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Toxicon. 2008 Sep 15;52(4):559-65. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2008.07.002. Epub 2008 Jul 9.

Expression patterns of platypus defensin and related venom genes across a range of tissue types reveal the possibility of broader functions for OvDLPs than previously suspected.

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  • 1Faculty of Veterinary Science, RMC Gunn B19, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.


The platypus, as an egg-laying mammal, displays an unusual mixture of reptilian and mammalian characteristics. It is also venomous, and further investigations into its little-studied venom may lead to the development of novel pharmaceuticals and drug targets and provide insights into the origins of mammalian venom. Here we investigate the expression patterns of antimicrobial genes called defensins, and also the venom peptides called defensin-like peptides (OvDLPs). We show, in the first expression study on any platypus venom gene, that the OvDLPs are expressed in a greater range of tissues than would be expected for genes with specific venom function, and thus that they may have a wider role than previously suspected.

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