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Special Issue "Scorpion Toxins"

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A special issue of Toxins (ISSN 2072-6651). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Venoms".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2013)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Max Goyffon

Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, FRE 3206, USM 505, 57 rue Cuvier, Paris, France
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jean-Nicolas Tournier

Host-Pathogen Interactions Laboratory, Institut de Recherche Biomédicale des Armées, BP 73, 91223 Brétigny-sur-Orge cedex, France
Bacterial Toxi-Infection Pathogenesis Laboratory, Institut Pasteur, 25 rue du docteur Roux, 75725 Paris cedex 15, France
E-Mail
Phone: +33 145 688 304
Interests: microbial toxins in host pathogen interactions; cell cytoskeleton; toxins and immune system; MAP kinases; adeylate cyclase; toxins and cell signaling; anthrax toxins

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Because of their physiological characteristics, scorpions can be considered laboratory animals in the study of specific problems not only medical (envenomings) but also pharmaco-toxicologic or environmental (resistance to environmental stresses such as radioresistance, or resistance to bacterial infections, epidemiology). Indeed, the scorpion lifetime is long, several years for the larger species, and their breeding is easy. These aspects will be reflected in a series of articles sorted by specialties which provide the widest vision on problems that can be approached using this model. The following topics will shed light on the offered interest research on scorpions:

(i) venoms: in the family Buthidæ, the most important in number (40% species) and the medically most important, the venom  composition is usually simple, poor in enzymes. The venom toxins essentially act on membrane ionic channels of excitable cells (neuromuscular system) and their structure is based on a basic model also present in the defensins. The study of toxins acting on sodium channels have led to the discovery of two specific binding sites and require a study of potassium and sodium membrane receptors as well as a comparative study with defensins.

(ii) these toxins involve also inflammatory systemic reactions of great medical interest: release of cytokins and neuromediators, transient myocardial injury, hypertension.

(iii) from a public health point of view, epidemiology is an important issue, as the large majority of the target  of severe or lethal poisonings is constituted children and young adolescents. There is also an urban scorpionism of an unusual type in venomous animals, as some dangerous scorpion species are parthenogenetic (genus Tityus, South America). Besides, the value of the serotherapy which developed largely after the antiophidian serotherapy is currently challenged and deserves a specific focus. The possibility of producing efficient recombinant antibodies with a high neutralizing power is more advanced for scorpions than other venomous animals.

With its content this Special Issue involving a wide range of specialists is aimed at the wider public.

Prof. Dr. Max Goyffon
Prof. Dr. Jean-Nicolas Tournier
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxins is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • scorpion venoms
  • toxins
  • ionic channels
  • receptors
  • envenomings
  • antivenins
  • defensins

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessEditorial Scorpions: A Presentation
Toxins 2014, 6(7), 2137-2148; doi:10.3390/toxins6072137
Received: 20 December 2013 / Revised: 7 July 2014 / Accepted: 8 July 2014 / Published: 21 July 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (507 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Scorpions, at least the species of the family Buthidæ whose venoms are better known, appear as animals that have evolved very little over time. The composition of their venoms is relatively simple as most toxins have a common structural motif that is found
[...] Read more.
Scorpions, at least the species of the family Buthidæ whose venoms are better known, appear as animals that have evolved very little over time. The composition of their venoms is relatively simple as most toxins have a common structural motif that is found in other venoms from primitive species. Moreover, all the scorpion venom toxins principally act on membrane ionic channels of excitable cells. The results of recent works lead to the conclusion that in scorpions there is a close relationship between venomous function and innate immune function both remarkably efficient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Scorpion Toxins)

