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Index > News Blog > News > ScienceDaily: Scorpion Venom: Bad for Bugs, Good for Pesticides

ScienceDaily: Scorpion Venom: Bad for Bugs, Good for Pesticides

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Fables have long cast scorpions as bad-natured killers of hapless turtles that naively agree to ferry them across rivers. Michigan State University scientists, however, see them in a different light.

Ke Dong, MSU insect toxicologist and neurobiologist, studied the effects of scorpion venom with the hopes of finding new ways to protect plants from bugs. The results, which are published in the current issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, have revealed new ways in which the venom works.

Past research identified scorpion toxin's usefulness in the development of insecticides. Its venom attacks various channels and receptors that control their prey's nervous and muscular systems. One major target of scorpion toxins is the voltage-gated sodium channel, a protein found in nerve and muscle cells used for rapid electrical signaling.

"Interestingly, some scorpion toxins selectively affect one type of sodium channels, but not others," Dong said. "The goal of our scorpion toxin project is to understand why certain scorpion toxins act on insect sodium channels, but not their mammalian counterparts."


Article: Journal of Biological Chemistry: Substitutions in the domain III voltage sensing module enhance the sensitivity of an insect sodium channel to a scorpion beta-toxin

A Compsobuthus werneri female with scorplings:

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Last Updated on Thursday, 28 April 2011 08:25