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Syst Appl Microbiol. 2000 Jun;23(2):191-7.

Co-occurrence of non-toxic (cyanopeptolin) and toxic (microcystin) peptides in a bloom of Microcystis sp. from a Chilean lake.

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Universität Freiburg, Institut für Biologie II, Mikrobiologie, Germany.


A cyanobacterial bloom occurring in 1998 in lake Tres Pascualas (Concepción/Chile) was found to be dominated by Microcystis sp. The bloom contained both non-toxic (cyanopeptolin-type) and hepatotoxic (microcystin-type) peptides. Cyanopeptolin structure of the non-toxic peptides (called cyanopeptolin VW-1 and VW-2, respectively) was revealed by matrix assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) of whole cells, showing dominant molecular ions at m/z = 975 and m/z 995, respectively. On post source decay (PSD), both cyanopeptolins showed fragments deriving from Ahp-Phe-MTyr (3-amino-6-hydroxy-2-piperidone), the characteristic partial structure of cyanopeptolins. The amounts of each of the two cyanopeptolins could only roughly be estimated to be >0.1% of bloom material dry weight. In addition the blooms contained microcystins (20 microg/g bloom dry weight as determined by RP-HPLC, 13 microg/g according to ELISA determination). MALDI-TOF-MS revealed several structural variants of microcystin: MCYST-RR (microcystin with Arg and Arg, indicated by m/z 1,038 and confirmed by PSD revealing a m/z = 135 fragment deriving from the Adda side chain, MCYST-FR (microcystin with Phe and Arg, indicated by m/z = 1,015). The presence of [Asp(3)]-MCYST-LR (microcystin with Leu and Arg, Asp non-methylated, indicated by m/z 981), and [Asp(3)]-MCYST-YR (microcystin with Tyr and Arg, Asp non-methylated, indicated by m/z 1,031) were likely. The relative amounts of the peptides varied between February, April, and May. Whole cell extracts from the bloom material revealed specific enzyme inhibitory activities. The serin-proteases trypsin, plasmin, elastase were inhibited, assumable due to the cyanopeptolins found. Elastase and the cysteine-protease papain were not inhibited, inhibitions of protein kinase and glutathione S-transferase (GST) were low. Strong inhibition was observed with protein-phosphatase-1, likely due to the microcystins present in the samples.

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