Proteomics Identification of Azaspiracid Toxin Biomarkers in Blue Mussels, Mytilus edulis

J.K. Nzoughet, John Hamilton, C.H. Botting, Alastair Douglas, Lynda Devine, John Nelson, Christopher Elliott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Azaspiracids are a class of recently discovered algae-derived shellfish toxins. Their distribution globally is on the increase with mussels being most widely implicated in azaspiracid-related food poisoning events. Evidence that these toxins were bound to proteins in contaminated mussels has been shown recently. In the present study characterization of these proteins in blue mussels, Mytilus edulis, was achieved using a range of advanced proteomics tools. Four proteins present only in the hepatopancreas of toxin-contaminated mussels sharing identity or homology with cathepsin D, superoxide dismutase, glutathione S-transferase Pi, and a bacterial flagellar protein have been characterized. Several of the proteins are known to be involved in self-defense mechanisms against xenobiotics or up-regulated in the presence of carcinogenic agents. These findings would suggest that azaspiracids should now be considered and evaluated as potential tumorigenic compounds. The presence of a bacterial protein only in contaminated mussels was an unexpected finding and requires further investigation. The proteins identified in this study should assist with development of urgently required processes for the rapid depuration of azaspiracid-contaminated shellfish. Moreover they may serve as early warning indicators of shellfish exposed to this family of toxins. Molecular & Cellular Proteomics 8: 1811-1822, 2009.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1811-1822
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular and Cellular Proteomics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Analytical Chemistry


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