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Alkaloids from Amphibian Skin:  A Tabulation of Over Eight-Hundred Compounds

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journal contribution
posted on 28.10.2005, 00:00 by John W. Daly, Thomas F. Spande, H. Martin Garraffo
A diverse array of biologically active, lipid-soluble alkaloids have been discovered in amphibian skin. Such alkaloids include the following:  the steroidal samandarines from salamanders, the batrachotoxins, histrionicotoxins, gephyrotoxins, and epibatidine from neotropical poison frogs (Dendrobatidae), the pumiliotoxins, allopumiliotoxins, homopumiliotoxins, and decahydroquinolines from certain genera of anurans from four families (Dendrobatidae, Mantellidae, Bufonidae, and Myobatrachidae), a variety of izidines (pyrrolizidines, indolizidines, quinolizidines, lehmizidines), pyrrolidines, piperidines, various tricyclics (related in structures to the coccinellines), and spiropyrrolizidines from the first three of these four families, the pseudophrynamines from one genus of Australian frogs, and a variety of unclassified alkaloids as yet of undetermined structure. With the exception of the samandarines and the pseudophrynamines, all alkaloids appear to be derived from dietary sources. Although only a few of the over 800 amphibian skin alkaloids have been detected in arthropods, putative arthropod sources for the batrachotoxins and coccinelline-like tricyclics (beetles), the pumiliotoxins (ants, mites), the decahydroquinolines, izidines, pyrrolidines, and piperidines (ants), and the spiropyrrolizidines (millipedes) have been discovered. Ants are likely sources for histrionicotoxins, lehmizidines, and tricyclic gephyrotoxins. Epibatidines represent an important alkaloid class without a putative dietary source. The structures for many of these alkaloids have been rigorously established, while the structures of others represent tentative proposals, based only on mass spectral and FTIR spectral data, along with analogies to structures of well-defined alkaloids.

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