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.
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- microbial diversity
- Pleurobranchaea maculata
- Hapalochlaena sp.
- Nassarius semiplicatus