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Complex Small-Molecule Architectures Regulate Phenotypic Plasticity in a Nematode


  • We thank Parag Mahanti and Alex Artyukhin for helpful discussions and Maciej Kukula for assistance with high resolution mass spectrometry. This work was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (GM088290 and GM085285), the Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan-Kettering Training Program in Chemical Biology and the Max-Planck Society.


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Chemistry the worm's way: The nematode Pristionchus pacificus constructs elaborate small molecules from modified building blocks of primary metabolism, including an unusual xylopyranose-based nucleoside (see scheme). These compounds act as signaling molecules to control adult phenotypic plasticity and dauer development and provide examples of modular generation of structural diversity in metazoans.