Identification of Chaoborus kairomone chemicals that induce defences in Daphnia

Linda C. Weiss, Bauke Albada, Sina M. Becker, Sven W. Meckelmann, Julia Klein, Martin Meyer, Oliver J. Schmitz, Ulf Sommer, Markus Leo, Johannes Zagermann, Nils Metzler-Nolte, Ralph Tollrian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Infochemicals play important roles in aquatic ecosystems. They even modify food web interactions, such as by inducing defenses in prey. In one classic but still not fully understood example, the planktonic freshwater crustacean Daphnia pulex forms specific morphological defenses (neckteeth) induced by chemical cues (kairomones) released from its predator, the phantom midge larva Chaoborus. On the basis of liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, and chemical synthesis, we report here the chemical identity of the Chaoborus kairomone. The biologically active cues consist of fatty acids conjugated to the amino group of glutamine via the N terminus. These cues are involved in Chaoborus digestive processes, which explains why they are consistently released despite the disadvantage for its emitter. The identification of the kairomone may allow in-depth studies on multiple aspects of this inducible defense system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1133-1139
JournalNature Chemical Biology
Early online date14 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Identification of Chaoborus kairomone chemicals that induce defences in Daphnia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this