Publications by authors named "Scott R Smedley"

5 Publications

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North American Fireflies Host Low Bacterial Diversity.

Microb Ecol 2021 Feb 20. Epub 2021 Feb 20.

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA.

Although there are numerous studies of firefly mating flashes, lantern bioluminescence, and anti-predation lucibufagin metabolites, almost nothing is known about their microbiome. We therefore used 16S rRNA community amplicon sequencing to characterize the gut and body microbiomes of four North American firefly taxa: Ellychnia corrusca, the Photuris versicolor species complex, Pyractomena borealis, and Pyropyga decipiens. These firefly microbiomes all have very low species diversity, often dominated by a single species, and each firefly type has a characteristic microbiome. Although the microbiomes of male and female fireflies did not differ from each other, Ph. versicolor gut and body microbiomes did, with their gut microbiomes being enriched in Pseudomonas and Acinetobacter. Ellychnia corrusca egg and adult microbiomes were unique except for a single egg microbiome that shared a community type with E. corrusca adults, which could suggest microbial transmission from mother to offspring. Mollicutes that had been previously isolated from fireflies were common in our firefly microbiomes. These results set the stage for further research concerning the function and transmission of these bacterial symbionts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00248-021-01718-7DOI Listing
February 2021

2D NMR-spectroscopic screening reveals polyketides in ladybugs.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2011 Jun 6;108(24):9753-8. Epub 2011 Jun 6.

Boyce Thompson Institute and Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.

Small molecules of biological origin continue to yield the most promising leads for drug design, but systematic approaches for exploring nature's cache of structural diversity are lacking. Here, we demonstrate the use of 2D NMR spectroscopy to screen a library of biorationally selected insect metabolite samples for partial structures indicating the presence of new chemical entities. This NMR-spectroscopic survey enabled detection of novel compounds in complex metabolite mixtures without prior fractionation or isolation. Our screen led to discovery and subsequent isolation of two families of tricyclic pyrones in Delphastus catalinae, a tiny ladybird beetle that is employed commercially as a biological pest control agent. The D. catalinae pyrones are based on 23-carbon polyketide chains forming 1,11-dioxo-2,6,10-trioxaanthracene and 4,8-dioxo-1,9,13-trioxaanthracene derivatives, representing ring systems not previously found in nature. This study highlights the utility of 2D NMR-spectroscopic screening for exploring nature's structure space and suggests that insect metabolomes remain vastly underexplored.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1107020108DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3116430PMC
June 2011

Pinoresinol: A lignol of plant origin serving for defense in a caterpillar.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2006 Oct 9;103(42):15497-501. Epub 2006 Oct 9.

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.

Pinoresinol, a lignan of wide distribution in plants, is found to occur as a minor component in the defensive secretion produced by glandular hairs of caterpillars of the cabbage butterfly, Pieris rapae. The compound or a derivative is appropriated by the larva from its normal food plant (the cabbage, Brassica oleracea). Pinoresinol was shown to be absent from the secretion if the larva was given a cabbage-free diet but present in the effluent if that diet was supplemented with pinoresinol. Pinoresinol is shown to be a feeding deterrent to ants (Formica exsectoides), indicating that it can complement the defensive action of the primary components of the secretion, a set of previously reported lipids called mayolenes. In the test with F. exsectoides, pinoresinol proved to be more potent than concomitantly tested mayolene-16.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0605921103DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1622851PMC
October 2006

Reproductive benefits derived from defensive plant alkaloid possession in an arctiid moth (Utetheisa ornatrix).

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2005 Sep 8;102(38):13508-12. Epub 2005 Sep 8.

Department of Biological Sciences, State University of New York, Binghamton, NY 13902, USA.

The moth Utetheisa ornatrix (family Arctiidae) depends on pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) for defense. It sequesters the toxins as a larva from its food plants (Crotalaria species: family Fabaceae) and retains them through metamorphosis. We report here that PA-possession in the adult female U. ornatrix has a life-shortening effect, suggesting that, by putting the compounds to use, the moth may be incurring a cost. However, PA-possession also induces the female to oviposit at an accelerated rate, so that she does not, by dying earlier, incur a loss in fecundity. We argue that by "compressing" their adult existence into a shorter period, female U. ornatrix may actually accrue benefits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0505725102DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1224640PMC
September 2005

Mayolenes: labile defensive lipids from the glandular hairs of a caterpillar (Pieris rapae).

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2002 May 7;99(10):6822-7. Epub 2002 May 7.

Department of Biology, Trinity College, Hartford, CT 06106, USA.

Larvae of the European cabbage butterfly, Pieris rapae (Pieridae), are beset with glandular hairs, bearing droplets of a clear oily secretion at their tip. The fluid consists primarily of a series of chemically labile, unsaturated lipids, the mayolenes, which are derived from 11-hydroxylinolenic acid. In bioassays with the ant Crematogaster lineolata, the secretion was shown to be potently deterrent, indicating that the fluid plays a defensive role in nature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.102165699DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC124487PMC
May 2002