The in vitro photoinduced reactions of the mycosporine-like amino acids (MAA) usujirene and palythene were studied by monochromatic stationary irradiation at 366 nm. High-performance liquid chromatography analysis of the irradiated aqueous solution of usujirene indicated a low photoreactivity on the basis of the observed photodecomposition quantum yield of ϕ−U = (2.86 ± 0.80) × 10−5, which can be partially accounted for by the cis–trans photoisomerization of usujirene to palythene (ϕU→P = [1.71 ± 0.13] × 10−5). However, palythene in aqueous solution showed a higher photostability than did usujirene under equivalent conditions, establishing a photostationary mixture of cis–trans isomers with a relative composition of palythene–usujirene (11:1). These results may explain the preferential in vivo accumulation of palythene relative to that of usujirene observed in several dinoflagellate species.
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Vol. 77 • No. 2