ListMoto - Toxin

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A toxin (from Ancient Greek: τοξικόν, translit. toxikon) is a poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms;[1][2] synthetic toxicants created by artificial processes are thus excluded. The term was first used by organic chemist Ludwig Brieger (1849–1919).[3] Toxins can be small molecules, peptides, or proteins that are capable of causing disease on contact with or absorption by body tissues interacting with biological macromolecules such as enzymes or cellular receptors. Toxins vary greatly in their toxicity, ranging from usually minor (such as a bee sting) to almost immediately deadly (such as botulinum toxin).


1 Terminology 2 Biotoxins 3 Environmental toxins

3.1 Finding information about toxins 3.2 Computational resources for prediction of toxic peptides and proteins

4 Misuse of the term 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

Terminology[edit] Toxins are often distinguished from other chemical agents by their method of production—the word toxin does not specify method of delivery (compare with venom and the broader meaning of poison—all substances that can also cause disturbances to organisms). It simply means it is a biologically produced poison. There was an ongoing terminological dispute between NATO
and the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
over whether to call a toxin a biological or chemical agent, in which the NATO opted for biological agent, and the Warsaw Pact, like most other countries in the world, for chemical agent.[citation needed] According to an International Committee of the Red Cross
International Committee of the Red Cross
review of the Biological Weapons Convention, "Toxins are poisonous products of organisms; unlike biological agents, they are inanimate and not capable of reproducing themselves", and "Since the signing of the Constitution, there have been no disputes among the parties regarding the definition of biological agents or toxins".[4] According to Title 18 of the United States Code, "... the term "toxin" means the toxic material or product of plants, animals, microorganisms (including, but not limited to, bacteria, viruses, fungi, rickettsiae or protozoa), or infectious substances, or a recombinant or synthesized molecule, whatever their origin and method of production..."[5] A rather informal terminology of individual toxins relates them to the anatomical location where their effects are most notable:

Hemotoxin, causes destruction of red blood cells (hemolysis) Phototoxin, causes dangerous photosensitivity

On a broader scale, toxins may be classified as either exotoxins, being excreted by an organism, or endotoxins, that are released mainly when bacteria are lysed. Biotoxins[edit] The term "biotoxin" is sometimes used to explicitly confirm the biological origin.[6][7] Biotoxins can be further classified, for example, as fungal biotoxins, microbial biotoxins, plant biotoxins, or animal biotoxins. Toxins produced by microorganisms are important virulence determinants responsible for microbial pathogenicity and/or evasion of the host immune response.[8] Biotoxins vary greatly in purpose and mechanism, and can be highly complex (the venom of the cone snail contains dozens of small proteins, each targeting a specific nerve channel or receptor), or relatively small protein. Biotoxins in nature have two primary functions:

Predation, such as in the spider, snake, scorpion, jellyfish, and wasp Defense as in the bee, ant, termite, honey bee, wasp, and poison dart frog

Some of the more well known types of biotoxins include:

Cyanotoxins, produced by cyanobacteria Dinotoxins, produced by dinoflagellates Necrotoxins cause necrosis (i.e., death) in the cells they encounter and destroy all types of tissue[citation needed]. Necrotoxins spread through the bloodstream[citation needed]. In humans, skin and muscle tissues are most sensitive to necrotoxins[citation needed]. Organisms that possess necrotoxins include:

The brown recluse or "fiddle back" spider Most rattlesnakes and vipers produce phospholipase and various trypsin-like serine proteases Puff adder Necrotizing fasciitis
Necrotizing fasciitis
(caused by the "flesh eating" bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes) - produces a pore forming toxin

Neurotoxins primarily affect the nervous systems of animals. The group neurotoxins generally consists of ion channel toxins that disrupt ion channel conductance. Organisms that possess neurotoxins include:

The black widow spider. Most scorpions The box jellyfish Elapid snakes The cone snail The Blue-ringed octopus Venomous fish Frogs Palythoa
coral Various different types of algae, cyanobacteria and dinoflagellates

Myotoxins are small, basic peptides found in snake and lizard venoms, They cause muscle tissue damage by a non enzymatic receptor based mechanism. Organisms that possess myotoxins include:

rattlesnakes eastern bearded dragon

Cytotoxins are toxic at the level of individual cells, either in a non-specific fashion or only in certain types of living cells:

