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Small neurotoxic alkaloids from the cyanobacterium Anabaena flos-aquae and related species. Anatoxin-α and homoanatoxin-α irreversibly activate nicotinic acetylcholine receptors; anatoxin-α(s) is a natural organophosphate that inactivates acetylcholine esterase in the same way as organophosphate pesticides such as parathion and malathion. The effect is to cause overstimulation of muscle leading to death through respiratory failure.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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