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Identification of the toxic trigger in mushroom poisoning


We have isolated the small, highly strained carboxylic acid cycloprop-2-ene carboxylic acid from the Asian toxic mushroom Russula subnigricans. This compound is responsible for fatal rhabdomyolysis, a new type of mushroom poisoning that is indicated by an increase in serum creatine phosphokinase activity in mice. We found that polymerization of the compound at high concentrations via ene reaction abolishes its toxicity.

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Figure 1: Structures and properties.


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We thank T. Suda, S. Morimoto, T. Ueda and K. Yokoyama (Shiga University) for their help in collecting and identifying the mushrooms. We are grateful to F. Hashizaki (Ueno Zoological Gardens) for the help in the animal experiments.

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Authors and Affiliations



M.M. performed all experiments and all data analysis, except for histopathological, antibacterial activity and cytotoxicity analyses; Y.S. performed data analysis and helped write the manuscript; K.I. performed histopathological analyses; K.N. performed antibacterial activity and cytotoxicity analyses; M.I. performed antibacterial activity and cytotoxicity analyses; K.H. was the principal investigator of the project and contributed to data analysis and manuscript writing; M.N. performed data analysis, helped write the manuscript and provided funding.

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Correspondence to Kimiko Hashimoto.

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Supplementary Figures 1–12, Supplementary Table 1 and Supplementary Methods (PDF 1152 kb)

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Matsuura, M., Saikawa, Y., Inui, K. et al. Identification of the toxic trigger in mushroom poisoning. Nat Chem Biol 5, 465–467 (2009).

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