Aphids transform and detoxify the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol via a type II biotransformation mechanism yet unknown in animals

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Abstract

Biotransformation of mycotoxins in animals comprises phase I and phase II metabolisation reactions. For the trichothecene deoxynivalenol (DON), several phase II biotransformation reactions have been described resulting in DON-glutathiones, DON-glucuronides and DON-sulfates made by glutathione-S-transferases, uridine-diphosphoglucuronyl transferases and sulfotransferases, respectively. These metabolites can be easily excreted and are less toxic than their free compounds. Here, we demonstrate for the first time in the animal kingdom the conversion of DON to DON-3-glucoside (DON-3G) via a model system with plant pathogenic aphids. This phase II biotransformation mechanism has only been reported in plants. As the DON-3G metabolite was less toxic for aphids than DON, this conversion is considered a detoxification reaction. Remarkably, English grain aphids (Sitobion avenae) which co-occur with the DON producer Fusarium graminearum on wheat during the development of fusarium symptoms, tolerate DON much better and convert DON to DON-3G more efficiently than pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum), the latter being known to feed on legumes which are no host for F. graminearum. Using a non-targeted high resolution mass spectrometric approach, we detected DON-diglucosides in aphids probably as a result of sequential glucosylation reactions. Data are discussed in the light of an eventual co-evolutionary adaptation of S. avenae to DON.

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De Zutter, N., Audenaert, K., Arroyo-Manzanares, N., De Boevre, M., Van Poucke, C., De Saeger, S., … Smagghe, G. (2016). Aphids transform and detoxify the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol via a type II biotransformation mechanism yet unknown in animals. Scientific Reports, 6. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep38640

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