The most poisonous mushroom toxins are produced by Amanita phalloides (death cap). The occurrence and chemistry of three groups of toxins (amatoxins, phallotoxins and virotoxins) are summarized. The concentration and distribution of toxins in certain species are variable, with the young fruit body containing lower, and the well-developed fungus higher concentrations, but there is a high variability among specimens collected in the same region. Regarding phallotoxins, the volva (the ring) is the most poisonous. The most important biochemical effect of amatoxins is the inhibition of RNA polymerases (especially polymerase II). This interaction leads to a tight complex and the inhibition is of a non-competitive type. Non-mammalian polymerases show little sensitivity to amanitins. The amatoxins cause necrosis of the liver, also partly in the kidney, with the cellular changes causing the fragmentation and segregation of all nuclear components. Various groups of somatic cells of emanation resistance have been isolated, including from a mutant of Drosophila melanogaster. The phallotoxins stimulate the polymerization of G-actin and stabilize the F-actin filaments. The interaction of phallotoxins occurs via the small, 15-membered ring, on the left side of the spatial formula. The symptoms of human poisoning and the changes in toxin concentrations in different organs are summarized. Conventional therapy includes: (1) stabilization of patient's condition with the correction of hypoglycaemia and electrolytes; (2) decontamination; and (3) chemotherapy with different compounds. Finally, certain antagonists and protective compounds are reviewed, bearing in mind that today these have more of a theoretical than a practical role.
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