Wilmington Center for Marine Science

Marvin, NC, United States

Wilmington Center for Marine Science

Marvin, NC, United States
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Hu T.,National Research Council Canada | LeBlanc P.,National Research Council Canada | Burton I.W.,National Research Council Canada | Walter J.A.,National Research Council Canada | And 5 more authors.
Harmful Algae | Year: 2017

Many toxic secondary metabolites used for defense are also toxic to the producing organism. One important way to circumvent toxicity is to store the toxin as an inactive precursor. Several sulfated diesters of the diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) toxin okadaic acid have been reported from cultures of various dinoflagellate species belonging to the genus Prorocentrum. It has been proposed that these sulfated diesters are a means of toxin storage within the dinoflagellate cell, and that a putative enzyme mediated two-step hydrolysis of sulfated diesters such as DTX-4 and DTX-5 initially leads to the formation of diol esters and ultimately to the release of free okadaic acid. However, only one diol ester and no sulfated diesters of DTX-1, a closely related DSP toxin, have been isolated leading some to speculate that this toxin is not stored as a sulfated diester and is processed by some other means. DSP components in organic extracts of two large scale Prorocentrum lima laboratory cultures have been investigated. In addition to the usual suite of okadaic acid esters, as well as the free acids okadaic acid and DTX-1, a group of corresponding diol- and sulfated diesters of both okadaic acid and DTX-1 have now been isolated and structurally characterized, confirming that both okadaic acid and DTX-1 are initially formed in the dinoflagellate cell as the non-toxic sulfated diesters. © 2017


Isaacs J.D.,Wilmington Center for Marine Science | Strangman W.K.,Wilmington Center for Marine Science | Barbera A.E.,Wilmington Center for Marine Science | Mallin M.A.,Wilmington Center for Marine Science | And 2 more authors.
Harmful Algae | Year: 2014

The Cape Fear River is the largest river system in North Carolina. It is heavily used as a source of drinking water for humans and livestock as well as a source of irrigation water for crops, and production water for industry. It also serves as a major fishery for both commercial and recreational use. In recent years, possibly related to increased eutrophication of the river, massive blooms of cyanobacteria, identified as Microcystis aeruginosa have been observed. Bloom samples collected in 2009 and 2012 were chemically analyzed to determine if they contained cyanobacterial toxins known as microcystins. Both blooms were found to produce microcystins in high yields. Microcystins are potent hepatotoxins that can be bio-accumulated in the food chain. Recent biological studies have also shown a host of other potentially harmful effects of low level microcystin exposure. Detailed chemical analysis of these blooms led us to discover that these blooms produce an additional family of cyanobacterial peptides know as the micropeptins, including two new members named micropeptins 1106 and 1120. The biological activities of these new molecules have not yet been determined, although protease activity has been well documented for this peptide group. These data indicate a need for thorough monitoring of toxin levels especially during bloom events in addition to additional biological testing of other cyanopeptides present in blooms. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


The Cape Fear River is the largest river system in North Carolina. It is heavily used as a source of drinking water for humans and livestock as well as a source of irrigation water for crops, and production water for industry. It also serves as a major fishery for both commercial and recreational use. In recent years, possibly related to increased eutrophication of the river, massive blooms of cyanobacteria, identified as Microcystis aeruginosa have been observed. Bloom samples collected in 2009 and 2012 were chemically analyzed to determine if they contained cyanobacterial toxins known as microcystins. Both blooms were found to produce microcystins in high yields. Microcystins are potent hepatotoxins that can be bio-accumulated in the food chain. Recent biological studies have also shown a host of other potentially harmful effects of low level microcystin exposure. Detailed chemical analysis of these blooms led us to discover that these blooms produce an additional family of cyanobacterial peptides know as the micropeptins, including two new members named micropeptins 1106 and 1120. The biological activities of these new molecules have not yet been determined, although protease activity has been well documented for this peptide group. These data indicate a need for thorough monitoring of toxin levels especially during bloom events in addition to additional biological testing of other cyanopeptides present in blooms.

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