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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 810490, 14 pages
Research Article

Evaluation of Cytotoxic and Antimicrobial Effects of Two Bt Cry Proteins on a GMO Safety Perspective

1Graduate Program in Biochemistry, Federal University of Ceará, 60440-900 Fortaleza, CE, Brazil
2Graduate Program in Bioprocess Engineering and Biotechnology, Federal University of Paraná, P.O. Box 19011, 81531-98 Curitiba, PR, Brazil
3National Center of Genetic Resources (Embrapa-Cenargen), Parque Estação Biológica-PqEB-Avenida, W5 Norte (Final), P.O. Box 02372, 70770-917 Brasília, DF, Brazil
4Graduate Program in Pharmacology, Federal University of Ceará, 60430-270 Fortaleza, CE, Brazil
5Graduate Program in Gemonics Sciences and Biotechnology, Catholic University of Brasília, SGAN Quadra 916, Módulo B, W5 Norte, Asa Norte, 70790-160 Brasília, DF, Brazil

Received 18 April 2014; Accepted 1 July 2014; Published 23 July 2014

Academic Editor: Atanas Atanassov

Copyright © 2014 Davi Felipe Farias et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Studies have contested the innocuousness of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Cry proteins to mammalian cells as well as to mammals microbiota. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the cytotoxic and antimicrobial effects of two Cry proteins, Cry8Ka5 (a novel mutant protein) and Cry1Ac (a widely distributed protein in GM crops). Evaluation of cyto- and genotoxicity in human lymphocytes was performed as well as hemolytic activity coupled with cellular membrane topography analysis in mammal erythrocytes. Effects of Cry8Ka5 and Cry1Ac upon Artemia sp. nauplii and upon bacteria and yeast growth were assessed. The toxins caused no significant effects on the viability (µg/mL) or to the cellular DNA integrity of lymphocytes (no effects at 1,000 µg/mL). The Cry8Ka5 and Cry1Ac proteins did not cause severe damage to erythrocytes, neither with hemolysis (µg/mL) nor with alterations in the membrane. Likewise, the Cry8Ka5 and Cry1Ac proteins presented high LC50 (755.11 and >1,000 µg/mL, resp.) on the brine shrimp lethality assay and showed no growth inhibition of the microorganisms tested (µg/mL). This study contributed with valuable information on the effects of Cry8Ka5 and Cry1Ac proteins on nontarget organisms, which reinforce their potential for safe biotechnological applications.