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Event: 380

Key Event Title

The KE title should describe a discrete biological change that can be measured. It should generally define the biological object or process being measured and whether it is increased, decreased, or otherwise definably altered relative to a control state. For example “enzyme activity, decreased”, “hormone concentration, increased”, or “growth rate, decreased”, where the specific enzyme or hormone being measured is defined. More help

Activation, Pre-MIE: Metabolism of AFB1

Short name
The KE short name should be a reasonable abbreviation of the KE title and is used in labelling this object throughout the AOP-Wiki. The short name should be less than 80 characters in length. More help
Activation, Pre-MIE: Metabolism of AFB1

Biological Context

Structured terms, selected from a drop-down menu, are used to identify the level of biological organization for each KE. Note, KEs should be defined within a particular level of biological organization. Only KERs should be used to transition from one level of organization to another. Selection of the level of biological organization defines which structured terms will be available to select when defining the Event Components (below). More help

Cell term

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.The biological context describes the location/biological environment in which the event takes place.  For molecular/cellular events this would include the cellular context (if known), organ context, and species/life stage/sex for which the event is relevant. For tissue/organ events cellular context is not applicable.  For individual/population events, the organ context is not applicable. More help

Organ term

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.The biological context describes the location/biological environment in which the event takes place.  For molecular/cellular events this would include the cellular context (if known), organ context, and species/life stage/sex for which the event is relevant. For tissue/organ events cellular context is not applicable.  For individual/population events, the organ context is not applicable. More help

Key Event Components

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.Because one of the aims of the AOP-KB is to facilitate de facto construction of AOP networks through the use of shared KE and KER elements, authors are also asked to define their KEs using a set of structured ontology terms (Event Components). In the absence of structured terms, the same KE can readily be defined using a number of synonymous titles (read by a computer as character strings). In order to make these synonymous KEs more machine-readable, KEs should also be defined by one or more “event components” consisting of a biological process, object, and action with each term originating from one of 22 biological ontologies (Ives, et al., 2017; See List). Biological process describes dynamics of the underlying biological system (e.g., receptor signalling). The biological object is the subject of the perturbation (e.g., a specific biological receptor that is activated or inhibited). Action represents the direction of perturbation of this system (generally increased or decreased; e.g., ‘decreased’ in the case of a receptor that is inhibited to indicate a decrease in the signalling by that receptor).Note that when editing Event Components, clicking an existing Event Component from the Suggestions menu will autopopulate these fields, along with their source ID and description. To clear any fields before submitting the event component, use the 'Clear process,' 'Clear object,' or 'Clear action' buttons. If a desired term does not exist, a new term request may be made via Term Requests. Event components may not be edited; to edit an event component, remove the existing event component and create a new one using the terms that you wish to add. More help

Key Event Overview

AOPs Including This Key Event

All of the AOPs that are linked to this KE will automatically be listed in this subsection. This table can be particularly useful for derivation of AOP networks including the KE. Clicking on the name of the AOP will bring you to the individual page for that AOP. More help


This is a structured field used to identify specific agents (generally chemicals) that can trigger the KE. Stressors identified in this field will be linked to the KE in a machine-readable manner, such that, for example, a stressor search would identify this as an event the stressor can trigger. NOTE: intermediate or downstream KEs in one AOP may function as MIEs in other AOPs, meaning that stressor information may be added to the KE description, even if it is a downstream KE in the pathway currently under development.Information concerning the stressors that may trigger an MIE can be defined using a combination of structured and unstructured (free-text) fields. For example, structured fields may be used to indicate specific chemicals for which there is evidence of an interaction relevant to this MIE. By linking the KE description to a structured chemical name, it will be increasingly possible to link the MIE to other sources of chemical data and information, enhancing searchability and inter-operability among different data-sources and knowledgebases. The free-text section “Evidence for perturbation of this MIE by stressor” can be used both to identify the supporting evidence for specific stressors triggering the MIE as well as to define broad chemical categories or other properties that classify the stressors able to trigger the MIE for which specific structured terms may not exist. More help

Taxonomic Applicability

Latin or common names of a species or broader taxonomic grouping (e.g., class, order, family) can be selected from an ontology. In many cases, individual species identified in these structured fields will be those for which the strongest evidence used in constructing the AOP was available in relation to this KE. More help

Life Stages

The structured ontology terms for life-stage are more comprehensive than those for taxa, but may still require further description/development and explanation in the free text section. More help

