Biessy, L., Smith, K. F., Boundy, M. J., Webb, S., Hawes, I., & Wood, S. A. (2018). Distribution of tetrodotoxin in the New Zealand clam, Paphies australis, established using immunohistochemistry and liquid chromatography-tandem quadrupole mass spectrometry. Toxins, 10(7). https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins10070282
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12063
Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is one of the most potent neurotoxins known. It was originally thought to only occur in puffer fish but has now been identified in twelve different classes of freshwater and marine organisms, including bivalves. Despite being one of the world’s most studied biotoxins, its origin remains uncertain. There is contradictory evidence regarding the source of TTX and its pathway through food webs. To date, the distribution of TTX has not been examined in bivalves. In the present study, 48 Paphies australis, a TTX-containing clam species endemic to New Zealand, were collected. Thirty clams were dissected, and organs and tissues pooled into five categories (siphons, digestive gland, adductor muscles, and the ‘rest’) and analyzed for TTX using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). The micro-distribution of TTX was visualized in the remaining 18 individuals using an immunohistological technique incorporating a TTX-specific monoclonal antibody. The LC-MS analysis revealed that siphons contained the highest concentrations of TTX (mean 403.8 µg/kg). Immunohistochemistry analysis showed TTX in the outer cells of the siphons, but also in the digestive system, foot, and gill tissue. Observing TTX in organs involved in feeding provides initial evidence to support the hypothesis of an exogenous source in P. australis.
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