Alkylphosphonates as Unique Compounds in the Metabolism of the Schistosomal Vector Biomphalaria Glabrata

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  • Department of Biological Chemistry, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60612

Examination of intact freshly laid egg masses of the schistosomal snail vector Biomphalaria glabrata by both 31P nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and colorimetric phosphorus analysis indicated that 98% of the phosphorus in the egg masses was present in the form of alkylphosphonic acids. At least 87% of the total phosphorus originally present was comprised of 2-aminoethylphosphonic acid. During 11 days of embryonic development, alkylphosphonate-phosphorus decreased from 98% to 50% of the total phosphorus, indicating a possible role for phosphonate-phosphorus in the embryonic nutrition of these snails. Considering the relative uniqueness of the alkylphosphonates in nature, the very high concentration of these compounds in freshly laid eggs, and the reduction in their amount during embryonic development, the anabolic and catabolic pathways of alkylphosphonates may serve as sites for highly specific analogues in the control of these schistosomal vectors.