Research

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Open AccessArticle Comments on Environmental and Sanitary Aspects of the Scorpionism by Tityus trivittatus in Buenos Aires City, Argentina
Toxins 2014, 6(4), 1434-1452; doi:10.3390/toxins6041434
Received: 20 January 2014 / Revised: 21 March 2014 / Accepted: 3 April 2014 / Published: 22 April 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1216 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Deaths by venomous animals are medical emergencies that can lead to death and thus constitute sanitary problems in some regions of the world. In the South of America, the accidents by these animals are a common sanitary problem especially in warm, tropical or
[...] Read more.
Deaths by venomous animals are medical emergencies that can lead to death and thus constitute sanitary problems in some regions of the world. In the South of America, the accidents by these animals are a common sanitary problem especially in warm, tropical or subtropical regions, related with rural work in several countries. Argentina is located in the extreme South of South America and a minor part of the continental surface is in tropical or subtropical regions, where most of the accidents by venomous animals happen. However, in the big cities in the center and South of the country, with no relation to rural work, scorpionism, mostly due to the synanthropic and facultative parthenogenetic scorpion Tityus trivittatus, has become a sanitary problem in the last few decades. This scorpion is present in the biggest cities of Argentina and in the last decades has killed over 20 children in provinces of the center and north of the country, mostly in big cities. In addition, it seems that this species is growing and spreading in new regions of the cities. In this revision, some characteristics of this scorpion regarding its habitat, spreading in Buenos Aires city, combat measures and available treatments are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Scorpion Toxins)
Open AccessArticle Electrophysiological Characterization of Ts6 and Ts7, K+ Channel Toxins Isolated through an Improved Tityus serrulatus Venom Purification Procedure
Toxins 2014, 6(3), 892-913; doi:10.3390/toxins6030892
Received: 12 December 2013 / Revised: 24 January 2014 / Accepted: 17 February 2014 / Published: 28 February 2014
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (1306 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In Brazil, Tityus serrulatus (Ts) is the species responsible for most of the scorpion related accidents. Among the Ts toxins, the neurotoxins with action on potassium channels (α-KTx) present high interest, due to their effect in the envenoming process and the ion channel
[...] Read more.
In Brazil, Tityus serrulatus (Ts) is the species responsible for most of the scorpion related accidents. Among the Ts toxins, the neurotoxins with action on potassium channels (α-KTx) present high interest, due to their effect in the envenoming process and the ion channel specificity they display. The α-KTx toxins family is the most relevant because its toxins can be used as therapeutic tools for specific target cells. The improved isolation method provided toxins with high resolution, obtaining pure Ts6 and Ts7 in two chromatographic steps. The effects of Ts6 and Ts7 toxins were evaluated in 14 different types of potassium channels using the voltage-clamp technique with two-microelectrodes. Ts6 toxin shows high affinity for Kv1.2, Kv1.3 and Shaker IR, blocking these channels in low concentrations. Moreover, Ts6 blocks the Kv1.3 channel in picomolar concentrations with an IC50 of 0.55 nM and therefore could be of valuable assistance to further designing immunosuppressive therapeutics. Ts7 toxin blocks multiple subtypes channels, showing low selectivity among the channels analyzed. This work also stands out in its attempt to elucidate the residues important for interacting with each channel and, in the near future, to model a desired drug. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Scorpion Toxins)
Open AccessArticle Characterization of a Novel BmαTX47 Toxin Modulating Sodium Channels: The Crucial Role of Expression Vectors in Toxin Pharmacological Activity
Toxins 2014, 6(3), 816-829; doi:10.3390/toxins6030816
Received: 4 December 2013 / Revised: 30 December 2013 / Accepted: 20 January 2014 / Published: 26 February 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1589 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Long-chain scorpion toxins with four disulfide bridges exhibit various pharmacological features towards the different voltage-gated sodium channel subtypes. However, the toxin production still remains a huge challenge. Here, we reported the effects of different expression vectors on the pharmacological properties of a novel
[...] Read more.
Long-chain scorpion toxins with four disulfide bridges exhibit various pharmacological features towards the different voltage-gated sodium channel subtypes. However, the toxin production still remains a huge challenge. Here, we reported the effects of different expression vectors on the pharmacological properties of a novel toxin BmαTX47 from the scorpion Buthus martensii Karsch. The recombinant BmαTX47 was obtained using the expression vector pET-14b and pET-28a, respectively. Pharmacological experiments showed that the recombinant BmαTX47 was a new α-scorpion toxin which could inhibit the fast inactivation of rNav1.2, mNav1.4 and hNav1.5 channels. Importantly, the different expression vectors were found to strongly affect BmαTX47 pharmacological activities while toxins were obtained by the same expression and purification procedures. When 10 µM recombinant BmαTX47 from the pET-28a vector was applied, the values of I5ms/Ipeak for rNav1.2, mNav1.4 and hNav1.5 channels were 44.12% ± 3.17%, 25.40% ± 4.89% and 65.34% ± 3.86%, respectively, which were better than those values of 11.33% ± 1.46%, 15.96% ± 1.87% and 5.24% ± 2.38% for rNav1.2, mNav1.4 and hNav1.5 channels delayed by 10 µM recombinant BmαTX47 from the pET-14b vector. The dose-response experiments further indicated the EC50 values of recombinant BmαTX47 from the pET-28a vector were 7262.9 ± 755.9 nM for rNav1.2 channel and 1005.8 ± 118.6 nM for hNav1.5 channel, respectively. Together, these findings highlighted the important role of expression vectors in scorpion toxin pharmacological properties, which would accelerate the understanding of the structure-function relationships of scorpion toxins and promote the potential application of toxins in the near future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Scorpion Toxins)
Open AccessArticle The Effects of a Chactoid Scorpion Venom and Its Purified Toxins on Rat Blood Pressure and Mast Cells Histamine Release
Toxins 2013, 5(8), 1332-1342; doi:10.3390/toxins5081332
Received: 23 May 2013 / Revised: 25 June 2013 / Accepted: 18 July 2013 / Published: 29 July 2013
PDF Full-text (667 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The effect of the venom of the Chactoid family of scorpions on blood pressure was scantly investigated and was addressed in the present study using the venom of the Israeli scorpion, Scorpio maurus palmatus. Blood pressure in rats was monitored via cannulated
[...] Read more.
The effect of the venom of the Chactoid family of scorpions on blood pressure was scantly investigated and was addressed in the present study using the venom of the Israeli scorpion, Scorpio maurus palmatus. Blood pressure in rats was monitored via cannulated femoral artery, while venom and toxins were introduced into femoral vein. Venom injection elicited a biphasic effect, expressed first by a fast and transient hypotensive response, which lasted up to 10 min, followed by a hypertensive response, which lasted up to one hour. It was found that these effects resulted from different venom components. Phospholipase A2 produced the hypotensive effect, while a non-enzymatic neurotoxic polypeptide fraction produced the hypertensive effect. Surprisingly, the main neurotoxic polypeptide to mice had no effect on blood pressure. In vitro experiments indicated that the hypertensive factors caused histamine release from the peritoneal mast cells, but this effect is assumed to be not relevant to their in vivo effect. In spite of the cytotoxic activity of phospholipase A2, it did not release histamine. These findings suggest that the effects of venom and isolated fractions on blood pressure parameters are mediated by different mechanisms, which deserve further pharmacological investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Scorpion Toxins)

