Toxin resistence in slug's actin
Five Chromodoris species from North Sulawesi, Indonesia, were investigated for their sequestration of marine natural products. The cytotoxic 2-thiazolidinone macrolide latrunculin A (LatA) was the major metabolite in all examined Chromodoris species, as well as in one of the associated sponges Cacospongia mycofijiensis (Kakou, Crews & Bakus, 1987), supporting a dietary origin of LatA. Furthermore, LatA was secreted with the mucus trail, suggesting a possible use in short-range chemical communication. MALDI MS-Imaging revealed an accumulation of LatA throughout the mantle tissue, mucus glands, and especially in vacuoles of the mantle dermal formations (MDFs). Cytotoxicity of the isolated LatA was tested in HEK-293 cells, confirming that LatA targets the actin cytoskeleton. In vivo toxicity experiments with the sacoglossan Elysia viridis (Montagu, 1804) showed 100% mortality, but 100% survival of Chromodoris specimens, demonstrating resistance to LatA. A novel actin isoform was detected in all investigated Chromodoris species with two amino acid substitutions at the ‘nucleotide binding’ cleft, the binding site of LatA. These are suggested to cause insensitivity against LatA, thus enabling the storage of the toxin within the body for the slugs’ own defense.