The novel protein named haditoxin has been described in the prestigious Journal of Biological Chemistry (March 12, 2010).
The editorial board of the journal has selected this work as the "Paper of the Week" recognising it as being in the top one per cent of their published articles in terms of significance and overall importance.
Haditoxin was discovered in Professor Manjunatha Kini's laboratory at the National University of Singapore. Co-author of the paper Dr S. Niru Nirthanan, now at Griffith University on the Gold Coast, has characterised the pharmacological actions of haditoxin.
Dr Nirthanan said that haditoxin was structurally unique and therefore expected to have unique pharmacological properties.
"This toxin is like a conjoined twin. It is a relatively large complex made up of two identical protein molecules known as three-finger toxins linked together."
"We know that the family of three-finger toxins display diverse biological actions on the human nervous system, cardiovascular system and blood clotting. Some have directly led to the development of compounds with potent analgesic and blood pressure reducing properties – so it is likely that haditoxin in its 'conjoined twin' state or as individual components will offer us more novel insights," he said.
Dr Nirthanan, a former clinician who has research interests in pharmacology and neurobiology, said many common drugs such as the widely prescribed blood pressure medication Captopril and anti-clotting drug Eptifibatide have been developed from snake and other animal venoms.
"Researchers have been studying King Cobra venom for over 50 years and yet we are still identifying new compounds. It is a complex cocktail of biological molecules that can change composition depending on the environment, the season or even the snake's diet."
The venom primarily acts on neurotransmitter receptors which regulate communication between nerve cells or between nerves and muscles, resulting in symptoms such as paralysis and respiratory failure. /more
He said that from a clinical perspective, the worldwide burden of snakebite is high with up to 125,000 preventable deaths each year and significant public health costs associated with snakebite treatment.
"We may be able to improve management of snakebite as we better understand the mechanism of action of these venoms. However, my research interest is in the therapeutic and pharmacological potential of venom toxins."
While not every new toxin will convert directly into a clinically useful drug, he said there was potential for haditoxin to be a lead compound or template from which to design other drugs. "Because of the high specificity of these toxins, haditoxin may also be useful as a 'molecular probe' which will help us study neurotransmitter receptors and their role in disease."
These receptors are important in neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases as well as in schizophrenia, anxiety and depressive disorders and nicotine addiction.
The haditoxin research was conducted by an international team from the National University of Singapore, Griffith University and University of Geneva.
High resolution photos of Dr Niru Nirthanan and haditoxin available for download at https://www79.secure.griffith.edu.au/oer-images/Niru
MEDIA CONTACTS: Dr Niru Nirthanan 07 5552 8231 or Health Communications Officer Mardi Chapman 07 5552 9089, 0408 727 706
Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University
Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences