Harmful dinoflagellate Ostreopsis cf. ovata Fukuyo: detection of ovatoxins in field samples and cell immunolocalization using antipalytoxin antibodies

Giorgio Honsell, Marco De Bortoli, Sabrina Boscolo, Carmela Dell'Aversano, Cecilia Battocchi, Giampaolo Fontanive, Antonella Penna, Federico Berti, Silvio Sosa, Takeshi Yasumoto, Patrizia Ciminiello, Mark Poli, Aurelia Tubaro
Environmental Science & Technology 2011 August 15, 45 (16): 7051-9
Ostreopsis cf. ovata, a benthic dinoflagellate often blooming along the Mediterranean coasts, has been associated with toxic events ranging from dyspnea to mild dermatitis. In late September 2009, an Ostreopsis cf. ovata bloom occurred in the Gulf of Trieste (Northern Adriatic Sea; Italy), causing pruritus and mild dermatitis in beachgoers. An integrated study was initiated to characterize Ostreopsis cells by light and confocal microscopy, PCR techniques, immunocytochemistry, and high resolution liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (HR LC-MS). The presence of Ostreopsis cf. ovata of the Atlantic/Mediterranean clade was unambiguously established by morphological and genetic analyses in field samples. Several palytoxin-like compounds (ovatoxin-a,-b,-c,-d,-e) were identified by HR LC-MS, ovatoxin-a being the most abundant (45-64 pg/cell). Surprisingly, no palytoxin was detected. For the first time, monoclonal and polyclonal antipalytoxin antibodies revealed the intracellular cytoplasmic localization of ovatoxins, suggesting their cross-reactivity with these antibodies. Since harmful dinoflagellates do not always produce toxins, the immunocytochemical localization of ovatoxins, although qualitative, can provide an early warning for toxic Ostreopsis cells before their massive diffusion and/or concentration in seafood.

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