Trichothecene mycotoxins inhibit mitochondrial translation-implication for the mechanism of toxicity

Mohamed Anwar Bin-Umer, John E. McLaughlin, Debaleena Basu, Susan McCormick, Nilgun E. Tumer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Fusarium head blight (FHB) reduces crop yield and results in contamination of grains with trichothecene mycotoxins. We previously showed that mitochondria play a critical role in the toxicity of a type B trichothecene. Here, we investigated the direct effects of type A and type B trichothecenes on mitochondrial translation and membrane integrity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Sensitivity to trichothecenes increased when functional mitochondria were required for growth, and trichothecenes inhibited mitochondrial translation at concentrations, which did not inhibit total translation. In organello translation in isolated mitochondria was inhibited by type A and B trichothecenes, demonstrating that these toxins have a direct effect on mitochondrial translation. In intact yeast cells trichothecenes showed dose-dependent inhibition of mitochondrial membrane potential and reactive oxygen species, but only at doses higher than those affecting mitochondrial translation. These results demonstrate that inhibition of mitochondrial translation is a primary target of trichothecenes and is not secondary to the disruption of mitochondrial membranes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1484-1501
Number of pages18
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • Deoxynivalenol
  • Diacetoxyscirpenol
  • Fission
  • Fusarium
  • Fusion
  • Mitochondria
  • ROS
  • Ribosomes
  • T-2 toxin
  • Translation
  • Trichothecenes


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