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Fumonisins

Fumonisins are mycotoxins produced by Fusarium moniliforme, a fungal contaminant of maize, sorghum, millet and other agricultural products. Fumonisins inhibit the enzyme ceramide synthase and thus the biosynthesis of sphingosine and more complex sphingolipids. This ultimately causes the accumulation of bioactive intermediates of sphingolipid metabolism (sphinganine and other sphingoid bases and derivatives) as well as depletion of complex sphingolipids. This interferes with the function of some membrane proteins, including the folate receptor. Free sphingoid bases are toxic to most cells, and complex sphingolipids are essential for normal cell growth. Sphingoid bases are growth inhibitory and pro-apoptotic for many types of cells (Riley et al, 1996; Desai et al, 2002; Voss et al, 2001).

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