Characterization of MicroRNA and Gene Expression Profiles Following Ricin Intoxication.
ABSTRACT: Ricin, derived from the castor bean plant, is a highly potent toxin, classified as a potential bioterror agent. Current methods for early detection of ricin poisoning are limited in selectivity. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), which are naturally occurring, negative gene expression regulators, are known for their tissue specific pattern of expression and their stability in tissues and blood. While various approaches for ricin detection have been investigated, miRNAs remain underexplored. We evaluated the effect of pulmonary exposure to ricin on miRNA expression profiles in mouse lungs and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Significant changes in lung tissue miRNA expression levels were detected following ricin intoxication, specifically regarding miRNAs known to be involved in innate immunity pathways. Transcriptome analysis of the same lung tissues revealed activation of several immune regulation pathways and immune cell recruitment. Our work contributes to the understanding of the role of miRNAs and gene expression in ricin intoxication.
Project description:Ricin is a highly toxic type 2 ribosome-inactivating protein (RIP) which is extracted from the seeds of castor beans. Ricin is considered a potential bioterror agent and no effective antidote for ricin exists so far. In this study, by structural modification of a retrograde transport blocker Retro-2cycl, a series of novel compounds were obtained. The primary screen revealed that compound 27 has an improved anti-ricin activity compare to positive control. In vitro pre-exposure evaluation in Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cells demonstrated that 27 is a powerful anti-ricin compound with an EC50 of 41.05 nmol/L against one LC (lethal concentration, 5.56 ng/mL) of ricin. Further studies surprisingly indicated that 27 confers post-exposure activity against ricin intoxication. An in vivo study showed that 1 h post-exposure administration of 27 can improve the survival rate as well as delay the death of ricin-intoxicated mice. A drug combination of 27 with monoclonal antibody mAb4C13 rescued mice from one LD (lethal dose) ricin challenge and the survival rate of tested animals is 100%. These results represent, for the first time, indication that small molecule retrograde transport blocker confers both in vitro and in vivo post-exposure protection against ricin and therefore provides a promising candidate for the development of anti-ricin medicines.
Project description:Ricin, produced from the castor beans of <i>Ricinus communis</i>, is a cytotoxin that exerts its action by inactivating ribosomes and causing cell death. Accidental (e.g., ingestion of castor beans) and/or intentional (e.g., suicide) exposure to ricin through the oral route is an area of concern from a public health perspective and no current licensed medical interventions exist to protect from the action of the toxin. Therefore, we examined the oral toxicity of ricin in Balb/C mice and developed a robust food deprivation model of ricin oral intoxication that has enabled the assessment of potential antitoxin treatments. A lethal oral dose was identified and mice were found to succumb to the toxin within 48 h of exposure. We then examined whether a despeciated ovine F(ab')<sub>2</sub> antibody fragment, that had previously been demonstrated to protect mice from exposure to aerosolised ricin, could also protect against oral intoxication. Mice were challenged orally with an LD<sub>99</sub> of ricin, and 89 and 44% of mice exposed to this otherwise lethal exposure survived after receiving either the parent anti-ricin IgG or F(ab')<sub>2</sub>, respectively. Combined with our previous work, these results further highlight the benefit of ovine-derived polyclonal antibody antitoxin in providing post-exposure protection against ricin intoxication.
Project description:Ricin, a highly lethal plant-derived toxin, is a potential biological threat agent due to its high availability, ease of production and the lack of approved medical countermeasures for post-exposure treatment. To date, no specific ricin receptors were identified. Here we show for the first time, that the low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein-1 (LRP1) is a major target molecule for binding of ricin. Pretreating HEK293 acetylcholinesterase-producer cells with either anti-LRP1 antibodies or with Receptor-Associated Protein (a natural LRP1 antagonist), or using siRNA to knock-down LRP1 expression resulted in a marked reduction in their sensitivity towards ricin. Binding assays further demonstrated that ricin bound exclusively to the cluster II binding domain of LRP1, via the ricin B subunit. Ricin binding to the cluster II binding domain of LRP1 was significantly reduced by an anti-ricin monoclonal antibody, which confers high-level protection to ricin pulmonary-exposed mice. Finally, we tested the contribution of LRP1 receptor to ricin intoxication of lung cells derived from mice. Treating these cells with anti-LRP1 antibody prior to ricin exposure, prevented their intoxication. Taken together, our findings clearly demonstrate that the LRP1 receptor plays an important role in ricin-induced pulmonary intoxications.
