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Ciguatera Toxin vs. PSP Toxin

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Summarize and compare the vectors involved and the mechanism of action on a cellular level of ciguatera toxin and PSP toxin.

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The vectors that carry the ciguatera toxin are the dinoflagellates; the herbivorous fishes that consume the dinoflagellate-containing algae and coral reefs; and the carnivorous fishes such as the barracuda, grouper, and snapper that consume the herbivorous (1,2,3). The cellular mechanism of action of the ciguatera toxin is that it is a "lipid soluble substance" that opens the voltage gated Na+ channels on the cell membranes (1,2,3). The opening of the voltage gated Na+ channels causes the influx of Na+ into the cell causing a change from the resting membrane potential to a more depolarized state (1, 3). In other words, the membrane potential changes from negative resting ...

Solution Summary

The vectors that carry the ciguatera toxin are the dinoflagellates; the herbivorous fishes that consume the dinoflagellate-containing algae and coral reefs; and the carnivorous fishes such as the barracuda, grouper, and snapper that consume the herbivorous (1,2,3). The cellular mechanism of action of the ciguatera toxin is that it is a "lipid soluble substance" that opens the voltage gated Na+ channels on the cell membranes (1,2,3). In contrast, paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) is caused by a different type of dinoflagellate in the genus called Alexandrium, which occur in the "tropical and moderate climate zone" (5). These dinoflagellates have red-brown color, and can grow in mass numbers to form "red tides." (2)

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