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Mar Drugs. 2008 May 22;6(2):147-63. doi: 10.3390/md20080008.

Mycosporine-like amino acids and marine toxins--the common and the different.

Author information

1
Department for Biology, Friedrich-Alexander University, Staudtstr. 5, 91058 Erlangen, Germany. mklisch@biologie.uni-erlangen.de

Abstract

Marine microorganisms harbor a multitude of secondary metabolites. Among these are toxins of different chemical classes as well as the UV-protective mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs). The latter form a group of water-soluble, low molecular-weight (generally < 400) compounds composed of either an aminocyclohexenone or an aminocyclohexenimine ring, carrying amino acid or amino alcohol substituents. So far there has been no report of toxicity in MAAs but nevertheless there are some features they have in common with marine toxins. Among the organisms producing MAAs are cyanobacteria, dinoflagellates and diatoms that also synthesize toxins. As in cyclic peptide toxins found in cyanobacteria, amino acids are the main building blocks of MAAs. Both, MAAs and some marine toxins are transferred to other organisms e.g. via the food chains, and chemical modifications can take place in secondary consumers. In contrast to algal toxins, the physiological role of MAAs is clearly the protection from harmful UV radiation by physical screening. However, other roles, e.g. as osmolytes and antioxidants, are also considered. In this paper the common characteristics of MAAs and marine toxins are discussed as well as the differences.

KEYWORDS:

algae; cyanobacteria; marine toxins; mycosporine-like amino acids

PMID:
18728764
PMCID:
PMC2525485
DOI:
10.3390/md20080008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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