Project description:Ricin toxin (RT) is derived from castor beans, produced by the plant Ricinus communis. RT and its toxic A chain (RTA) have been used therapeutically to arm ligands that target disease-causing cells. In most cases these ligands are cell-binding monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). These ligand-toxin conjugates or immunotoxins (ITs) have shown success in clinical trials . Ricin is also of concern in biodefense and has been classified by the CDC as a Class B biothreat. Virtually all reports of RT poisoning have been due to ingestion of castor beans, since they grow abundantly throughout the world and are readily available. RT is easily purified and stable, and is not difficult to weaponize. RT must be considered during any "white powder" incident and there have been documented cases of its use in espionage [2,3]. The clinical syndrome resulting from ricin intoxication is dependent upon the route of exposure. Countermeasures to prevent ricin poisoning are being developed and their use will depend upon whether military or civilian populations are at risk of exposure. In this review we will discuss ricin toxin, its cellular mode of action, the clinical syndromes that occur following exposure and the development of pre- and post-exposure approaches to prevent of intoxication.
Project description:The castor plant (Ricinus communis L.) has been known since time immemorial in traditional medicine in the pharmacopeia of Mediterranean and eastern ancient cultures. Moreover, it is still used in folk medicine worldwide. Castor bean has been mainly recommended as anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic, anti-bacterial, laxative, abortifacient, for wounds, ulcers, and many other indications. Many cases of human intoxication occurred accidentally or voluntarily with the ingestion of castor seeds or derivatives. Ricinus toxicity depends on several molecules, among them the most important is ricin, a protein belonging to the family of ribosome-inactivating proteins. Ricin is the most studied of this category of proteins and it is also known to the general public, having been used for several biocrimes. This manuscript intends to give the reader an overview of ricin, focusing on the historical path to the current knowledge on this protein. The main steps of ricin research are here reported, with particular regard to its enzymatic activity, structure, and cytotoxicity. Moreover, we discuss ricin toxicity for animals and humans, as well as the relation between bioterrorism and ricin and its impact on environmental toxicity. Ricin has also been used to develop immunotoxins for the elimination of unwanted cells, mainly cancer cells; some of these immunoconjugates gave promising results in clinical trials but also showed critical limitation.
Project description:Ricin is a type II ribosome-inactivating toxin that catalytically inactivates ribosomes ultimately leading to cell death. The toxicity of ricin along with the prevalence of castor beans (its natural source) has led to its increased notoriety and incidences of nefarious use. Despite these concerns, there are no licensed therapies available for treating ricin intoxication. Here, we describe the development of a F(ab')? polyclonal ovine antitoxin against ricin and demonstrate the efficacy of a single, post-exposure, administration in an in vivo murine model of intoxication against aerosolised ricin. We found that a single dose of antitoxin afforded a wide window of opportunity for effective treatment with 100% protection observed in mice challenged with aerosolised ricin when given 24 h after exposure to the toxin and 75% protection when given at 30 h. Treated mice had reduced weight loss and clinical signs of intoxication compared to the untreated control group. Finally, using imaging flow cytometry, it was found that both cellular uptake and intracellular trafficking of ricin toxin to the Golgi apparatus was reduced in the presence of the antitoxin suggesting both actions can contribute to the therapeutic mechanism of a polyclonal antitoxin. Collectively, the research highlights the significant potential of the ovine F(ab')? antitoxin as a treatment for ricin intoxication.
Project description:Ricin is a protein toxin classified as a bioterror agent, for which there are no known treatment options available after intoxication. It is composed of an enzymatically active A-chain connected by a disulfide bond to a cell binding B-chain. After internalization by endocytosis, ricin is transported retrogradely to the Golgi and ER, from where the ricin A-chain is translocated to the cytosol where it inhibits protein synthesis and thus induces cell death. We have identified cytoplasmic phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)) as an important factor in ricin retrograde transport. Inhibition of PLA(2) protects against ricin challenge, however the toxin can still be endocytosed and transported to the Golgi. Interestingly, ricin transport from the Golgi to the ER is strongly impaired in response to PLA(2) inhibition. Confocal microscopy analysis shows that ricin is still colocalized with the trans-Golgi marker TGN46 in the presence of PLA(2) inhibitor, but less is colocalized with the cis-Golgi marker GM130. We propose that PLA(2) inhibition results in impaired ricin transport through the Golgi stack, thus preventing it from reaching the ER. Consequently, ricin cannot be translocated to the cytosol to exert its toxic action.
