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Cylindrospermopsin (also CYN, or CYL) is a cyanotoxin produced by a variety of freshwater cyanobacteria.[1] CYN is a polycyclic uracil derivative containing guanidino and sulfate groups. It is also zwitterionic, making it highly water soluble. CYN is toxic to liver and kidney tissue and is thought to inhibit protein synthesis and to covalently modify DNA and/or RNA. It is not known whether cylindrospermopsin is a carcinogen, but it appears to have no tumour initiating activity in mice.[2]

The toxin is produced by Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii, Umezakia natans, Aphanizomenon ovalisporum, Anabaena bergii, Raphidiopsis curvata and Aphanizomenon issatschenkoi. C. raciborskii has been observed mainly in tropical areas, however has also recently been discovered in temperate regions of Australia, Europe, North and South America, and New Zealand.

The chemical structure of CYN was determined

  1. ^ Fastner, J., R. Heinze, A.R. Humpage; et al. (2003). "Cylindrospermopsin occurrence in two German lakes and preliminary assessment of toxicity and toxin production of Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii (cyanobacteria) isolates". Toxicon. 42 (3): 313–321. doi:10.1016/S0041-0101(03)00150-8. 
  2. ^ Falconer, I.R. and A.R. Humpage (2001). "Preliminary evidence for in vivo tumour initiation by oral administration of extracts of the blue-green alga Cylindrospermopsis raciborski containing the toxin cylindrospermopsin". Environ. Toxicol. 16 (2): 192–195. doi:10.1002/tox.1024.