Ricin, from castor beans Apitoxin, from honey bees T-2 mycotoxin, from certain toxic mushrooms

Environmental toxins[edit] The term "environmental toxin" can sometimes explicitly include synthetic contaminants[9] such as industrial pollutants and other artificially made toxic substances. As this contradicts most formal definitions of the term "toxin", it is important to confirm what the researcher means when encountering the term outside of microbiological contexts. Environmental toxins from food chains that may be dangerous to human health include:

Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP)[10][11][12] Amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP)[13][14] Diarrheal shellfish poisoning (DSP)[15][16] Neurotoxic shellfish poisoning (NSP)[17][18][19]

Finding information about toxins[edit] The Toxicology
and Environmental Health Information Program (TEHIP)[20] at the United States National Library of Medicine
United States National Library of Medicine
(NLM) maintains a comprehensive toxicology and environmental health web site that includes access to toxins-related resources produced by TEHIP and by other government agencies and organizations. This web site includes links to databases, bibliographies, tutorials, and other scientific and consumer-oriented resources. TEHIP also is responsible for the Toxicology
Data Network (TOXNET),[21] an integrated system of toxicology and environmental health databases that are available free of charge on the web. TOXMAP is a Geographic Information System (GIS) that is part of TOXNET. TOXMAP uses maps of the United States to help users visually explore data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Toxics Release Inventory
Toxics Release Inventory
and Superfund Basic Research Programs. Computational resources for prediction of toxic peptides and proteins[edit] One of the bottlenecks in peptide/protein-based therapy is their toxicity. Recently, in silico models for predicting toxicity of peptides and proteins, developed by Gajendra Pal Singh Raghava's group,[22] predict toxicity with reasonably good accuracy. The prediction models are based on machine learning technique and quantitative matrix using various properties of peptides. The prediction tool is freely accessible to public in the form of web server.[23] Misuse of the term[edit] When used non-technically, the term "toxin" is often applied to any toxic substance, even though the term toxicant would be more appropriate. Toxic substances not directly of biological origin are also termed poisons and many non-technical and lifestyle journalists follow this usage to refer to toxic substances in general.[clarification needed] In the context of quackery and alternative medicine, the term "toxin" is used to refer to any substance alleged to cause ill health. This could range from trace amounts of potentially dangerous pesticides, to supposedly harmful substances produced in the body by intestinal fermentation (auto-intoxication), to food ingredients such as table sugar, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and aspartame.[24] See also[edit]

ArachnoServer Brevetoxin Cangitoxin Detoxification (alternative medicine) Excitotoxicity Insect toxins List of fictional toxins List of highly toxic gases Microbial toxins Mycotoxin Toxalbumin Toxicophore, feature or group within a molecule that is thought to be responsible for its toxic properties. Toxin-antitoxin system


