Polyketide synthesis genes associated with toxin production in two species of Gambierdiscus (Dinophyceae).
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Marine microbial protists, in particular, dinoflagellates, produce polyketide toxins with ecosystem-wide and human health impacts. Species of Gambierdiscus produce the polyether ladder compounds ciguatoxins and maitotoxins, which can lead to ciguatera fish poisoning, a serious human illness associated with reef fish consumption. Genes associated with the biosynthesis of polyether ladder compounds are yet to be elucidated, however, stable isotope feeding studies of such compounds consistently support their polyketide origin indicating that polyketide synthases are involved in their biosynthesis.