HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Mutation in clams protects against paralytic shellfish poisoning but raises human health risk

Just like people, clams can be affected by the toxins that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), but scientists have now identified a mutation in clams that gives some protection. PSP toxins interfere with nerve function, and the mutation, which changes a single amino acid in a sodium channel, makes nerves less sensitive to those toxins.

The discovery is reported in the April 7 issue of the journal Nature. The authors suggest that it has wide ranging implications for the evolution of shellfish in the presence of toxic algae and increases the risk of PSP to people who eat clams by enabling contaminated clams to survive in the presence of toxins.

The report, "Sodium channel mutation leading to saxitoxin resistance in clams increases risk of PSP," was written by a team of scientists, including Laurie Connell of the University of Maine School of Marine Sciences. It describes differences in the responses of two soft shell clam populations -- one in the Bay of Fundy and the other in the Lawrencetown estuary in Nova Scotia -- to saxitoxin as well as tetrodotoxin, a powerful toxin derived from the puffer fish.

The lead author is V. Monica Bricelj of the Institute for Marine Biosciences in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in addition to Connell, co-authors are Keiichi Konoki, Todd Scheuer, and William A. Catterall of the University of Washington; Scott P. MacQuarrie of the Institute for Marine Biosciences; and Vera L. Trainer of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle.

"Since the 1960s, it's been known that different species of shellfish have different resistance to PSP toxins," says Connell. "This is the first time the source of that resistance has been shown. We now have a marker that can be used to determine if clams have this mutation. It's easy to use and could help reduce the time of clam flat closures (related to red tide)."

Betty Twarog, a neurophysiologist who works at UMaine's Darling Marine Center in Walpole, Main
'"/>

Contact: Laurie Connell
laurie.connell@umit.maine.edu
207-581-2470
University of Maine
6-Apr-2005


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Mutation improves memory, may lead to memory-enhancing pill
2. Mutation in HNF4A associated with an increase in birthweight and macrosomia
3. Mutations point the way to new leukemia drugs
4. Mutation in tumor suppressor gene causes pancreatic islet cells to reproduce
5. Mutation in deafness gene can help heal wounds and prevent infection
6. Mutation in blood stem cells provides clues to cancer development
7. Mutation in a single gene switches a fungus-grass symbiosis from mutualistic to antagonistic
8. Mutation in brain cells of descendants of Abraham Lincoln suggest he suffered from movement disorder
9. Mutations in the BRAF gene predict sensitivity to a novel class of cancer drugs
10. Mutation may raise prostate-cancer risk in African Americans
11. Mutations in NOTCH1 gene cause aortic valve disease

Post Your Comments:
(Date:4/22/2014)... in two Minnesota cities demonstrate how communities can ... a ten year program in New England and ... to local conditions. , "Our goal is to ... said program co-leader Latham Stack, of Syntectic International, ... worsened. We help communities move beyond feeling paralyzed ...
(Date:4/21/2014)... is commonly used as a farm soil fertilizer, contains ... from the cows, gut bacteria. The findings, reported in ... American Society for Microbiology, hints that cow manure is ... genes that transfer to bacteria in the soils where ... (AR) genes have already been identified, but the vast ...
(Date:4/21/2014)... are on the decline in the Galpagos. , A new ... indicates numbers of the iconic birds, known for their ... attract mates, have fallen more than 50 percent in less ... is probably due to an unexplained disappearance of sardines from ... at Wake Forest University and the study,s principal investigator. This ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Minnesota projects offer hope and practical help to communities facing more extreme storms 2Cow manure harbors diverse new antibiotic resistance genes 2Cow manure harbors diverse new antibiotic resistance genes 3Lack of breeding threatens blue-footed boobies' survival 2Lack of breeding threatens blue-footed boobies' survival 3
(Date:1/15/2014)... The Pittcon Organizing Committee is pleased to announce that ... an e-Journal and producer of Food Labs Conference ... for the co-location of Food Labs Conference to be held ... registration fee to attend the two-day Food Lab Conference, March ...
(Date:1/15/2014)... 2014 Look inside the new Preferred ... the lab, from fluid handling to instruments to supplies. ... when you order. , Preferred Solutions features a ... the L/S® model for precise flow control and dispensing ...
(Date:1/15/2014)... California , January 15, 2014 Oxford ... today announced the appointment of Thomas C Reynolds MD, PhD ... years, development experience gained in the biotechnology industry, most recently ... am delighted to welcome Tom at this transformative time for ...
(Date:1/15/2014)... This webinar will focus on EMA and ... in biosimilars. , Regulatory frameworks are evolving many countries ... the complex nature of biopharmaceuticals makes the demonstration of ... challenging. Based on the specific aspects of biosimilar drug ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Pittcon Announces Second Year Partnership With Food Safety Tech 2Pittcon Announces Second Year Partnership With Food Safety Tech 3Cole-Parmer Begins 2014 with the Release of Preferred Solutions 2Oxford BioTherapeutics Appoints Thomas C Reynolds MD, PhD to its Board of Directors 2Oxford BioTherapeutics Appoints Thomas C Reynolds MD, PhD to its Board of Directors 3Xtalks Life Sciences Webinar Examines Safety Assessment of Biosimilars 2
Cached News: