Walkingstick’s novel monoterpene shows activity against tumor cells
Camouflage is not the only trick Madagascar walkingsticks use to thwart their enemies. These insects also spray a defensive fluid, and a team of researchers hopes the fluid’s key chemical, parectadial, will ward off a human enemy: cancer.
The team, led by biochemistry professor Arthur S. Edison of the University of Florida, details their discovery and characterization of parectadial along with their development of a synthetic route to this novel monoterpene (J. Nat. Prod., DOI: 10.1021/np070151g).
Studying an insect’s defensive fluid is often a challenge because the sample size typically is minuscule. Edison’s team overcame this obstacle by using microsample NMR technology aimed at analyzing natural products (C&EN, Sept. 25, 2006, page 15). Analysis of venom from the Madagascar walkingstick (Parectatosoma mocquerysi) revealed a monoterpene dialdehyde that Edison’s team named parectadial.