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1.  Confirmation and Distribution of Tetrodotoxin for the First Time in Terrestrial Invertebrates: Two Terrestrial Flatworm Species (Bipalium adventitium and Bipalium kewense) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100718.
The potent neurotoxin tetrodotoxin (TTX) is known from a diverse array of taxa, but is unknown in terrestrial invertebrates. Tetrodotoxin is a low molecular weight compound that acts by blocking voltage-gated sodium channels, inducing paralysis. However, the origins and ecological functions of TTX in most taxa remain mysterious. Here, we show that TTX is present in two species of terrestrial flatworm (Bipalium adventitium and Bipalium kewense) using a competitive inhibition enzymatic immunoassay to quantify the toxin and high phase liquid chromatography to confirm the presence. We also investigated the distribution of TTX throughout the bodies of the flatworms and provide evidence suggesting that TTX is used during predation to subdue large prey items. We also show that the egg capsules of B. adventitium have TTX, indicating a further role in defense. These data suggest a potential route for TTX bioaccumulation in terrestrial systems.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100718
PMCID: PMC4070999  PMID: 24963791
2.  Improved ex vivo method for microbiocidal activity across vertebrate species 
Biology Open  2012;1(5):482-487.
Summary
The field of ecoimmunology is currently undergoing rapid expansion, whereby biologists from a wide range of ecological disciplines are increasingly interested in assessing immunocompetence in their study organisms. One of the key challenges to researchers is determining what eco-immune measures to use in a given experiment. Moreover, there are limitations depending on study species, requirements for specific antibodies, and relevance of the methodology to the study organism. Here we introduce an improved ex vivo method for microbiocidal activity across vertebrate species. The utility of this assay is that it determines the ability of an organism to remove a pathogen that could be encountered in the wild, lending ecological relevancy to the technique. The applications of this microbiocidal assay are broad, as it is readily adaptable to different types of microbes as well as a wide variety of study species. We describe a method of microbiocidal analysis that will enable researchers across disciplines to effectively employ this method to accurately quantify microbial killing ability, using readily available microplate absorbance readers.
doi:10.1242/bio.2012919
PMCID: PMC3507210  PMID: 23213440
Ecoimmunology; Immunity; Bacteria; Complement activity

Results 1-2 (2)