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 Cobra Venom

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Snakes Incorporated
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PostSubject: Cobra Venom   Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:13 am

Cobra Venom
"Neurotoxin is the main lethal component of the cobra venom," Takacs said. "It binds to a receptor on the muscle, therefore preventing the nerve impulses to induce muscle contraction, leading to the cessation of breathing, and death."
The target of cobra neurotoxin, called the acetylcholine receptor, appears to play a role in Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, and myasthenia gravis, which debilitates the muscles.
"Snake venoms are extraordinary biological products, with importance in many different fields," said Rick Shine, professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. "Understanding their mechanisms of action can help us to design better drugs—as well as to reduce the immense suffering and mortality from bites to humans."
Venomous snakes come in two main families: vipers, such as rattlesnakes, and cobras, such as kraits, mambas, and sea snakes. During the 1970s scientists discovered that vipers' bloodstreams contain molecules that neutralize the lethal components of their own venom.
Cobras deal with their venom differently from vipers, the scientists suspected. During the 1990s studies were launched to find out why
Snake venoms are complex mixtures of peptides, enzymes, and other toxins that target the nerves, muscles, and blood circulation and coagulation. A key to the research was finding how the toxins reacted with muscle receptors.
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PostSubject: Re: Cobra Venom   Mon Dec 31, 2007 5:45 pm

Thats totally amazing Shaun.

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PostSubject: Re: Cobra Venom   Mon Mar 03, 2008 9:29 pm

great post
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PostSubject: Re: Cobra Venom   Mon Mar 03, 2008 11:41 pm

Remind me again why I don't mess with "hots"!
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PostSubject: Re: Cobra Venom   Mon Mar 03, 2008 11:47 pm

Cobra Venom

Neurotoxin is the main lethal component of the cobra venom,it binds to a receptor on the muscle, therefore preventing the nerve impulses to induce muscle contraction, leading to the cessation of breathing, and death."

The target of cobra neurotoxin, called the acetylcholine receptor, appears to play a role in Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, and myasthenia gravis, which debilitates the muscles.

Snake venoms are extraordinary biological products, with importance in many different fields. Understanding their mechanisms of action can help us to design better drugs—as well as to reduce the immense suffering and mortality from bites to humans.

Venomous snakes come in two main families: vipers, such as rattlesnakes, and cobras, such as kraits, mambas, and sea snakes. During the 1970s scientists discovered that vipers' bloodstreams contain molecules that neutralize the lethal components of their own venom.
Cobras deal with their venom differently from vipers, the scientists suspected. During the 1990s studies were launched to find out why.

Snake venoms are complex mixtures of peptides, enzymes, and other toxins that target the nerves, muscles, and blood circulation and coagulation. A key to the research was finding how the toxins reacted with muscle receptors.


Lock and Key

Takacs cloned a cobra's acetylcholine receptor and compared it to acetylcholine receptors from other vertebrates (animals with spinal columns). At the molecular level this cobra receptor looked the same as those in the rest of the vertebrates—except for a single different amino acid.

Takacs' experiments showed that this single difference introduces a bulky sugar molecule onto the cobra receptor. The sugar masks the so-called binding site on the receptor surface—which prevents the neurotoxin from attaching.

"If the sugar is removed, then the cobra receptor will become sensitive to its own neurotoxin, just as other animals are," Takacs explained.

To prove his theory, Takacs and his colleagues engineered a mouse muscle receptor with a sugar molecule attached—and thus created a mouse receptor that resists cobra neurotoxin.

"Like a keyhole and a key—if you change the keyhole, the key will no longer fit into it," Takacs said. That's the secret to how the cobra avoids its own venom.

"These same venom [and receptor] molecules, once purified, characterized, redesigned, and cloned, can be used in medical research as possible drugs for treating strokes, heart attacks, and metastasis as well," said John C. Perez, a professor at the Natural Toxins Research Center at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

"These venom and receptor molecules all have important biomedical applications, making Takacs's work much more than just studying snake venom," he added

1. Lethal cobra venom is no danger to the cobra

Snakes that produce lethal neurotoxins
- Forest cobra
- Sea krait
- King cobra




The principal components of the cobra venom are neurotoxins. These neurotoxins are very powerful, they can kill a mouse or a human within minutes. They act by binding to a target, a receptor, on the surface of the muscle cell, therefore preventing the communication between the nerve and muscle that results in a paralysis and may easily lead to death. However, the cobras also have this receptor on the surface of their own muscle cells, but still they are completely resistant to their own neurotoxins. Why the cobra is resistant to its own neurotoxin?

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PostSubject: Re: Cobra Venom   Mon Mar 03, 2008 11:49 pm

Great information
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