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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects

Title: Insects and Their Chemical Weaponry: Great Potential and New Discoveries from the Order Phasmatodea

item Dossey, Aaron -
item Whitaker, John -
item Gottardo, Marco -
item Vander Meer, Robert
item Bernier, Ulrich
item Kunert, Maritta -
item Roush, William -
item Boland, Wilhelm -

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 27, 2011
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: With over 1,000,000 species of insects known, Class Insecta (Phyllum Arthropoda), the largest and most diverse group of organisms, is one of the least explored in natural product drug discovery (Dossey, A. T., Nat. Prod Rep. 2010, 27, 1737–1757). Over the past five our research stick insect chemical defenseshas led to several seminal discoveries. This presentation will discuss: 1) an overview of selected insect natural products with medicinal potential, 2) discoveries on the chemistry and biosynthesis of stick insect chemical defenses, and 3) the activities of these compounds on ants and mosquitoes. So far the defense chemistry of only 13 of the greater than 3,000 species of stick insect species have been analyzed. From our current research program we have 9 previously known compounds for the first time from phasmids and discovered at least one novel compound, parectadial. Recently, we have identified sulcatone from Lopaphus sphalerus and a spiroketal from Asceles glaber and demonstrated their effects on the behavior of red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) and mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti). We have also found that the defensive secretion of A. buprestoides also contains glucose oxidoreductase activity, demonstrating the potential role of glucosidated precursors in their chemical defense biosynthetic pathways. These results demonstrate that insects hold promising potential for studies of biosynthetic pathways and for the discovery of useful natural products.

Last Modified: 4/18/2015
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