Xenohormesis: sensing the chemical cues of other species

Cell. 2008 May 2;133(3):387-91. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.04.019.


Many plant molecules interact with and modulate key regulators of mammalian physiology in ways that are beneficial to health, but why? We propose that heterotrophs (animals and fungi) are able to sense chemical cues synthesized by plants and other autotrophs in response to stress. These cues provide advance warning about deteriorating environmental conditions, allowing the heterotrophs to prepare for adversity while conditions are still favorable.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Biosynthetic Pathways
  • Flavonoids / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Phenols / metabolism
  • Plants, Medicinal / metabolism*
  • Polyphenols
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Survival


  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Polyphenols