Diversity and biosynthetic potential of culturable microbes associated with toxic marine animals

Rocky Chau, John A. Kalaitzis, Susanna A. Wood, Brett A. Neilan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is a neurotoxin that has been reported from taxonomically diverse organisms across 14 different phyla. The biogenic origin of tetrodotoxin is still disputed, however, TTX biosynthesis by host-associated bacteria has been reported. An investigation into the culturable microbial populations from the TTX-associated blue-ringed octopus Hapalochlaena sp. and sea slug Pleurobranchaea maculata revealed a surprisingly high microbial diversity. Although TTX was not detected among the cultured isolates, PCR screening identifiedsome natural product biosynthesis genes putatively involved in its assembly. This study is the first to report on the microbial diversity of culturable communities from H. maculosa and P. maculata and common natural product biosynthesis genes from their microbiota. We also reassess the production of TTX reported from three bacterial strains isolated from the TTX-containing gastropod Nassarius semiplicatus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2695-2712
Number of pages18
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2013. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • tetrodotoxin
  • biosynthesis
  • microbial diversity
  • Pleurobranchaea maculata
  • Hapalochlaena sp.
  • Nassarius semiplicatus


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