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A Proteomic Analysis of the Effects of Yessotoxin and Di-Desulfoyessotoxin on Yeast and Mammalian Cells

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posted on 2021-11-12, 09:10 authored by Cordiner, Sarah

Yessotoxin (YTX) is a disulfated polycyclic polyether, produced by dinoflagellate algae. It is known to accumulate in edible shellfish, raising concerns about its potential risk to human health. YTX was initially classified as a diarrhetic shellfish poisoning toxin, due to commonly being extracted alongside toxins of this variety. However, YTX does not induce any of the effects characteristic of this group. A separate category for YTXs was established by the European Commission in 2002 and a limit of 1 mg/kg of shellfish meat was established. YTX has been shown to be an apoptosis inducer in a variety of cell lines in vitro. It has also been shown to be lethal to mice when administered by intra-peritoneal injection. However, when administered orally only limited toxicity is observed. The di-desulfated derivative (dsYTX) has also been shown to be lethal to mice following intra-peritoneal injection. However it causes damage mainly to the liver, whereas YTX appears to target the heart. The mechanism of action of YTX is still unknown. The goals of this project were to use proteomic techniques, to examine the effects of YTX and dsYTX on Saccharomyces cerevisiae and human promyelocytic leukemic blood leukocyte (HL60) cells. Young et al. (2009) showed that the major proteins affected by YTX in HepG2 cells were heterogeneous ribonucleoproteins (hnRNPs), lamins, cathepsins and heat shock proteins. HnRNPs had not previously been identified as possible targets of YTX. Alterations of hnRNP levels were also seen in HL60 cells treated with microtubule stabilising agents, peloruside A or paclitaxel (Wilmes et al., 2011, 2012). No differences in cell morphology or significant changes in protein abundance were observed when S. cerevisiae cells were exposed to YTX. A small number of significant changes in abundance were detected when these cells were exposed to dsYTX. The small number of protein changes seen is possibly due to poor toxin entrance into the cell through the yeast cell wall, lack of protein targets structurally homologous to those found in mammalian cells, or fast removal of the toxin through export pumps. Twenty-four hour incubation of HL60 cells with YTX resulted in increased cell death but no change in cell morphology. Treatment with dsYTX caused cells to aggregate into clusters and a 24% decrease in the number of live cells. Increases were found in the abundance of β-actin, hnRNP A and BiP proteins in response to dsYTX treatment. Decreases in these proteins were seen in HepG2 cells treated with YTX for 24 hours. As seen in S. cerevisiae cells, dsYTX had a greater effect in HL60 cells compared with YTX. Overall, the results provide some support for the previously identified effect on hnRNPs in mammalian cells exposed to YTX.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Biomedical Science

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Biomedical Science

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Biological Sciences


Jordan, Bill