^ "toxin" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary ^ "toxin - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary". Retrieved 13 December 2008.  ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=oWhqhK1cE-gC&pg=PA6 ^ "The Biological Weapons Convention
Biological Weapons Convention
- An overview". Retrieved 13 December 2008.  ^ "U.S. Code". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2008.  ^ "biotoxin - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary". Retrieved 13 December 2008.  ^ "biotoxin" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary ^ Proft T (editor) (2009). Microbial Toxins: Current Research and Future Trends. Caister Academic Press. ISBN 978-1-904455-44-8. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ Grigg J (March 2004). "Environmental toxins; their impact on children's health". Arch. Dis. Child. 89 (3): 244–50. doi:10.1136/adc.2002.022202. PMC 1719840 . PMID 14977703.  ^ Vale, Carmen; Alfonso, Amparo; Vieytes, Mercedes R.; Romarís, Xosé Manuel; Arévalo, Fabiola; Botana, Ana M.; Botana, Luis M. (2008). "In Vitro and in Vivo Evaluation of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning Toxin Potency and the Influence of the pH of Extraction". Analytical Chemistry. American Chemical Society. 80 (5): 1770–1776. doi:10.1021/ac7022266. PMID 18232710.  ^ Oikawa, Hiroshi; Fujita, Tsuneo; Saito, Ken; Satomi, Masataka; Yano, Yutaka (2008). "Difference in the level of paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin accumulation between the crabs Telmessus acutidens and Charybdis japonica collected in Onahama, Fukushima Prefecture". Fisheries Science. Springer. 73 (2): 395–403. doi:10.1111/j.1444-2906.2007.01347.x.  ^ Abouabdellah, Rachid; Taleb, Hamid; Bennouna, Asmae; Erler, Katrin; Chafik, Abdeghani; Moukrim, Abdelatif (2008). "Paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin profile of mussels Perna perna from southern Atlantic coasts of Morocco". Toxin. Elsevier. 51 (5): 780–786. doi:10.1016/j.toxicon.2007.12.004. PMID 18237757.  ^ Wang, Lin; Liang, Xu-Fang; Zhang, Wen-Bing; Mai, Kang-Sen; Huang, Yan; Shen, Dan (2009). " Amnesic shellfish poisoning toxin stimulates the transcription of CYP1A possibly through AHR and ARNT in the liver of red sea bream Pagrus major". Marine Pollution Bulletin. Elsevier. 58 (11): 1643–1648. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.07.004. PMID 19665739.  ^ Wang, Lin; Vaquero, E.; Leão, J. M.; Gogo-Martínez, A.; Rodríguez Vázquez, J. A. (2001). "Optimization of conditions for the liquid chromatographic-electrospray lonization-mass spectrometric analysis of amnesic shellfish poisoning toxins". Chromatographia. Vieweg Verlag. 53 (1): S231–S235. doi:10.1007/BF02490333.  ^ Mouratidou, Theoni; Kaniou-Grigoriadou, I.; Samara, C.; Kouimtzis, T. (2006). "Detection of the marine toxin okadaic acid in mussels during a diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) episode in Thermaikos Gulf, Greece, using biological, chemical and immunological methods". Science of the Total Environment. Elsevier. 366 (2 – 3): 894–904. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2005.03.002. PMID 16815531.  ^ Doucet, Erin; Ross, Neil N.; Quilliam, Michael A. (2007). "Enzymatic hydrolysis of esterified diarrhetic shellfish poisoning toxins and pectenotoxins". Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. Springer. 389 (1): 335–342. doi:10.1007/s00216-007-1489-3. PMID 17661021.  ^ Poli, Mark A.; Musser, Steven M.; Dickey, Robert W.; Eilers, Paul P.; Hall, Sherwood (2000). " Neurotoxic shellfish poisoning and brevetoxin metabolites: a case study from Florida". Toxicon. Elsevier. 38 (7): 981–993. doi:10.1016/S0041-0101(99)00191-9. PMID 10728835.  ^ Morohashi, Akio; Satake, M.; Murata, K.; Naoki, H.; Kaspar, H.; Yasumoto, T. (1995). " Brevetoxin
B3, a new brevetoxin analog isolated from the greenshell mussel perna canaliculus involved in neurotoxic shellfish poisoning in new zealand". Tetrahedron Letters. Elsevier. 36 (49): 8995–8998. doi:10.1016/0040-4039(95)01969-O.  ^ Morohashi, Akio; Satake, Masayuki; Naoki, Hideo; Kaspar, Heinrich F.; Oshima, Yasukatsu; Yasumoto, Takeshi (1999). " Brevetoxin
B4 isolated from greenshell mussels Perna canaliculus, the major toxin involved in neurotoxic shellfish poisoning in New Zealand". Natural Toxins. 7 (2): 45–48. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1522-7189(199903/04)7:2<45::AID-NT34>3.0.CO;2-H. PMID 10495465. Retrieved 15 February 2010.  ^ SIS.nlm.nih.gov ^ Toxnet.nlm.nih.gov ^ Sudheer Gupta, Pallavi Kapoor, Kumardeep Chaudhary, Ankur Gautam, Rahul Kumar, Open Source Drug Discovery Consortium, Gajendra P. S. Raghava (2013). "In Silico Approach for Predicting Toxicity
of Peptides and Proteins". PLOS ONE. 8: e73957. Bibcode:2013PLoSO...873957G. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073957. PMC 3772798 . PMID 24058508. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ ToxinPred ^ ""Detoxification" Schemes and Scams". Quackwatch. 

