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Mechanisms of Fumonisin B1 Toxicity: A Computational Perspective beyond the Ceramide Synthases Inhibition

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journal contribution
posted on 22.10.2018, 00:00 by Luca Dellafiora, Gianni Galaverna, Chiara Dall’Asta
Fumonisins are mycotoxins produced by Fusarium fujikuroi species complex that may contaminate food and feed threatening human and animal health. Among the fumonisins group, fumonisin B1 is the most widespread and best characterized in terms of toxicity, while additional toxicological data on its congeners, such as N-acylated and hydrolyzed forms, need to be collected to support the group-based risk assessment. The inhibition of ceramide synthase has been identified as the key molecular mechanism of fumonisins toxicity resulting in modifications of sphingolipids rheostat. However, the existence of ancillary mechanisms and biological targets are likely to occur given the growing number of evidence reporting the multitarget mechanisms of mycotoxins toxicity. Therefore, in the framework of the early warning analysis of multitarget toxicity of fumonisins group, the present study aimed at searching potential targets for future hazard characterization studies of fumonisin B1 and its hydrolyzed and N-acetylated forms. In particular, on the basis of structural analogies with known inhibitors, the molecular interaction between N-acylated and hydrolyzed forms of fumonisin B1 and either ceramide transfer protein or sphingosine kinase I was assessed with a molecular modeling study. Our results pointed out that the molecular features of N-acylated hydrolyzed fumonisin B1 and hydrolyzed fumonisin B1 may allow the interaction with the ceramide transfer protein and with the sphingosine kinase I enzyme, respectively. Overall, our results identified such proteins as relevant targets that might take part in fumonisins group toxicity, adding plausible mechanistic insights to better understand fumonisins toxicity. Moreover, possible divergences in the mechanisms of action of fumonisin B1 and its modified forms were identified pointing out the need to assess their relevance with high priority to enhance the understanding of group toxicity.