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Townsend K.A.,University of Queensland | Altvater J.,Independent Marine Biochemistry Research | Thomas M.C.,Independent Marine Biochemistry Research | Schuyler Q.A.,University of Queensland | Nette G.W.,Independent Marine Biochemistry Research
Marine Biology | Year: 2012

The blue-lined octopus Hapalochlaena fasciata contains the powerful neuromuscular blocker tetrodotoxin (TTX), which causes muscle weakness and respiratory failure. H. fasciata is regarded as one of the most venomous marine animals in the world, and multiple human fatalities have been attributed to the octopus. To date, there have been no recorded incidents of an envenomation of a wild animal. Here, we present a newly developed, multi-stage tandem mass spectrometry technique that provides unequivocal evidence for two cases of envenomation of two ~110 kg herbivorous green sea turtles by two tiny cryptic blue-lined octopuses (~4 cm body length). These cases of accidental ingestion provide evidence for the first time of the antipredator effect of TTX and highlight a previously unconsidered threat to turtles grazing within seagrass beds. © 2011 The Author(s). Source


Thomas M.C.,Independent Marine Biochemistry Research | Kirk B.B.,University of Wollongong | Altvater J.,Independent Marine Biochemistry Research | Blanksby S.J.,University of Wollongong | Nette G.W.,Independent Marine Biochemistry Research
Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry | Year: 2014

Fatty acids are long-chain carboxylic acids that readily produce [M - H]- ions upon negative ion electrospray ionization (ESI) and cationic complexes with alkali, alkaline earth, and transition metals in positive ion ESI. In contrast, only one anionic monomeric fatty acid-metal ion complex has been reported in the literature, namely [M - 2H + FeIICl] -. In this manuscript, we present two methods to form anionic unsaturated fatty acid-sodium ion complexes (i.e., [M - 2H + Na]-). We find that these ions may be generated efficiently by two distinct methods: (1) negative ion ESI of a methanolic solution containing the fatty acid and sodium fluoride forming an [M - H + NaF]- ion. Subsequent collision-induced dissociation (CID) results in the desired [M - 2H + Na] - ion via the neutral loss of HF. (2) Direct formation of the [M - 2H + Na]- ion by negative ion ESI of a methanolic solution containing the fatty acid and sodium hydroxide or bicarbonate. In addition to deprotonation of the carboxylic acid moiety, formation of [M - 2H + Na]- ions requires the removal of a proton from the fatty acid acyl chain. We propose that this deprotonation occurs at the bis-allylic position(s) of polyunsaturated fatty acids resulting in the formation of a resonance-stabilized carbanion. This proposal is supported by ab initio calculations, which reveal that removal of a proton from the bis-allylic position, followed by neutral loss of HX (where X = F- and -OH), is the lowest energy dissociation pathway. [Figure not available: see fulltext.] © 2013 American Society for Mass Spectrometry. Source


Thomas M.C.,Independent Marine Biochemistry Research | Altvater J.,Independent Marine Biochemistry Research | Gallagher T.J.,Independent Marine Biochemistry Research | Nette G.W.,Independent Marine Biochemistry Research
Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry | Year: 2014

The collision-induced dissociation (CID) of cationic fatty acid-metal ion complexes has been extensively studied and, in general, provides rich structural information. In particular, charge-remote fragmentation processes are commonly observed allowing the assignment of double bond position. In a previous manuscript, we presented two methods to doubly deprotonate polyunsaturated fatty acids to form anionic fatty acid-sodium ion complexes, referred to as [M - 2H + Na]- ions. In the current manuscript, the CID behavior of these [M - 2H + Na]- ions is investigated for the first time. Significantly, we also present a deuterium-labeling experiment, which excludes the possibility that deprotonation occurs predominately at the α-carbon in the formation of fatty acid [M - H + NaF]- ions. This supports our original proposal where deprotonation occurs at the bis-allylic positions of polyunsaturated fatty acids. CID spectra of polyunsaturated fatty acid [M - 2H + Na]- ions display abundant product ions arising from acyl chain cleavages. Through the examination of fatty acid isomers, it is demonstrated that double bond position may be unequivocally determined for methylene-interrupted polyunsaturated fatty acids with three or more carbon-carbon double bonds. In addition, CID of [M - 2H + Na]- ions was applied to 18:3 isomers of Nannochloropsis oculata and three isomers were tentatively identified: δ9,12,1518:3, δ6,9,1218:3, and δ5,8,1118:3. We propose that structurally-informative product ions are formed via charge-driven fragmentation processes at the site of the resonance-stabilized carbanion as opposed to charge-remote fragmentation processes, which could be inferred if deprotonation occurred predominately at the α-carbon. © 2014 American Society for Mass Spectrometry. Source

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