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a question that's been bugging me since day 1

why

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4 replies to this topic

#1 Sid

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 07:10 PM

hi fellow scientists,

i've been wondering that in microorganisms, (such as bacteria, mushrooms), insects, algae and plants, if they produce metabolites, e.g. anticancer and etc

why do they produce it? i mean, mushrooms dont get involves in human cancer or something like that.

why do they produce the metabolites that could only work for human being? do you guys get what i mean?

i'm just curious to know, and maybe you lots already have the answers, please share it here

thank you :)

#2 hobglobin

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 03:58 AM

Such metabolites also work for the organisms that produce them and surely also other animals (and sometimes also used such as for pets or cattle). Complex molecules in an organism can have many functions and effects and react in many ways, depending on concentration, biochemical pathways (and available enzymes, tissues, other molecules), type of metabolism, organelles/organs where they occur and others. So they have sometimes similar effects and uses, sometimes completely different. Mostly this is by chance, e.g. nicotine that work for plants as toxic compound against herbivores, and for humans as simulating drug (with also toxic side effects), which we found out somewhen. Surely it also works for other mammals in this way, but they don't use it.
Antibiotics e.g. are also used as antibiotics e.g. by fungi against bacteria (the classical example of penicillin from mould fungus). Vitamin C is used amongst other functions as antioxidants by plants and animals.
This functioning by chance is well documented in the trial and error experiments where millions of such compounds are evaluated in high throughput constructions and most are kicked out because of toxic or no effects and only a few remain for further testing.

Edited by hobglobin, 31 May 2012 - 04:00 AM.

One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

#3 Sid

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Posted 03 June 2012 - 07:26 PM

hi hobglobin,

thank you for replying,

it cleared my mind :)

#4 Inmost sun

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 05:24 AM

the question was for anti-cancer compounds...

One strategy against anti-cancer cells is to hit them during cell division which they constantly do. Other targets of cancer cells,f.i., are receptortyrosine kinases or machinery of VEGF production; so far as I know, other organisms do not produce metabolites to cure cancer; it is by chance if a plant metabolite such as taxol can be used in cancer therapy (against dividing cells) but originally it seems to be evolved to protect against predators (likely by a similar biochemical mechanism);

Since none of the anti-cancer drugs work absolutely positive and often have serious side effects, it may be concluded that those kind of drugs are not intended by nature to cure cancer; otherwise, they would work more perfect...

#5 pito

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 09:09 AM

the question was for anti-cancer compounds...

One strategy against anti-cancer cells is to hit them during cell division which they constantly do. Other targets of cancer cells,f.i., are receptortyrosine kinases or machinery of VEGF production; so far as I know, other organisms do not produce metabolites to cure cancer; it is by chance if a plant metabolite such as taxol can be used in cancer therapy (against dividing cells) but originally it seems to be evolved to protect against predators (likely by a similar biochemical mechanism);

Since none of the anti-cancer drugs work absolutely positive and often have serious side effects, it may be concluded that those kind of drugs are not intended by nature to cure cancer; otherwise, they would work more perfect...

A lot depends on what your defintion of "cancer" is.. There are plants out there that produce compounds against "plantcancer" ...

Of course there are no organisms out there producing products, specific, against cancer found in humans.
And about "intended by nature" to cure cancer (or any disease whatsoever) does that even exists (outside our body)? And even inside our body: its not 100% specific, a lot of general pathways are involved.

Also: I do not agree with the last part: intented by nature, so it should work more perfect... Even the human anti disease "molecules" in our body dont work 100% perfect.. perfection is not possible to archieve.

In the end you dont really thread the illness, you thread the "DNA" of the illness (how it works, what it does, how it does it), its never really about "killing" the illness in totality.
(not sure I made my point clear here)

If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some than not ask and stay stupid.





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