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Differences in the toxicity of six Gambierdiscus (Dinophyceae) species measured using an in vitro human erythrocyte lysis assay

Author(s): Holland, William C.; R. Wayne Litaker; Carmelo R. Tomas; Steven R. Kibler; Allen R. Place; Erik D. Davenport; Patricia A. Tester


Name of Publisher: Elsevier Ltd.

Publication Type: Book

Journal Title: Toxicon

Date of Publication: 2013

Reference Information:

Extent of Work: pp. 15-33

Abstract: This study examined the toxicity of six Gambierdiscus species (Gambierdiscus belizeanus, Gambierdiscus caribaeus, Gambierdiscus carolinianus, Gambierdiscus carpenteri, Gambierdiscus ribotype 2 and Gambierdiscus ruetzleri) using a human erythrocyte lysis assay. In all, 56 isolates were tested. The results showed certain species were significantly more toxic than others. Depending on the species, hemolytic activity consistently increased by ~7-40% from log phase growth to late log - early stationary growth phase and then declined in mid-stationary growth phase. Increasing growth temperatures from 20 to 31 °C for clones of G. caribaeus showed only a slight increase in hemolytic activity between 20 and 27 °C. Hemolytic activity in the G. carolinianus isolates from different regions grown over the same 20-31 °C range remained constant. These data suggest that growth temperature is not a significant factor in modulating the inter-isolate and interspecific differences in hemolytic activity. The hemolytic activity of various isolates measured repeatedly over a 2 year period remained constant, consistent with the hemolytic compounds being constitutively produced and under strong genetic control. Depending on species, greater than 60-90% of the total hemolytic activity was initially associated with the cell membranes but diffused into solution over a 24 h assay incubation period at 4 °C. These findings suggest that hemolytic compounds produced by Gambierdiscus isolates were held in membrane bound vesicles as reported for brevetoxins produced by Karenia brevis. Gambierdiscus isolates obtained from other parts of the world exhibited hemolytic activities comparable to those found in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico confirming the range of toxicities is similar among Gambierdiscus species worldwide. Experiments using specific inhibitors of the MTX pathway and purified MTX, Gambierdiscus whole cell extracts, and hydrophilic cell extracts containing MTX, were consistent with MTX as the primary hemolytic compound produced by Gambierdiscus species. While the results from inhibition studies require validation by LC-MS analysis, the available data strongly suggest differences in hemolytic activity observed in this study reflect maitotoxicity.

Availability: Abstract available from the Toxicon journal website above or doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2012.12.016. Epub 2013 Jan 10.

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