Entity of the month
7th July 2014
Tetrodotoxin (CHEBI:9506), commonly abbreviated to TTX, is a low molecular weight neurotoxin characteristically distributed in both terrestrial and marine animal kingdoms . It derives its name from Tetraodontiformes (tetras-four and odontos-tooth), an order that includes pufferfish, porcupinefish, ocean sunfish and several other such species in which the toxin is found. TTX is generally present in the gonads, liver, intestines and skin of these species, the amount fluctuating according to the species, region and seasonal variations . Although TTX is found in these fish and other animals (e.g. gastropods, newts, blue-ringed octopuses etc.), studies have revealed that it is actually synthesised by endo-symbiotic bacteria (e.g. Pseudoalteromonas tetraodonis, certain species of Pseudomonas and Vibrio, etc.) that naturally inhabit the gut of the animal. It has been proposed that the animal initially acquires the TTX-producing bacteria via the food web .Read more ...