Towards a Better Understanding of Toxin Biosynthesis in Seaweeds

  • Santé-Sciences-Technologie,
  • Pharmacie,

du 21 juin 2022 au 21 juin 2025


Site Grandmont

EA2106 BBV - Biomolécules et Biotechnologies végétales

We discuss in this Highlight article the importance of continuing to acquire new data on biosynthetic pathways in marine organisms for both diagnostic and metabolic-engineering purposes.

Brassart PL, Thomas OP, Courdavault V, Papon N. Towards a Better Understanding of Toxin Biosynthesis in Seaweeds. Chembiochem. 2022 Aug 17;23(16):e202200223. doi: 10.1002/cbic.202200223. 


Harmful algal blooms (HABs) represent both ecological and public health hazards in the marine environment. Indeed, some algae can produce metabolites that have negative effects on marine ecosystems and mammals. Kainoid derivatives such as kainic acid (KA) and domoic acid (DA) are considered some of the most toxic metabolites of marine origin biosynthesized by a limited number of micro- and macroalgae. While recent works have provided the first insights into the biosynthetic route of KA in red algae and DA in diatoms, the DA biosynthetic pathway has remained uncharacterized for red algae. In a recent work, the research groups of Chekan and Moore have not only elucidated the biosynthetic pathway of DA in the red alga Chondria armata but also shed light on its complex evolution among marine species. We discuss here the importance of pursuing active research in this area to gain insights into secondary biosynthetic pathways in marine organisms for diagnostic and metabolic engineering perspectives.

Keywords: algae; biosynthesis; evolution; kainoids; toxins