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Towards a more complete understanding of the occurrence and toxicities of the cylindrospermopsins

Ross Sadler

*Corresponding author: Ross Sadler ross.sadler@griffith.edu.au


The existence of a number of cylindrospermopsin analogs has been confirmed by several authors. These cylindrospermopsin analogs were formerly seen as minor constituents, with normal cylindrospermopsin always being the dominant form. However, it is now clear that the cylindrospermopsin analogs are the major species produced by certain organisms, the production being enhanced, at least in some cases, under specific physiological conditions. Presently, relatively little information is available concerning the properties, physiology of occurrence and toxicity of these molecules. The existing literature pertaining to these aspects is reviewed with respect to known cylindrospermopsin analogs.
The biosynthesis of the cylindrospermopsins is discussed and the previously established pathway has been modified to take account of the production of the known cylindrospermopsin forms. The anomalies in terms of in-vivo toxicity of 7-deoxy-cylindrospermopsin are reported, along with further attempts to rationalize the situation. We also discuss reasons for the apparently similar toxicity of 7-deoxy-cylindrospermopsin and cylindrospermopsin to cell cultures in vitro. It is hypothesized that the similarity of cylindrospermopsin intoxication to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease may argue for these cyanotoxins to exert their effects via a lysosomal pathway.

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