Phytochemical characterization and comparative studies of four Cecropia species collected in Panama using multivariate data analysis.
ABSTRACT: Plant species of the genus Cecropia (Urticaceae) are used as traditional medicine in Latin-America, and are commercially available as food supplements. The aim of this study was to characterize and compare the phytochemical constituents of four Cecropia species collected in Panama. The structures of 11 compounds isolated from leaves of C. obtusifolia were elucidated based on high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopic analysis; the polyphenolic constituents of leaves of all four Cecropia species and commercial products were characterized using high performance liquid chromatography-diode array detection-quadrupole time of flight-tandem high resolution mass spectrometry (HPLC-DAD-QTOF). Forty-seven compounds were fully identified or tentatively characterized. Thirty-nine of these have not been previously reported for the species under investigation. Multivariate analysis revelead that C. obtusifolia and C. insignis are the most related species, while C. hispidissima is the most segregated one. Considering the importance of the description of novel chemical entities and the increasing interest and use of natural products, this study may be of great help for chemotaxonomic purposes, the interpretation of medicinal properties and for quality assessment of herbal supplements containing Cecropia leaves.
Project description:Ascomycete fungi in the nests of ants inhabiting plants (= myrmecophytes) are very often cultivated by the ants in small patches and used as food source. Where these fungi come from is not known yet. Two scenarios of fungus recruitment are possible: (1) random infection through spores or hyphal fragments from the environment, or (2) transmission from mother to daughter colonies by the foundress queen. It is also not known at which stage of the colony life cycle fungiculture is initiated, and whether the- symbiont fungi serve as food for the ant queen. To clarify these questions, we investigated four Azteca ant species inhabiting three different Cecropia species (C. insignis, C. obtusifolia, and C. peltata). We analysed an rRNA gene fragment from 52 fungal patches produced by founding queens and compared them with those from established Azteca colonies (n = 54). The infrabuccal pockets of winged queens were dissected to investigate whether young queens carry fungi from their mother colony. Additionally, 15N labelling experiments were done to verify whether the queen feeds on the patches until she is nourished by her first worker offspring. We infer from the results that the fungi cultivated in hollow plant structures are transferred from the parental colony of the young queen. First, fungal genotypes/OTU diversity was not significantly different between foundress queen patches and established colonies, and second, hyphal parts were discovered in the infrabuccal pockets of female alates. We could show that fungiculture already starts before queens lay their eggs, and that the queens do not feed on fungal patch material but feed it to the larvae. Our findings suggest that fungiculture may be crucial for successful colony founding of arboreal ants in the tropics.
Project description:The complete chloroplast genome of <i>Cecropia pachystachya</i> Trécul was determined in this study. The total genome size was 153,925?bp in length, containing a pair of inverted repeats (IRs) of 25,443?bp, which were separated by large single copy (LSC) and small single copy (SSC) of 84,947?bp and 18,092?bp, respectively. The GC contents is 36.5%. A total of 112 unique genes were annotated, including 30 tRNA, four rRNA, and 78 protein-coding genes. This is the first report of a cp genome for the formerly recognised family <i>Cecropiaceae</i>, and it confirmed that <i>Cecropia pachystachya</i> belongs within Urticaceae.
Project description:Cecropia species are traditionally used in Latin American folk medicine and are available as food supplements with little information warranting their quality. The optimum conditions for the extraction of chlorogenic acid (CA), total flavonoids (TF) and flavonolignans (FL) from leaves of Cecropia species were determined using a fractional factorial design (FFD) and a central composite design (CCD). A reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatographic method coupled to a diode array detector (HPLC-DAD) was validated for the quantification of CA, TF and FL, following the ICH guidelines. Quantitative and Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was also performed. The extraction-optimization methodology enabled us developing an appropriate extraction process with a time-efficient execution of experiments. The experimental values agreed with those predicted, thus indicating suitability of the proposed model. The validation parameters for all chemical markers of the quantification method were satisfactory. The results revealed that the method had excellent selectivity, linearity, precision (repeatability and intermediate precision were below than 2 and 5%, respectively) and accuracy (98-102%). The limits of detection and quantification were at nanogram per milliliter (ng/mL) level. In conclusion, the simultaneous quantification of chemical markers using the proposed method is an appropriate approach for species discrimination and quality evaluation of Cecropia sp.
