Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Killer sea snail a target for new drugs

07.07.2015

University of Queensland pain treatment researchers have discovered thousands of new peptide toxins hidden deep within the venom of just one type of Queensland cone snail. Researchers hope the new molecules will be promising leads for new drugs to treat pain and cancer.

Professor Paul Alewood, from UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience, said the team used biochemical and bioinformatics tools to develop a new method to analyse the structure of the venom toxins, allowing them to delve deeper than ever before. "Cone snail venom is known to contain toxins proven to be valuable drug leads," he said. "This study gives the first-ever snapshot of the toxins that exist in the venom of a single cone snail. "Cone snail venoms are a complex cocktail of many chemicals and most of these toxins have been overlooked in the past."


This is a Conus episcopatus snail.

Credit: Professor Richard Lewis, IMB

Using their new method that involved accurately measuring and analysing the structure, activity and composition of the diverse range of proteins within venom, researchers discovered the highest number of peptides (mini-proteins) produced in a single cone snail.

"We also discovered six original 'frameworks' - 3D-shaped molecules suitable as drug leads - which we expect will support drug development in the near future," Professor Alewood said.

There are 25 known frameworks discovered over the past 25 years, many of which have already led to a drug or drug lead for several diseases.

"We expect these newly discovered frameworks will also lead to new medications, which can be used to treat pain, cancer and a range of other diseases."

The cone snail species studied by the researchers (Conus episcopatus) is found along the east coast of Australia and is one of 700 different species of cone snails.

"We anticipate there are a lot more interesting molecules to be found in the venom of other species, and we are keen to explore these using our new approach,"

"This new method of analysis can also be used in research on other animal venoms, or in related fields, such as studying protein expression from cells.

"It will help us gain a better understanding of biology, look for disease patterns or discover potential new drugs."

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Media Contact

Gemma Ward
g.ward1@uq.edu.au
61-733-462-155

 @uq_news

http://www.uq.edu.au 

Gemma Ward | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: cone snail cone snails diseases drugs protein expression sea snail snail species structure venom

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences

nachricht Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>