Paralytic shellfish toxins or spirolides? The role of environmental and genetic factors in toxin production of the Alexandrium ostenfeldii complex


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Bernd.Krock [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Dinoflagellates of the Alexandrium ostenfeldii complex (A. ostenfeldii, A. peruvianum) are capable of producing different types of neurotoxins: paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs), spirolides and gymnodimines, depending on the strain and its geographic origin. While Atlantic and Mediterranean strains have been reported to produce spirolides, strains originating from the brackish Baltic Sea produce PSTs. Some North Sea, USA and New Zealand strains contain both toxins. Causes for such intraspecific variability in toxin production are unknown. We investigated whether salinity affects toxin production and growth rate of 5 A. ostenfeldii/peruvianum strains with brackish water (Baltic Sea) or oceanic (NE Atlantic) origin. The strains were grown until stationary phase at 7 salinities (6–35), and their growth and toxin production was monitored. Presence of saxitoxin (STX) genes (sxtA1 and sxtA4 motifs) in each strain was also analyzed. Salinity significantly affected both growth rate and toxicity of the individual strains but did not change their major toxin profile. The two Baltic Sea strains exhibited growth at salinities 6–25 and consistently produced gonyautoxin (GTX) 2, GTX3 and STX. The two North Sea strains grew at salinities 20–35 and produced mainly 20-methyl spirolide G (20mG), whereas the strain originating from the northern coast of Ireland was able to grow at salinities 15–35, only producing 13-desmethyl spirolide C (13dmC). The effects of salinity on total cellular toxin concentration and distribution of toxin analogs were strain-specific. Both saxitoxin gene motifs were present in the Baltic Sea strains, whereas the 2 North Sea strains lacked sxtA4, and the Irish strain lacked both motifs. Thus sxtA4 only seems to be specific for PST producing strains. The results show that toxin profiles of A. ostenfeldii/peruvianum strains are predetermined and the production of either spirolides or PSTs cannot be induced by salinity changes. However, changes in salinity may lead to changed growth rates, total cellular toxin concentrations as well as relative distribution of the different PST and spirolide analogs, thus affecting the actual toxicity of A. ostenfeldii/peruvianum populations.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
33025
DOI 10.1016/j.hal.2013.04.001

Cite as
Suikkanen, S. , Kremp, A. , Hautala, H. and Krock, B. (2013): Paralytic shellfish toxins or spirolides? The role of environmental and genetic factors in toxin production of the Alexandrium ostenfeldii complex , Harmful Algae, 26 , pp. 52-59 . doi: 10.1016/j.hal.2013.04.001


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