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Toxicon. 1997 Jun;35(6):821-35.

Toxins and genes isolated from scorpions of the genus Tityus.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Recognition and Structural Biology, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Morelos, Mexico.

Abstract

Scorpion venoms contain a variety of low mol. wt peptides toxic to different organisms. These peptides have been intensively studied because they represent excellent models for investigating structure-function relationships and they are also fine probes for studying ionic channel functions. This review deals with the biological and chemical aspects of toxic peptides that affect Na+ or K+ channels and the cloning of the cDNAs and genes encoding the main alpha and beta neurotoxins present in the venom of the three most dangerous species of Brazilian scorpion, Tityus bahiensis, Tityus stigmurus and Tityus serrulatus, and the Venezuelan scorpion Tityus discrepans. At least 16 different peptides specific for Na+ channels and five affecting K+ channels were isolated and characterized from the venom of these scorpions. The isolation of cDNAs and genes encoding four distinct toxins has permitted the elucidation of their nucleotide sequences as well as their genomic organization. Venoms and isolated toxins from scorpions of the genus Tityus were shown to enhance the secretory activity of the pancreas. Antisera obtained against venom of T. serrulatus show cross-reactivity with other species of the Brazilian scorpions.

PMID:
9241777
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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