Sex Applicability

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Key Event Description

A description of the biological state being observed or measured, the biological compartment in which it is measured, and its general role in the biology should be provided. For example, the biological state being measured could be the activity of an enzyme, the expression of a gene or abundance of an mRNA transcript, the concentration of a hormone or protein, neuronal activity, heart rate, etc. The biological compartment may be a particular cell type, tissue, organ, fluid (e.g., plasma, cerebrospinal fluid), etc. The role in the biology could describe the reaction that an enzyme catalyses and the role of that reaction within a given metabolic pathway; the protein that a gene or mRNA transcript codes for and the function of that protein; the function of a hormone in a given target tissue, physiological function of an organ, etc. Careful attention should be taken to avoid reference to other KEs, KERs or AOPs. Only describe this KE as a single isolated measurable event/state. This will ensure that the KE is modular and can be used by other AOPs, thereby facilitating construction of AOP networks. More help

The reactive exo-epoxide is formed in hepatocytes (or extra-hepatically) by metabolism of the parent AFB1 by CYP450 (Larsson et al., 1990; Larsson and Tjalve, 1993). The reactive metabolite then escapes the endoplasmic reticulum where the CYP450 is located. The reactive metabolite must evade conjugation with GSH in the cytoplasm or binding with other cytoplasmic nucleophiles. It then traverses the nuclear membrane in order to reach the cell nucleus and the nuclear DNA. Once the reactive metabolite is in the cell nucleus, it can bind with nuclear DNA to form DNA adducts.

How It Is Measured or Detected

One of the primary considerations in evaluating AOPs is the relevance and reliability of the methods with which the KEs can be measured. The aim of this section of the KE description is not to provide detailed protocols, but rather to capture, in a sentence or two, per method, the type(s) of measurements that can be employed to evaluate the KE and the relative level of scientific confidence in those measurements. Methods that can be used to detect or measure the biological state represented in the KE should be briefly described and/or cited. These can range from citation of specific validated test guidelines, citation of specific methods published in the peer reviewed literature, or outlines of a general protocol or approach (e.g., a protein may be measured by ELISA).Key considerations regarding scientific confidence in the measurement approach include whether the assay is fit for purpose, whether it provides a direct or indirect measure of the biological state in question, whether it is repeatable and reproducible, and the extent to which it is accepted in the scientific and/or regulatory community. Information can be obtained from the OECD Test Guidelines website and the EURL ECVAM Database Service on Alternative Methods to Animal Experimentation (DB-ALM). ?

Formation of the exo-epoxide can be produced with in vitro systems and detected using techniques for structural quantitation of AFB1 metabolites (Himmelstein et al., 2009), including liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). By using subcellular fractions (e.g., microsomes), cellular homogenates, or cells in culture, it is possible to measure formation of AFB1 exo-epoxide. Such data can also be collected from in vivo systems; samples of plasma or blood from AFB1-treated animals can be analyzed for the AFB1 exo-epoxide with similar mass spectrometric based detection systems (e.g., LC-MS/MS). Samples of blood from humans in AFB1-endemic regions have demonstrated presence of AFB1-albumin adducts, which are formed from the AFB1 exo-epoxide. AFB1-treated animals may also provide tissue samples for analysis of AFB1 exo-epoxide. Special trapping techniques may be required as the reactive AFB1 exo-epoxide metabolite has a short half-life in biological matrices.

Domain of Applicability

This free text section should be used to elaborate on the scientific basis for the indicated domains of applicability and the WoE calls (if provided). While structured terms may be selected to define the taxonomic, life stage and sex applicability (see structured applicability terms, above) of the KE, the structured terms may not adequately reflect or capture the overall biological applicability domain (particularly with regard to taxa). Likewise, the structured terms do not provide an explanation or rationale for the selection. The free-text section on evidence for taxonomic, life stage, and sex applicability can be used to elaborate on why the specific structured terms were selected, and provide supporting references and background information.  More help

There are data across phyla demonstrating metabolic activation of AFB1 to the exo-epoxide via CYP450. This includes several mammalian species (humans, non-human primates, rats, mice) in addition to birds (turkeys) and fish (Eaton and Gallagher, 1994; IARC, 1993).


List of the literature that was cited for this KE description. Ideally, the list of references, should conform, to the extent possible, with the OECD Style Guide ( (OECD, 2015). More help

• F.D. Asplin, R.B.A. Carnaghan, (1961). The toxicity of certain groundnut meals for poultry with special reference to their effect on ducklings and chickens. Vet. Rec. 73:1215– 1219.

• Brown KL, Deng JZ, Iyer RS, Iyer LG, Voehler MW, Stone MP, Harris CM, Harris TM (2006). Unraveling the aflatoxin-FAPY conundrum: Structural basis of the formamidopyrimidine-type DNA adduct of aflatoxin B1. J Am Chem Soc 128:15188-15199.

• Croy RG, Essigman JM, Reinhold VN, Wogan GN (1978). Identification of the principal aflatoxin N1-DNA adduct formed in vivo in rat liver. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 75:1745-1749.

