In vitro toxicological characterisation of the antifungal compound soybean toxin (SBTX)

Mariana Reis Arantes, Ad Peijnenburg, Peter J. M. Hendriksen, Geert Stoopen, Thiago Silva Almeida, Terezinha Maria Souza, Davi Felipe Farias, Ana Fontenele Urano Carvalho, Talita Magalhaes Rocha, Luzia Kalyne Almeida Moreira Leal, Ilka Maria Vasconcelos, Jose Tadeu Abreu Oliveira*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Soybean toxin (SBTX) is a protein isolated from soybean seeds and composed of two polypeptide subunits (17 and 27 kDa). SBTX has in vitro activity against phytopathogenic fungi such as Cercospora sojina, Aspergillus niger, and Penicillium herguei, and yeasts like Candida albicans, C. parapsilosis, Kluyveromyces marxiannus, and Pichia membranifaciens. The present study aimed to analyze in vitro whether SBTX causes any side effects on non-target bacterial and mammalian cells that could impede its potential use as a novel antifungal agent. SBTX at 100 mu g/mL and 200 mu g/mL did not hinder the growth of the bacteria Salmonella enterica (subspecies enterica serovar choleraesuis), Bacillus subtilis (subspecies spizizenii) and Staphylococcus aureus. Moreover, SBTX at concentrations up to 500 mu g/mL did not significantly affect the viability of erythrocytes, neutrophils, and human intestinal Caco-2 cells. To study whether SBTX could induce relevant alterations in gene expression, in vitro DNA microarray experiments were conducted in which differentiated Caco-2 cells were exposed for 24 h to 100 mu g/mL or 200 mu g/mL SBTX. SBTX up-regulated genes involved in cell cycle and immune response pathways, but downregulated genes that play a role in cholesterol biosynthesis and platelet degranulation pathways. Thus, although SBTX did not affect bacteria, nor induced cytotoxity in mammalian cells, it affected some biological pathways in the human Caco-2 cell line that warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104824
Number of pages9
JournalToxicology in Vitro
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • SBTX
  • Antifungal agent
  • Toxicogenomics
  • Cytotoxicity
  • CENP-A


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