Project description:Ricin, a plant-derived exotoxin, inhibits protein synthesis by ribosomal inactivation. Due to its wide availability and ease of preparation, ricin is considered a biothreat, foremost by respiratory exposure. We examined the in vivo interactions between ricin and cells of the lungs in mice intranasally exposed to the toxin and revealed multi-phasic cell-type-dependent binding profiles. While macrophages (M?s) and dendritic cells (DCs) displayed biphasic binding to ricin, monophasic binding patterns were observed for other cell types; epithelial cells displayed early binding, while B cells and endothelial cells bound toxin late after intoxication. Neutrophils, which were massively recruited to the intoxicated lung, were refractive to toxin binding. Although epithelial cells bound ricin as early as M?s and DCs, their rates of elimination differed considerably; a reduction in epithelial cell counts occurred late after intoxication and was restricted to alveolar type II cells only. The differential binding and cell-elimination patterns observed may stem from dissimilar accessibility of the toxin to different cells in the lung and may also reflect unequal interactions of the toxin with different cell-surface receptors. The multifaceted interactions observed in this study between ricin and the various cells of the target organ should be considered in the future development of efficient post-exposure countermeasures against ricin intoxication.
Project description:Ricin is a potential bioweapon because of its toxicity, availability, and ease of production. When delivered to the lungs, ricin causes severe pulmonary damage with symptoms that are similar to those observed in acute lung injury and adult respiratory distress syndrome. The airway epithelium plays an important role in the pathogenesis of many lung diseases, but its role in ricin intoxication has not been elucidated. Exposure of cultured primary human airway epithelial cells to ricin resulted in the activation of stress-activated protein kinases (SAPKs) and NF-κB and in the increased expression of multiple proinflammatory molecules. Among the genes upregulated by ricin and identified by microarray analysis were those associated with transcription, nucleosome assembly, inflammation, and response to stress. Sequence analysis of the promoters of these genes identified NF-κB as one of the transcription factors whose binding sites were over-represented. Although airway cells secrete TNF-α in response to ricin, blocking TNF-α did not prevent ricin-induced activation of NF-κB. Inhibition of p38 MAPK by a chemical inhibitor and NF-κB by short interfering RNA resulted in a marked reduction in the expression of proinflammatory genes, demonstrating the importance of these two pathways in ricin intoxication. Therefore, the p38 MAPK and NF-κB pathways are potential therapeutic targets for reducing the inflammatory consequences of ricin poisoning. Experiment Overall Design: Control RNA from untreated primary human airway cells was compared to RNA from ricin-treated airway cells
Project description:Ricin, derived from the castor bean plant Ricinus communis, is one of the most potent and lethal toxins known, against which there is no available antidote. To date, the use of neutralizing antibodies is the most promising post-exposure treatment for ricin intoxication. The aim of this study was to isolate high affinity anti-ricin antibodies that possess potent toxin-neutralization capabilities. Two non-human primates were immunized with either a ricin-holotoxin- or subunit-based vaccine, to ensure the elicitation of diverse high affinity antibodies. By using a comprehensive set of primers, immune scFv phage-displayed libraries were constructed and panned. A panel of 10 antibodies (five directed against the A subunit of ricin and five against the B subunit) was isolated and reformatted into a full-length chimeric IgG. All of these antibodies were found to neutralize ricin in vitro, and several conferred full protection to ricin-intoxicated mice when given six hours after exposure. Six antibodies were found to possess exceptionally high affinity toward the toxin, with KD values below pM (k(off )< 1 × 10(-7) s(-1)) that were well correlated with their ability to neutralize ricin. These antibodies, alone or in combination, could be used for the development of a highly-effective therapeutic preparation for post-exposure treatment of ricin intoxication.