengue.
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