• Degen GH, Neumann HG (1981). Differences in aflatoxin B1-susceptibility of rat and mouse are correlated with the capability in vitro to inactivate aflatoxin B1-epoxide. Carcinogenesis 2:299–306.

• Eaton DL, and Gallagher EP (1994). Mechanisms of aflatoxin carcinogenesis. Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol 34:135-172.

• Elegbede JA, and Gould MN. (2002). Monoterpenes reduced adducts formation in rats exposed to aflatoxin B1. African J Biotech, 1, 46–49.

• Gregory 3rd JF, Goldstein SL, Edds GT. (1983). Metabolite distribution and rate of residue clearance in turkeys fed a diet containing aflatoxin B1. Food Chem Toxicol, 21, 463–7.

• Groopman JD, Kensler TW (2005). Role of metabolism and viruses in aflatoxin-induced liver cancer. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 206:131-137.

• Guengerich FP, Johnson WW, Ueng Y-F, Yamazaki H, Shimada T (1996). Involvement of Cytochrome P450, glutathione S-transferase, and epoxide hydrolase in the metabolism of aflatoxin B1 and relevance to risk of human liver cancer. Environ Health Perspect 104(Suppl 3):557-562.

• Himmelstein MW, Boogaard PJ, Cadet J, et al. (2009). Creating context for the use of DNA adduct data in cancer risk assessment: II.Overview of methods of identification and quantitation of DNA damage. Crit Rev Toxicol, 39, 679–694.

• IARC (1993). Some Naturally Occurring Substances: Food Items and Constituents, Heterocyclic Aromatic Amines and Mycotoxins. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risk to Humans. Vol. 56, 245-395.

• Johnson NM, Egner PA, Baxter VK, Sporn MB, Wible RS, Sutter TR, Groopman JD, Kensler TW, Roebuck BD. (2014). Complete protection against aflatoxin B(1)-induced liver cancer with a triterpenoid: DNA adduct dosimetry, molecular signature, and genotoxicity threshold. Cancer Prev Res. 7(7):658-665.

• Kensler TW, He X, Otieno M, et al. (1998). Oltipraz chemoprevention trial in Qidong, People’s Republic of China: Modulation of serum aflatoxin albumin adduct biomarkers. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 7, 127–34.

• Larsson P, Hoedaya, WI, Tjalve H. (1990). Disposition of 3H-aflatoxin H in mice: formation and retention of tissue bound metabolites in nasal glands. Pharmacol Toxicol, 67, 162–71.

• Larsson P, and Tjalve H. (1993). Distribution and metabolism of aflatoxin B1 in the marmoset monkey (Callithrix jacchus). Carcinogenesis, 14, 1–6.

• Monroe DH, Eaton DL. (1987). Comparative effects of butylated hydroxyanisole on hepatic in vivo DNA binding and in vitro biotransformation of aflatoxin B1 in the rat and the mouse. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 90, 401–409.

• Pottenger, L.H., Andrews LS, Bachman AN, Boogaard PJ, Cadet J, Embry MR, Farmer PB, Himmelstein MW, Jarabek AM, Martin EA, Mauthe RJ, Persaud R, Preston RJ, Schoeny R, Skare J, Swenberg JA, Williams GM, Zeiger E, Zhang F, Kim JH. (2014). An organizational approach for the assessment of DNA adduct data in risk assessment: case studies for aflatoxin B1, tamoxifen and vinyl chloride. Crit. Rev. Toxicol. 44(4):348-391.

• Primiano T, Egner PA, Sutter TR, et al. (1995). Intermittent dosing with oltipraz: relationship between chemoprevention of aflatoxin-induced tumorigenesis and induction of glutathione-S-transferases. Cancer Res, 55, 4319–4324.

• Roebuck BD, Liu Y-L, Rogers AE, et al. (1991). Protection against aflatoxin B1-induced hepatocarcinogenesis in F344 rats by 5-(2-pyrazinyl)-4-methyl-1,2-dithiole-3-thione (oltipraz): predictive role for short term molecular dosimetry. Cancer Res, 51, 5501–5506.

• Ueng Y-F, Shimada T, Yamazaki H, Guengerich FP (1995). Oxidation of aflatoxin B1 by bacterial recombinant human cytochrome P450 enzymes. Chem Res Toxiol 8:218-225.

• Wang J-S, Shen X, He X, et al. (1999). Protective alerations in phase 1 and 2 metabolism of aflatoxin B1 by oltipraz in residents of Qidong, People’s Republic of China. J Natl Cancer Inst, 91, 347–354.

• Yates MS, Kwak M-K, Egner PA, et al. (2006). Potent protection against aflatoxin-induced tumorigenesis through induction of Nrf2-regulated pathways by the triterpenoid 1-[2-cyano-3-,12-dioxooleana-1,9 (11)-dien-28-oyl] imidazole. Cancer Res, 66, 2488–2494.