Spodoptera larvae actively biosynthesize an iron chelator, thereby directly influencing their gut flora
Iron is important for every organism. In animals and humans, it controls hematosis and oxygen transport. However, iron ions also influence the community of microorganisms in the gut, the so-called microbiome.
Gut bacteria require iron ions to grow and proliferate, and now scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, have provided evidence that insects of the Noctuidae family produce a substance in their gut tissue, an aromatic quinoline carboxylic acid, that binds iron ions, thus directly controlling the growth of gut microbes.
The control of iron availability in the gut is probably a widespread principle. The active biosynthesis of an iron chelator, a substance that binds iron, has now been confirmed in an insect for the first time. (Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, November 2014).
Chemical substances that bind iron ions are called iron chelators. An example of such an iron chelator is an aromatic quinoline carboxylic acid (8-hydroquinoline-2-carboxylic acid, or 8-HQA). Large numbers of 8-HQA molecules are found in the guts of Spodoptera larvae (Noctuidae) where, together with iron ions, they form a complex, one result of which is that there are fewer freely available iron ions. Because gut bacteria need iron for growth, the absence of 8-HQA directly influences the gut microflora.
Researchers have long been baffled by the enormous metabolic effort insects put into the biosynthesis of 8-HQA: Approximately 10% of tryptophan, an essential amino acid caterpillars ingest when they feed on plants, is converted into 8-HQA over an insect’s life cycle. The substance is formed in the tissue of the insect gut, however, it is not produced by gut bacteria.
“The effect on the gut microbiome is achieved by the fact that iron ions, which are necessary for microbial growth, are no longer available. For example, E. coli stops growing completely in the presence of typical 8-HQA concentrations in the gut. Only if iron ions are added, the bacteria restart growth,” said Wilhelm Boland, director of the Department of Bioorganic Chemistry.
Controlling iron availability is an extremely important mechanism for manipulating bacterial growth in microhabitats, such as animal guts where these bacteria live. Proof that a substance which controls iron is actively synthesized in the guts of Spodoptera larvae suggests that similar mechanisms likely also exist in other animals. [AO]
Pesek, J., Svoboda, J., Sattler, M., Bartram, S., Boland, W. (2014). Biosynthesis of 8-hydroxyquinoline-2-carboxylic acid, an iron chelator from the gut of the lepidopteran Spodoptera littoralis. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry. doi: 10.1039/c4ob01857e.
Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Boland, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, e-mail email@example.com, Tel.: +49 3641 57 1201
Angela Overmeyer | Max-Planck-Institut
Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel
Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy