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Crude Venom from Nematocysts of the Jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca as a Tool to Study Cell Physiology.

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Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Viale F. Stagno D'Alcontres 31, 98166 Messina, Italy.


Marine animals represent a source of novel bioactive compounds considered as a good research model, whose mechanism of action is intriguing and still under debate. Among stinging animals, Cnidarians differentiated highly specialized cells, termed nematocytes, containing a capsule fluid with toxins and an inverted tubule, synergistically responsible for mechanisms of defence and predation. Such compounds include proteins and secondary metabolites with toxic action. With the aim of better elucidating the effects of Cnidarian venom upon cell targets, this short review reports on the current knowledge about the toxicological activity of venom extracted from nematocysts of the jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca, whose notable blooming is well known in the Strait of Messina (Italy). The effects on cultured cells, from both mammals and invertebrates, and erythrocytes are here being considered. What is known about the biological activity of Pelagia noctiluca crude venom accounts for a powerful biological activity at different levels, suggesting that cell damage may be due to a pore formation mechanism on cell membrane target leading to osmotic lysis, and /or to oxidative stress events. In this light, the study of venom activity may contribute to: i) validate suitable biological assays for venom testing; ii) elucidate cell function features; iii) understand the pathophysiology of envenoming.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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