Paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) are a group of toxins that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning through blockage of voltage-gated sodium channels. PSTs are produced by prokaryotic freshwater cyanobacteria and eukaryotic marine dinoflagellates. Proliferation of toxic algae species can lead to harmful algal blooms, during which seafood accumulate high levels of PSTs, posing a health threat to consumers. The existence of PST-transforming enzymes was first remarked due to the divergence of PST profiles and concentrations between contaminated bivalves and toxigenic organisms. Later, several enzymes involved in PST transformation, synthesis and elimination have been identified. The knowledge of PST-transforming enzymes is necessary for understanding the processes of toxin accumulation and depuration in mollusk bivalves. Furthermore, PST-transforming enzymes facilitate the obtainment of pure analogues of toxins as in natural sources they are present in a mixture. Pure compounds are of interest for the development of drug candidates and as analytical reference materials. PST-transforming enzymes can also be employed for the development of analytical tools for toxin detection. This review summarizes the PST-transforming enzymes identified so far in living organisms from bacteria to humans, with special emphasis on bivalves, cyanobacteria and dinoflagellates, and discusses enzymes’ biological functions and potential practical applications.
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