Biological Significance of Alkaloids

Natura non facit saltus.

Carl von Linné

Abstract: Alkaloids are compounds needed for cell activity and gene code realization in the genotype. They are biologically significant as active stimulators, inhibitors and terminators of growth, a part of an endogenous security and regulation mechanism. Some alkaloids have significance as haemoglobinizators of leukaemia cells and they can be biologically determined to be estrogenically active molecules. They display antimicrobial and anti-parasitic properties. Recent research has proved that they are not toxic to the organisms that produce them. Biotoxicity is directed only towards foreign organisms or cells and it is selective. Alkaloids can alter DNA, selectively deform cells and cause locoism. Some alkaloid molecules, both natural and synthetic, can act as narcotics. Moreover, they play a very important role in the immune systems of animals and plants. Alkaloid metabolism is genetically coded, and to date more than 30 genes coding for the enzymes involved in alkaloid synthesis have been isolated. Alkaloid molecules are active agents in evolutionary interactions.

Key words: alkaloids, antimicrobial activity, anti-parasitic activity, biology, cytotoxicity, DNA, endogenous security mechanism, estrogenic effect, evolution, genes, haemoglobinization, immune system, inhibitor, locoism, narcotics, regulation, stimulator

Alkaloids play a very important role in organism metabolism and functional activity. They are metabolic products in plants, animals and micro-organisms. They occur in both vertebrates and invertebrates as endogenous and exogenous compounds. Many of them have a distributing effect on the nervous systems of animals. Alkaloids are the oldest successfully used drugs throughout the historical treatment of many diseases321.

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