Plakortis simplex



It is possible for Plakortis simplex to exhibit a mutualist relationship with photosynthetic bacteria.  In this symbiosis, P. simplex essentially provides protection for the photosynthetic bacteria while receiving nutrients provided by means of photosynthesis.  Other than microscopic bacteria exhibiting a parasitic relationship by feeding on the cells of P. simplex, it is not likely to be consumed by other organisms because of its undesirable taste.  This undesirable taste is common in organisms belonging to the phylum Porifera.  However, it has been discovered that few species of fish and gastropods will feed on them.  


It has been discovered that Plakortis simplex is linked to antimalarial compounds.  Malaria is a parasitic disease caused by protists of the genus Plasmodium.  Plasmodium uses two hosts to complete its life cycle.  It first infects a species of Anopheles mosquitoes.  The Anopheles mosquito then transmits Plasmodium to humans by means of biting the skin.  Malaria is a very deadly disease which causes at least one million deaths per year.


Plakortis simplex was found to be loaded in supply of immunosuppressive glycolipids.  One unique secondary metabolite isolated from P. simplex is a peroxide polyketide called plakortin.  Plakortin contains antimalarial activity and is the most plentiful secondary metabolite produced by the sponge. 

For information on another antimalarial promising organism check out Piper nigrum.


To view pictures of P. simplex click here.