Marine polyether toxins, mainly produced by marine dinoflagellates, are novel, complex, and diverse natural products with extensive toxicological and pharmacological effects. Owing to their harmful effects during outbreaks of marine red tides, as well as their potential value for the development of new drugs, marine polyether toxins have been extensively studied, in terms of toxicology, pharmacology, detection, and analysis, structural identification, as well as their biosynthetic mechanisms. Although the biosynthetic mechanisms of marine polyether toxins are still unclear, certain progress has been made. In this review, research progress and current knowledge on the biosynthetic mechanisms of polyether toxins are summarized, including the mechanisms of carbon skeleton deletion, pendant alkylation, and polyether ring formation, along with providing a summary of mined biosynthesis-related genes. Finally, future research directions and applications of marine polyether toxins are discussed.
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