The Journal of Membrane Biology

, Volume 242, Issue 1, pp 31–39 | Cite as

Palytoxin Induces Functional Changes of Anion Transport in Red Blood Cells: Metabolic Impact

  • Silvana FicarraEmail author
  • Annamaria Russo
  • Francesca Stefanizzi
  • Mario Mileto
  • Davide Barreca
  • Ersilia Bellocco
  • Giuseppina Laganà
  • Ugo Leuzzi
  • Bruno Giardina
  • Antonio Galtieri
  • Ester Tellone


Palytoxin (PTX) is classified as one of the most powerful marine biotoxins (of high molecular weight and no protein origin) because it is able to interact strongly with important cellular structures influencing their function in different biological processes. This study of the effects of PTX on red blood cells (RBC) extends the knowledge about its toxicity, which concerns not only the well-known action on Na+/K+-ATPase but also band 3 protein (B3 or AE1), the role of which is essential for anion transport and for the structure, function, and metabolic integrity of the erythrocyte. The effects of PTX on RBC can be summarized as follows: it alters the anionic flux and seriously compromises not only CO2 transport but also the metabolic modulation centered on the oxy–deoxy cycle of hemoglobin; it stabilizes the plasma membrane by preventing lipid peroxidation; and its effect does not lead to activation of caspases 3 and 8. From what is reported in steps 2 and 3, and on the basis of the results obtained on hemolysis, methemoglobin levels, and phosphatase activity, an increase of the reducing power of the erythrocytes (RBC) in the presence of PTX clearly emerges. The results have enabled us to outline some metabolic adaptations induced in the RBC by PTX.


Band 3 protein Caspase 3 Erythrocytes Hemoglobin Metabolism Palytoxin 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silvana Ficarra
    • 1
    Email author
  • Annamaria Russo
    • 1
  • Francesca Stefanizzi
    • 2
  • Mario Mileto
    • 3
  • Davide Barreca
    • 1
  • Ersilia Bellocco
    • 1
  • Giuseppina Laganà
    • 1
  • Ugo Leuzzi
    • 1
  • Bruno Giardina
    • 4
    • 5
  • Antonio Galtieri
    • 1
  • Ester Tellone
    • 1
  1. 1.Organic and Biological Chemistry DepartmentUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  2. 2.ARPACAL Regional Agency for Environmental Protection of Calabria, Provincial Department of CrotoneCrotoneItaly
  3. 3.ARPACAL Regional Agency for Environmental Protection of Calabria, Provincial Department of CosenzaCosenzaItaly
  4. 4.Biochemistry and Clinical Biochemistry InstituteCatholic University, School of MedicineRomeItaly
  5. 5.C.N.R. Institute of Chemistry of Molecular RecognitionCatholic UniversityRomeItaly

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