A comprehensive review on biological properties of citrinin.
Citrinin (CTN) is a toxic fungal metabolite that is a hazardous contaminant of foods and feeds. In the present study, its acute toxicity and effects on the plasma membrane of Schizosaccharomyces pombe were investigated. The minimum inhibitory concentration of CTN against the yeast cells proved to be 500 μM. Treatment with 0, 250, 500 or 1000 μM CTN for 60 min resulted in a 0%, 2%, 21% or 100% decrease, respectively, in the survival rate of the cell population. Treatment of cells with 0, 100, 500 or 1000 μM CTN for 20 min induced decrease in the phase-transition temperature of the 5-doxylstearic acid-labeled plasma membrane to 16.51, 16.04, 14.18 or 13.98°C, respectively as measured by electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. This perturbation was accompanied by the efflux of essential K⁺ from the cells. The existence of an interaction between CTN and glutathione was detected for the first time by spectrofluorometry. Our observations may suggest a direct interaction of CTN with the free sulfhydryl groups of the integral proteins of the plasma membrane, leading to dose-dependent membrane fluidization. The change in fluidity disturbed the ionic homeostasis, contributing to the death of the cells, which is a novel aspect of CTN cytotoxicity.