Hydrocorals of the genus Millepora are abundant skeleton-forming inhabitants of coral reefs around the world. These species are popularly known as "fire corals" since contact with them causes severe pain, skin eruptions and blisters as a result of the release of unidentified toxins. Millepora species associate with photosynthetic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium ("zooxanthellae"), and up to now the role of these symbionts in the toxic effects induced by the "fire corals" is unknown. In this study, we compared the hemolytic, vasoconstrictor, and phospholipase A2 (PLA2) activities of the crude aqueous extracts prepared from normal and bleached specimens of two hydrocorals collected in the Mexican Caribbean, Millepora alcicornis and Millepora complanata. Electrophoretic analysis revealed some differences between the protein profiles of the extracts prepared from normal and bleached specimens. Bleaching decreased, but not abolished, the hemolytic effect induced by the hydrocorals extracts and the phospholipase A2 activity of M. complanata extract. Furthermore, it did not modify the enzymatic activity of M. alcicornis extract and vasoconstriction elicited by both extracts. Our results suggest that the presence of the symbionts does not importantly influence the pharmacological and toxic effects induced by Millepora ssp. extracts, and indicate that cnidarians are the main source of the bioactive compounds.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2011|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science