Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists tap into Antarctic octopus venom

Date:
July 28, 2010
Source:
University of Melbourne
Summary:
Researchers have collected venom from octopuses in Antarctica for the first time, significantly advancing our understanding of the properties of venom as a potential resource for drug development. They also revealed the existence of four new species of octopus.

Antarctic octopus
Credit: Australian Antarctic Division

Researchers have collected venom from octopuses in Antarctica for the first time, significantly advancing our understanding of the properties of venom as a potential resource for drug development.

The study, conducted by an international team of researchers from the University of Melbourne, the Norwegian University of Technology and Science and the University of Hamburg, provides the first insight into the properties of Antarctic octopus venom. It has also revealed the existence of four new species of octopus.

Venom has long been recognised as a potentially valuable resource for drug development. However, scientists have only recently discovered the largely untapped resource cephalopods such as octopuses, cuttlefish and squid, possess in their unique venom properties -- especially the species that live in sub-zero temperatures.

Team Leader, Dr Bryan Fry from the Bio21 Institute says it was a mystery how venomous animals have adapted their venom to have an effect even in sub-zero temperatures, where most venoms would normally lose their function.

"This is the first study that has collected Antarctic octopus venom and confirmed that these creatures have adapted it to work in sub zero temperatures -- the next step is to work out what biochemical tricks they have used," he says.

Dr Fry says the venom analysis revealed that Antarctic octopus venom harbours a range of toxins, two of which had not previously been described.

"We have discovered new small proteins in the venom with very intriguing activities -- these are potentially useful in drug design, but more will be revealed as the study continues," he says.

The study follows from Dr Fry's revelation last year that all octopuses are venomous. The team of scientists then embarked on a huge task to collect and study completely novel venoms to gain a greater understanding of how they work.

"An understanding of the structure and mode of action of venom found in all octopuses may help design drugs for conditions like pain management, allergies and cancer."

Through funding from the Australian Antarctic Division, the team collected 203 octopuses from Antarctic waters. They then genetically profiled each specimen to identify the species and collected venom to analyse in the lab.

"Not only do Antarctic octopuses have the most unique venoms out there, but there is a lot more species than we originally thought."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Melbourne. "Scientists tap into Antarctic octopus venom." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100726094907.htm>.
University of Melbourne. (2010, July 28). Scientists tap into Antarctic octopus venom. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100726094907.htm
University of Melbourne. "Scientists tap into Antarctic octopus venom." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100726094907.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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