cyanobacterial toxins (fwd)

Paul Mcgregor Taylor taylorpm at ARIEL.UCS.UNIMELB.EDU.AU
Tue Aug 29 19:42:38 EST 1995

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 18 Aug 1995 10:37:43 +1000 (AEST)
From: Paul Mcgregor Taylor <taylorpm at>
To: microbiology at
Subject: cyanobacterial toxins

I've just been doing some thinking. Does anyone have any idea what 
purpose, apart from advantage over competitors, cyanobacterial toxins may 
serve? Microcystin, produced by Microcystis aeruginosa is a cyclic 
heptapeptide, so it is unlikely to be a by-product. Could they possibly 
serve the same purpose as the membrane derived oligosaccharides (MDO's) 
found in Gram negative bacteria? That is, providing some form of 
protetcion against osmotic pressure. We know that the toxins are really 
only released in great quantities upon cell lysis. Anatoxins, produced by 
Ananbaena flos-aquae, are samller than the microcystins, and resemble 
oligosaccharides in their structure.
However, not all strains of the above mentioned cyanobacterial species 
produce such toxins.  
I would be interested to see if anyone had any other ideas about these 
amazing toxins.


Paul Taylor
University of Melbourne, Australia.

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