Saxitoxin (STX) is a phycotoxin that contributes to paralytic intoxication from eating bivalve mollusks; it is produced by marine microalgae of the genus Alexandrium. This toxin affects a wide range of species, inducing massive mortality of fish and other marine species. However, marine bivalves can resist and accumulate the paralyzing venom. Many marine species are affected by STX by ingesting dinoflagellates, especially filter feeders such as bivalves. STX may reduce reproductive and growth rates, especially in marine bivalves, and may be one of the main causes of mortality in natural populations.
The experimental design was composed of two separate experiments. (A) An evaluation of the whole transcriptome was performed after direct injection of purified Saxitoxin in mussels, followed by RNA sequencing using the HiSeq2000 platform (Illumina, San Diego, USA) and bioinformatics analysis with the commercial CLC Genomic Workbench software (CLC Bio, Denmark). Complementary to this, (B) a validation assay was performed by exposing mussels to toxic Alexandrium catanella and non-toxic Alexandrium tamarense, followed by evaluating the expression levels of selected transcripts through RT-qPCR.
The complete publication may be found at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0165231