Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How cone snail venom minimizes pain

Date:
May 14, 2014
Source:
The Rockefeller University Press
Summary:
The venom from marine cone snails, used to immobilize prey, contains numerous peptides called conotoxins, some of which can act as painkillers in mammals. Researchers provide new insight into the mechanisms by which one conotoxin, Vc1.1, inhibits pain.

This schematic shows the proposed mechanism by which the cone snail venom Vc1.1 reduces pain sensation through indirect inhibition of R-type (Cav2.3) neuronal voltage-gated calcium channels.
Credit: Rittenhouse, 2014

The venom from marine cone snails, used to immobilize prey, contains numerous peptides called conotoxins, some of which can act as painkillers in mammals. A recent study in The Journal of General Physiology provides new insight into the mechanisms by which one conotoxin, Vc1.1, inhibits pain. The findings help explain the analgesic powers of this naturally occurring toxin and could eventually lead to the development of synthetic forms of Vc1.1 to treat certain types of neuropathic pain in humans.

Neuropathic pain, a form of chronic pain that occurs in conjunction with injury to -- or dysfunction of -- the nervous system, can be debilitating and difficult to treat, and the medical community is eager to find better methods to minimize what can be a serious condition. Neuropathic pain is associated with changes in the transmission of signals between neurons, a process that depends on several types of voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs). However, given the importance of these VGCCs in mediating normal neurotransmission, using them as a pharmacological target against neuropathic pain could potentially lead to undesirable side effects.

In previous studies, David Adams and colleagues from RMIT University in Melbourne showed that Vc1.1 acted against neuropathic pain in mice; they found that, rather than acting directly to block VGCCs, Vc1.1 acts through GABA type B (GABAB) receptors to inhibit N-type (Cav2.2) channels.

Now, Adams and colleagues show that Vc1.1 also acts through GABAB receptors to inhibit a second, mysterious class of neuronal VGCCs that have been implicated in pain signaling but have not been well understood -- R-type (Cav2.3) channels. Their new findings not only help solve the mystery of Cav2.3 function, but identify them as targets for analgesic conotoxins.


Story Source:

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


Journal References:

  1. G. Berecki, J. R. McArthur, H. Cuny, R. J. Clark, D. J. Adams. Differential Cav2.1 and Cav2.3 channel inhibition by baclofen and -conotoxin Vc1.1 via GABAB receptor activation. The Journal of General Physiology, 2014; 143 (4): 465 DOI: 10.1085/jgp.201311104
  2. A. R. Rittenhouse. Novel coupling is painless. The Journal of General Physiology, 2014; 143 (4): 443 DOI: 10.1085/jgp.201411190

Cite This Page:

The Rockefeller University Press. "How cone snail venom minimizes pain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140514142324.htm>.
The Rockefeller University Press. (2014, May 14). How cone snail venom minimizes pain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140514142324.htm
The Rockefeller University Press. "How cone snail venom minimizes pain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140514142324.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
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