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Sci Rep. 2017 Nov 9;7(1):15156. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-15148-4.

Binding of mycotoxins to proteins involved in neuronal plasticity: a combined in silico/wet investigation.

Author information

1
CNR-ISA, National Research Council, Institute of Food Science, Via Roma 64, 83100, Avellino, Italy.
2
Scientific Institute, IRCCS "Eugenio Medea" Bosisio Parini, Via Don Luigi Monza 20, 23842, Bosisio Parini, LC, Italy.
3
Department of Chemistry and Biology, "A. Zambelli", University of Salerno, Via Giovanni Paolo II, 132, 84084, Fisciano, SA, Italy.
4
Scientific Institute, IRCCS "Eugenio Medea" Bosisio Parini, Via Don Luigi Monza 20, 23842, Bosisio Parini, LC, Italy. amarabotti@unisa.it.
5
Department of Chemistry and Biology, "A. Zambelli", University of Salerno, Via Giovanni Paolo II, 132, 84084, Fisciano, SA, Italy. amarabotti@unisa.it.

Abstract

We have applied a combined computational procedure based on inverse and direct docking in order to identify putative protein targets of a panel of mycotoxins and xenobiotic compounds that can contaminate food and that are known to have several detrimental effects on human health. This procedure allowed us to identify a panel of human proteins as possible targets for aflatoxins, gliotoxin, ochratoxin A and deoxynivalenol. Steady-state fluorescence and microscale thermophoresis experiments allowed us to confirm the binding of some of these mycotoxins to acetylcholinesterase and X-linked neuroligin 4, two proteins involved in synapse activity and, particularly for the second protein, neuronal plasticity and development. Considering the possible involvement of X-linked neuroligin 4 in the etiopathogenesis of autism spectrum syndrome, this finding opens up a new avenue to explore the hypothetical role of these xenobiotic compounds in the onset of this pathology.

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