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The Chemistry of Phyletic Dominance
Jerrold Meinwald and Thomas Eisner
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 92, No. 1 (Jan. 3, 1995), pp. 14-18
Published by: National Academy of Sciences
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2366491
Page Count: 5
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Studies of arthropod defensive chemistry continue to bring to light novel structures and unanticipated biosynthetic capabilities. Insect alkaloids, such as the heptacyclic acetogenin chilocorine and the azamacrolides, exemplify both of these aspects of arthropod chemistry. Spider venoms are proving to be rich sources of neuroactive components of potential medical interest. The venom of a fishing spider, Dolomedes okefinokensis, has yielded a polyamine which reversibly blocks L- and R-type voltage-sensitive calcium channels. Most recently, we have characterized, from the funnel-web spider Hololena curta, a sulfated nucleoside glycoside which serves as a reversible blocker of glutamate-sensitive calcium channels. The ability to synthesize or acquire an extremely diverse array of compounds for defense, offense, and communication appears to have contributed significantly to the dominant position that insects and other arthropods have attained.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America © 1995 National Academy of Sciences