External links[edit]

T3DB: Toxin-target database ATDB: Animal
toxin database Society of Toxicology The Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases ToxSeek: Meta-search engine in toxicology and environmental health Website on Models & Ecotoxicology

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enterotoxin neurotoxin hemotoxin cardiotoxin phototoxin

Bacterial toxins


Gram positive




Tetanospasmin Tetanolysin


Alpha toxin Enterotoxin






Anthrax toxin Listeriolysin O


Streptolysin Leukocidin

Panton-Valentine leukocidin


aureus alpha/beta/delta Exfoliatin Toxic shock syndrome toxin Staphylococcal Enterotoxin


Cord factor Diphtheria toxin

Gram negative

Shiga toxin Verotoxin/shiga-like toxin (E. coli) E. coli heat-stable enterotoxin/enterotoxin Cholera toxin Pertussis toxin Pseudomonas exotoxin Extracellular adenylate cyclase


type I


type II

Pore-forming toxin

type III

AB toxin/AB5



Lipid A

Bacillus thuringiensis delta endotoxin

Virulence factor

Clumping factor A Fibronectin binding protein A


Aflatoxin Amatoxin
(alpha-amanitin, beta-amanitin, gamma-amanitin, epsilon-amanitin) beta-Nitropropionic acid Citrinin Cytochalasin Ergotamine Fumonisin ( Fumonisin B1, Fumonisin B2) Gliotoxin Ibotenic acid Lolitrem B Muscimol Ochratoxin Patulin Phalloidin Sterigmatocystin Trichothecene Vomitoxin Zeranol Zearalenone


Amygdalin Anisatin Antiarin Brucine Chaconine Cicutoxin Daphnin Delphinine Divicine Djenkolic acid Falcarinol Gossypol Helenalin Ledol Linamarin Lotaustralin Mimosine Oenanthotoxin Oleandrin Persin Protoanemonin Pseudaconitine Retronecine Resiniferatoxin Scopolamine Solamargine Solanidine Solanine Solasodamine Solasodine Solasonine Solauricidine Solauricine Strychnine Swainsonine Tagetitoxin Tinyatoxin Tomatine Toxalbumin

Abrin Ricin




Androctonus australis hector insect toxin Charybdotoxin Maurotoxin Agitoxin Margatoxin Slotoxin Scyllatoxin Hefutoxin HgeTx1 HsTx1 Lq2 Birtoxin Bestoxin BmKAEP Phaiodotoxin Imperatoxin Pi3




CSTX Cupiennins PhTx3 Stromatoxin Vanillotoxin Huwentoxin


Conotoxin Eledoisin Onchidal Saxitoxin Tetrodotoxin



Ciguatera Tetrodotoxin


(+)-Allopumiliotoxin 267A Batrachotoxin Bufotoxins

Arenobufagin Bufotalin Bufotenin Cinobufagin Marinobufagin

Epibatidine Histrionicotoxin Pumiliotoxin 251D Samandarin Samandaridine Tarichatoxin

Reptile/ Snake


Alpha-Bungarotoxin Beta-Bungarotoxin

Calciseptine Taicatoxin Calcicludine Cardiotoxin III

note: some toxins are produced by lower species and pass through intermediate species

Category Commons WikiProject

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History of poison Toxinology


Aquatic toxicology Ecotoxicology Occupational toxicology Entomotoxicology Environmental toxicology Forensic toxicology Medical toxicology In vitro toxicology Toxicogenomics


Acceptable daily intake Acute toxicity Bioaccumulation Biomagnification Fixed Dose Procedure Lethal dose Poison Toxic capacity Toxicant


Class Venom


Activated carbon Antidote Cathartic Chelation therapy Gastric lavage Hemodialysis Hemoperfusion Whole bowel irrigation


1858 Bradford sweets poisoning 2007 pet food recalls Bhopal disaster Minamata disease Niigata Minamata disease Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko Seveso disaster Consumption of Tide Pods List of poisonings

Related topics

Biological warfare Carcinogen Food safety Hazard symbol List of extremely hazardous substances Mutagen Occupational safety and health

Category Co


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