Project description:This investigation cultured Cecropia obtusifolia cells in suspension to evaluate the effect of nitrate deficiency on the growth and production of chlorogenic acid (CGA), a secondary metabolite with hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic activity that acts directly on type 2 diabetes mellitus. Using cell cultures in suspension, a kinetics time course was established with six time points and four total nitrate concentrations. The metabolites of interest were quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and the metabolome was analyzed using directed and nondirected approaches. Finally, using RNA-seq methodology, the first transcript collection for C. obtusifolia was generated. HPLC analysis detected CGA at all sampling points, while metabolomic analysis confirmed the identity of CGA and of precursors involved in its biosynthesis. Transcriptome analysis identified differentially expressed genes and enzymes involved in the biosynthetic pathway of CGA. C. obtusifolia probably expresses a key enzyme with bifunctional activity, the hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA quinate hydroxycinnamoyl transferase and hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA shikimate/quinate hydroxycinnamoyl transferase (HQT/HCT), which recognizes shikimic acid or quinic acid as a substrate and incorporates either into one of the two routes responsible for CGA biosynthesis.
Project description:Plant extracts from the genus Cecropia have been used by Latin-American traditional medicine to treat metabolic disorders and diabetes. Previous results have shown that roots of Cecropia telenitida contain pentacyclic triterpenes and these molecules display a hypoglycemic effect in an insulin-resistant murine model. The pharmacological target of these molecules, however, remains unknown. Several lines of evidence indicate that pentacyclic triterpenes inhibit the 11?-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 enzyme, which highlights the potential use of this type of natural product as phytotherapeutic or botanical dietary supplements. The main goal of the study was the evaluation of the inhibitory effect of Cecropia telenitida molecules on 11?-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 enzyme activity. A pre-fractionated chemical library was obtained from the roots of Cecropia telenitida using several automated chromatography separation steps and a homogeneous time resolved fluorescence assay was used for the bio-guided isolation of inhibiting molecules. The screening of a chemical library consisting of 125 chemical purified fractions obtained from Cecropia telenitida roots identified one fraction displaying 82% inhibition of the formation of cortisol by the 11?-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 enzyme. Furthermore, a molecule displaying IC50 of 0.95 ± 0.09 µM was isolated from this purified fraction and structurally characterized, which confirms that a pentacyclic triterpene scaffold was responsible for the observed inhibition. Our results support the hypothesis that pentacyclic triterpene molecules from Cecropia telenitida can inhibit 11?-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 enzyme activity. These findings highlight the potential ethnopharmacological use of plants from the genus Cecropia for the treatment of metabolic disorders and diabetes.
Project description:The larvae of the giant silk moth (Hyalophora cecropia) spin strikingly dimorphic, multilayered cocoons that are either large and fluffy (baggy) or significantly smaller and tightly woven (compact). Although these cocoon-morphs share the same function (i.e., housing for pupal to adult development during overwintering), previous work has been unable to determine why cocoon dimorphism exists. We addressed this issue in cecropia moth cocoons collected along power line right-of-way habitats in Massachusetts. We first characterized the architectural differences between cocoon-morphs for all three cocoon sections (outer and inner envelopes, and the intermediate layer separating the two). We show that outer envelope structural and ultrastructural differences are what underlie dimorphism. Using a common spinning arena, we next show that the behavioral suites used to construct the outer envelopes of the two morphs are significantly different in behavioral time investment and patterning, as well as in the location of silk placement in the common spinning arena. Finally, we compared the cocoon-morphs in response to various environmental stressors to ask whether dimorphism is an adaptive response to such pressures. In contrast to compact cocoons, we find that baggy cocoons act as heat sinks and allow greater moisture permeability; differences in outer envelope architecture underlie these characteristics. These two biophysical properties could be advantageous for pupae in baggy cocoons, during unseasonably cold or dry conditions encountered during development prior to adult emergence. Our results suggest that cocoon dimorphism in the cecropia moth may provide a bet-hedging strategy for dealing with varying environmental conditions in Massachusetts and perhaps over its entire habitat range, during pupal to adult development.
