Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology


In lieu of an abstract, below is the first paragraph of the paper.

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) along the west coast of Florida are the result of a large proliferation of the dinoflagellate Karenia brevis. The harmful nature of these algal blooms is the result of potent neurotoxins, specifically referred to as brevetoxins, which are released from K. brevis. PbTx-2 is one of the most abundant brevetoxins during HABs of K brevis and results in extreme mortality of marine wildlife and health implications for humans such as Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning (NSP) and immunosuppression. The cellular response to PbTx-2 is not as well known, which was the focus of this research. Oxidative stress, in the form of depleted glutathione and elevated levels of hydrogen peroxide, peroxidase, and/or heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), is a common defensive response of human cells to a toxin. It was hypothesized that human cells would produce an elevated level of HO-1 in the presence of PbTx- 2 in comparison to cells without PbTx-2. The purpose of this research was to quantify the amount of HO-1 produced by a human monocytic cell line (U-937) when treated with PbTx-2 and use this as an indicator of the level of oxidative stress. Results supported that human cells did undergo oxidative stress in the presence of PbTx-2 and produced an elevated level of HO-1.

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