Toxin in centipede venom identified

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Toxin in centipede venom identified
A golden head centipede attacks a Kunming mouse. Credit: PNAS

A team of researchers from several institutions in China has identified the toxin in golden head centipede venom. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes how they found the toxin that makes the venom so deadly to prey and also identified a possible antidote for it.

Researchers have known for quite some time that golden head centipedes (aka the Chinese red-headed centipede), which live in Asia and Hawaii are able to subdue prey larger than its own size, in some cases, much larger—testing in a lab showed a centipede was able to take down a mouse, a creature 15 times its size. Until now, it was not known what was in the venom that made it so powerful. In this new effort, the researchers report that they have isolated the in the venom, which they call Ssm Spooky Toxin—the Ssm comes from the scientific name of the centipede, Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans. The team found the toxin by testing the chemicals in the one by one—a laborious process. The toxin works, the team reports, by blocking potassium from moving in and out of cells. Such blockage prevents the brain from signaling the heart to beat, and the animal dies very quickly. Potassium movement is also important for cells in airways, which means the victim of a bite also starts having problems breathing.

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This article and images were originally posted on [] January 23, 2018 at 08:54AM. Credit to Author and | ESIST.T>G>S Recommended Articles Of The Day




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