Project description:Resource specialists persist in a narrow range of resources. Consequently, the abundance of key resources should drive vital rates, individual fitness, and population viability. While Neotropical forests feature both high levels of biodiversity and numbers of specialist species, no studies have directly evaluated how the variation of key resources affects the fitness of a tropical specialist. Here, we quantified the effect of key tree species density and forest cover on the fitness of three-toed sloths ( Bradypus variegatus), an arboreal folivore strongly associated with Cecropia trees in Costa Rica, using a multi-year demographic, genetic, and space-use dataset. We found that the density of Cecropia trees was strongly and positively related to both adult survival and reproductive output. A matrix model parametrized with Cecropia-demography relationships suggested positive growth of sloth populations, even at low densities of Cecropia (0.7 trees ha-1). Our study shows the first direct link between the density of a key resource to demographic consequences of a tropical specialist, underscoring the sensitivity of tropical specialists to the loss of a single key resource, but also point to targeted conservation measures to increase that resource. Finally, our study reveals that previously disturbed and regenerating environments can support viable populations of tropical specialists.
Project description:The late 5th instar caterpillar of the cecropia silk moth (Hyalophora cecropia) spins a silken cocoon with a distinct, multilayered architecture. The cocoon construction program, first described by the seminal work of Van der Kloot and Williams, consists of a highly ordered sequence of events. We perform behavioral experiments to re-evaluate the original cecropia work, which hypothesized that the length of silk that passes through the spinneret controls the orderly execution of each of the discrete events of cocoon spinning. We confirm and extend by three-dimensional scanning and quantitative measurements of silk weights that if cocoon construction is interrupted, upon re-spinning, the caterpillar continues the cocoon program from where it left off. We also confirm and extend by quantitative measurements of silk weights that cecropia caterpillars will not bypass any of the sections of the cocoon during the construction process, even if presented with a pre-spun section of a cocoon spun by another caterpillar. Blocking silk output inhibits caterpillars from performing normal spinning behaviors used for cocoon construction. Surprisingly, unblocking silk output 24-hr later did not restart the cocoon construction program, suggesting the involvement of a temporally-defined interval timer. We confirm with surgical reductions of the silk glands that it is the length of silk itself that matters, rather than the total amount of silk extracted by individuals. We used scanning electron microscopy to directly show that either mono- or dual-filament silk (i.e., equal silk lengths but which vary in their total amount of silk extracted) can be used to construct equivalent cocoons of normal size and that contain the relevant layers. We propose that our findings, taken together with the results of prior studies, strongly support the hypothesis that the caterpillar uses a silk "odometer" to measure the length of silk extracted during cocoon construction but does so in a temporally regulated manner. We further postulate that our examination of the anatomy of the silk spinning apparatus and ablating spinneret sensory output provides evidence that silk length measurement occurs upstream of output from the spinneret.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Senna obtusifolia and Senna occidentalis (Leguminosae), whose seeds have similar appearance and chemical constituents, are easily confused in using their seeds. To elucidate the similarities and differences between S. obtusifolia seeds and S. occidentalis seeds, three molecular markers and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) were employed to evaluate the seeds characteristics of these two medicinal herbs. RESULTS:The results showed that selected 3 ISSR and 7 SCoT primers could distinguish S. obtusifolia seeds from S. occidentalis seeds based on the specific band and UPGMA dendrogram. ITS2 sequence indicated that the intra-specific similarity of 20 S. obtusifolia and 16 S. occidentalis was 99.79 and 100.0%, respectively, while the inter-specific similarity between S . obtusifolia and S. occidentalis was 89.58%. Although phylogenetic analysis revealed that these two species had a close relationship, they were assigned to different branches. HPLC fingerprint results showed that seeds of S. obtusifolia and S. occidentalis shared some secondary metabolites, but aurantio-obtusin was not detected in S. occidentalis seeds which could differentiate S. obtusifolia seeds from S. occidentalis seeds. CONCLUSIONS:The present study not only compared the seeds characters of S. obtusifolia and S. occidentalis from molecular and secondary metabolites levels, but also provided a convenient method to identify S. obtusifolia seeds and S. occidentalis seeds effectively.