Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Snake venom charms science world: Novel protein from king cobra as drug discovery

Date:
March 9, 2010
Source:
Griffith University
Summary:
The king cobra continues to weave its charm with researchers identifying a protein in its venom with the potential for new drug discovery and to advance understanding of disease mechanisms.

The King Cobra continues to weave its charm with researchers identifying a protein in its venom with the potential for new drug discovery and to advance understanding of disease mechanisms.
Credit: Wikimedia commons

The King Cobra continues to weave its charm with researchers identifying a protein in its venom with the potential for new drug discovery and to advance understanding of disease mechanisms.

Related Articles


The novel protein named haditoxin has been described in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (March 12, 2010).

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Griffith University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Amrita Roy et al. Structural and Functional Characterization of a Novel Homodimeric Three-finger Neurotoxin from the Venom of Ophiophagus hannah (King Cobra). J. Biol. Chem., 2010 285: e99921 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.P109.074161

Cite This Page:

Griffith University. "Snake venom charms science world: Novel protein from king cobra as drug discovery." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100308095842.htm>.
Griffith University. (2010, March 9). Snake venom charms science world: Novel protein from king cobra as drug discovery. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100308095842.htm
Griffith University. "Snake venom charms science world: Novel protein from king cobra as drug discovery." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100308095842.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins