Recent aspects of chemical ecology: Natural toxins, coral communities, and symbiotic relationships

Daisuke Uemura, Masaki Kita, Hirokazu Arimoto, Makoto Kitamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The discovery of new ecologically active compounds often triggers the development of basic scientific concepts in the field of biological sciences, since such compounds have direct physiological and behavioral effects on other living organisms. We have focused on the identification of natural key compounds that control biologically and physiologically intriguing phenomena. We describe three recent aspects of chemical ecology that we have investigated: natural toxins, coral communities, and symbiotic relationships. Blarina toxin (BLTX) is a lethal mammalian venom that was isolated from the short-tailed shrew. Duckbilled platypus venom shows potent Ca2+ influx in neuroblastoma cells. The venom of the solitary wasp contains arginine kinase-like protein and is used to paralyze its prey to feed its larva. The ecological behaviors of corals are controlled by combinations of small molecules. The polyol compound symbiodinolide may serve as a defense substance for symbiotic dinoflagellates to prevent digestion of their host animals. These compounds reveal the wonder of nature, in both terrestrial and marine ecological systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1093-1111
Number of pages19
JournalPure and Applied Chemistry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Chemical ecology
  • Coral larval metamorphosis
  • Marine natural products
  • Natural toxins
  • Secondary metabolites
  • Symbiosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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