Palytoxin: A New Marine Toxin from a Coelenterate

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Science  30 Apr 1971:
Vol. 172, Issue 3982, pp. 495-498
DOI: 10.1126/science.172.3982.495


Palytoxin has been isolated from the zoanthids "limu-make-o-Hana" (Tentatively identified as Palythoa sp.) as a noncrystalline, chromatographically pure entity. Apart from polypeptide and protein toxins, it is the most highly toxic substance known, with a lethal dose (LD59) in mice of 0.15 microgram per kilogram by intravenous injection. Unlike the potent toxins batrachotoxin, saxitoxin, and tetrodotoxin which have molecular weights of 500 or less, palytoxin has an estimated molecular weight of 3300 and contains no repetitive amino acid or sugar units.