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Mar. Drugs 2008, 6(2), 147-163; doi:10.3390/md6020147

Mycosporine-Like Amino Acids and Marine Toxins - The Common and the Different

Department for Biology, Friedrich-Alexander University, Staudtstr. 5, 91058 Erlangen, Germany
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 March 2008 / Revised: 9 May 2008 / Accepted: 13 May 2008 / Published: 22 May 2008
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Toxins)
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Marine microorganisms harbor a multitude of secondary metabolites. Among these are toxins of different chemical classes as well as the UV-protective mycosporinelike 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: mycosporine-like amino acids; marine toxins; algae; cyanobacteria mycosporine-like amino acids; marine toxins; algae; cyanobacteria
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Klisch, M.; Häder, D.P. Mycosporine-Like Amino Acids and Marine Toxins - The Common and the Different. Mar. Drugs 2008, 6, 147-163.

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