Dinophysis Toxigenicity

  • Okadaic acid and Dinophysis
    Okadaic acid and Dinophysis  Dinoflagellates, Dinophysis acuminata and D. ovum, were cultured using a three stage feeding system: cryptophytes were fed to ciliates, which were fed to the mixotroph Dinophysis. Culturing experiments were conducted to determine environmental drivers of growth and toxin production (okadaic acid, dinophysistoxins, pectenotoxins).  Photo by J. Smith
  • SPATTs
    SPATTs  Deployment of SPATTs (solid phase adsorption toxin tracking)in Nauset Marsh Estuary System, Cape Cod, MA. Resin adsorbs dissolved toxins, e.g., okadaic acid, dinophysistoxins, and pectenotoxins, which are then eluted and quantified by mass spectrometry.  Photo by G. Smith
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Title: Nutritional, environmental, and genetic regulation of toxicity and growth in Dinophysis

Primary Investigator: Don Anderson (WHOI)     

Personnel: Juliette Smith (VIMS), Mengmeng Tong (Zhejiang U.), Dave Kulis (WHOI), Mindy Richlen (WHOI)

Funding Sources: NSF Biological Oceanography, WHCOHH (NIEHS/NSF), WHOI Coastal Ocean Institute

Abstract:  The dinoflagellate genus Dinophysis is important from ecological, evolutionary, and public health perspectives.  In the former category, some members of this genus derive their nutrition through a unique, multi-stage process requiring both cryptophyte and ciliate prey.  Evolutionarily, the modification of cryptophyte chloroplasts during this complex feeding process and their subsequent utilization for photosynthesis provides an ideal model system for investigations of plastid acquisition and evolution in eukaryotes. From the public health perspective, Dinophysis species are responsible for the vast majority of diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) cases.  DSP is a syndrome associated with human consumption of shellfish that have accumulated Dinophysis toxins (Yasumoto et al., 1980), and less frequently, toxins from Prorocentrum lima (Lawrence et al., 1998).  It is a major public health and economic problem for many countries (Boni et al., 1993; Giacobbe et al., 2000) and is among the most important and widespread of the harmful algal bloom (HAB)-associated poisoning syndromes (Van Dolah, 2000).

For decades, many aspects of Dinophysis physiology, toxicity, and genetics have remained intractable due to our inability to grow these organisms in laboratory cultures.  As a result of a recent breakthrough, however, this obstacle no longer exists and an array of important experiments and measurements are now possible.  The opportunities for major advances on multiple fronts are significant. Here we propose a comprehensive study to investigate nutritional, environmental, and genetic regulation of toxicity and growth in Dinophysis.

Recent Publications:

Tong, M., *Smith, J.L., Richlen, M.L., Steidinger, K., Kulis, D., Fux, E., Anderson, D.M. (accepted) Characterization and comparison of toxin-producing isolates of Dinophysis acuminata from New England and Canada. Journal of Phycology.

Smith J.L., Tong M., Fux E., Anderson D.M. (2012) Toxin production, retention, and extracellular release by Dinophysis acuminata during extended stationary phase and culture decline. Harmful Algae 19:125–132.

Fux E., Smith J.L., Tong M., Guzman L., Anderson D.M. (2011) Toxin profiles of five geographical isolates of Dinophysis spp. from North and South America. Toxicon 57:275-287.

Tong M., Kulis D.M., Fux E., Smith J.L., Hess P., Zhou Q., Anderson D.M. (2011) The effects of growth phase and light intensity on toxin production by Dinophysis acuminata from the northeastern United States. Harmful Algae 10:254-264.