Review

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Open AccessReview Overview of Scorpion Species from China and Their Toxins
Toxins 2014, 6(3), 796-815; doi:10.3390/toxins6030796
Received: 13 December 2013 / Revised: 16 January 2014 / Accepted: 18 January 2014 / Published: 26 February 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (531 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Scorpions are one of the most ancient groups of terrestrial animals. They have maintained a steady morphology over more than 400 million years of evolution. Their venom arsenals for capturing prey and defending against predators may play a critical role in their ancient
[...] Read more.
Scorpions are one of the most ancient groups of terrestrial animals. They have maintained a steady morphology over more than 400 million years of evolution. Their venom arsenals for capturing prey and defending against predators may play a critical role in their ancient and conservative appearance. In the current review, we present the scorpion fauna of China: 53 species covering five families and 12 genera. We also systematically list toxins or genes from Chinese scorpion species, involving eight species covering four families. Furthermore, we review the diverse functions of typical toxins from Chinese scorpion species, involving Na+ channel modulators, K+ channel blockers, antimicrobial peptides and protease inhibitors. Using scorpion species and their toxins from China as an example, we build the bridge between scorpion species and their toxins, which helps us to understand the molecular and functional diversity of scorpion venom arsenal, the dynamic and functional evolution of scorpion toxins, and the potential relationships of scorpion species and their toxins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Scorpion Toxins)

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