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Special Issue "Spider Venoms"

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A special issue of Toxins (ISSN 2072-6651).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2010)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Greta J. Binford (Website)

Department of Biology, Lewis & Clark College, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Rd. Portland, Oregon 97214, USA
Fax: +1 503-768-7658
Interests: spider venom chemical diversity; mechanisms of venom evolution; phylogenetic patterns of venom diversity
Guest Editor
Dr. Pierre Escoubas

VenomeTech, Valbonne, France

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Spider venoms are a treasure trove of chemical and pharmacological diversity. Over 41,000 described species of spiders have evolved from a common ancestor that lived at least 350 million years ago. Since that time, spider venoms have been evolving as predatory tools in the context of diversifying tactics of prey capture. The end products are thus extraordinarily refined cocktails comprising hundreds of toxins endowed with exquisite selectivity and affinity. As the size of these vast biochemical stores may be up to forty million components, they represent a truly phenomenal potential for discovery. Yet venoms of only a few scattered twigs on the spider family tree have been analyzed and less than 1500 toxins described. Even fewer have been well characterized but nevertheless show immense promise as drug leads for pathologies ranging from pain to erectile dysfunction. Modern methods for proteome and transcriptome analyses are exponentially increasing the pace of discovery. As we begin to explore divergent spider lineages we are improving understanding of patterns of toxin diversity and the evolutionary processes that have generated it, which will help guide exploration for novel pharmacology. For this special issue we invite contributions from spider venom researchers with foci on a broad range of spider toxin issues, and from an equally broad range of research approaches.

Prof. Dr. Greta J. Binford
Dr. Pierre Escoubas
Guest Editors

Keywords

  • Araneae
  • venom
  • phylogeny
  • peptides
  • proteins
  • bioactivity
  • pharmacology
  • drug development
  • neurotoxin

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Effects of Spider Venom Toxin PWTX-I (6-Hydroxytrypargine) on the Central Nervous System of Rats
Toxins 2011, 3(2), 142-162; doi:10.3390/toxins3020142
Received: 18 January 2011 / Revised: 1 February 2011 / Accepted: 12 February 2011 / Published: 22 February 2011
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (842 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The 6-hydroxytrypargine (6-HT) is an alkaloidal toxin of the group of tetrahydro-b-carbolines (THbC) isolated from the venom of the colonial spider Parawixia bistriata. These alkaloids are reversible inhibitors of the monoamine-oxidase enzyme (MAO), with hallucinogenic, tremorigenic and anxiolytic properties. The toxin [...] Read more.
The 6-hydroxytrypargine (6-HT) is an alkaloidal toxin of the group of tetrahydro-b-carbolines (THbC) isolated from the venom of the colonial spider Parawixia bistriata. These alkaloids are reversible inhibitors of the monoamine-oxidase enzyme (MAO), with hallucinogenic, tremorigenic and anxiolytic properties. The toxin 6-HT was the first THbC chemically reported in the venom of spiders; however, it was not functionally well characterized up to now. The action of 6-HT was investigated by intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) and intravenous (i.v.) applications of the toxin in adult male Wistar rats, followed by the monitoring of the expression of fos-protein, combined with the use of double labeling immunehistochemistry protocols for the detection of some nervous receptors and enzymes related to the metabolism of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system (CNS). We also investigated the epileptiform activity in presence of this toxin. The assays were carried out in normal hippocampal neurons and also in a model of chronic epilepsy obtained by the use of neurons incubated in free-magnesium artificial cerebro-spinal fluid (ACSF). Trypargine, a well known THbC toxin, was used as standard compound for comparative purposes. Fos-immunoreactive cells (fos-ir) were observed in hypothalamic and thalamic areas, while the double-labeling identified nervous receptors of the sub-types rGlu2/3 and NMR1, and orexinergic neurons. The 6-HT was administrated by perfusion and ejection in “brain slices” of hippocampus, inducing epileptic activity after its administration; the toxin was not able to block the epileptogenic crisis observed in the chronic model of the epilepsy, suggesting that 6-HT did not block the overactive GluRs responsible for this epileptic activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spider Venoms)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Brown Spider (Loxosceles genus) Venom Toxins: Tools for Biological Purposes
Toxins 2011, 3(3), 309-344; doi:10.3390/toxins3030309
Received: 21 December 2010 / Revised: 26 February 2011 / Accepted: 17 March 2011 / Published: 22 March 2011
Cited by 32 | PDF Full-text (398 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Venomous animals use their venoms as tools for defense or predation. These venoms are complex mixtures, mainly enriched of proteic toxins or peptides with several, and different, biological activities. In general, spider venom is rich in biologically active molecules that are useful [...] Read more.
Venomous animals use their venoms as tools for defense or predation. These venoms are complex mixtures, mainly enriched of proteic toxins or peptides with several, and different, biological activities. In general, spider venom is rich in biologically active molecules that are useful in experimental protocols for pharmacology, biochemistry, cell biology and immunology, as well as putative tools for biotechnology and industries. Spider venoms have recently garnered much attention from several research groups worldwide. Brown spider (Loxosceles genus) venom is enriched in low molecular mass proteins (5–40 kDa). Although their venom is produced in minute volumes (a few microliters), and contain only tens of micrograms of protein, the use of techniques based on molecular biology and proteomic analysis has afforded rational projects in the area and permitted the discovery and identification of a great number of novel toxins. The brown spider phospholipase-D family is undoubtedly the most investigated and characterized, although other important toxins, such as low molecular mass insecticidal peptides, metalloproteases and hyaluronidases have also been identified and featured in literature. The molecular pathways of the action of these toxins have been reported and brought new insights in the field of biotechnology. Herein, we shall see how recent reports describing discoveries in the area of brown spider venom have expanded biotechnological uses of molecules identified in these venoms, with special emphasis on the construction of a cDNA library for venom glands, transcriptome analysis, proteomic projects, recombinant expression of different proteic toxins, and finally structural descriptions based on crystallography of toxins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spider Venoms)
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