Functional Genomics of a Non-Toxic Alexandrium Lusitanicum Culture
WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION MA
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Paralytic shellfish poisoning PSP is a human intoxication associated with the consumption of shellfish contaminated with a family of neurotoxins called saxitoxins. Many species in the dinoflagellate genus Alexandrium have been shown to produce these toxins. Here I report the first case of a culture of Alexandrium that has completely lost the ability to produce saxitoxins. The loss of toxicity was accompanied by a reduction in growth capability. A subculture of this isolate maintains the ability to produce toxins and to grow at rates and to cell abundances that were characteristic of the original Alexandrium culture. The growth and toxicity differences in the two isolates were demonstrated to be a property of the dinoflagellate itself and were not dependent on the different bacterial symbionts associated with each culture.