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Octopus Venom From An Icy Hell July 28, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Octopus.
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Makes an excellent horror film title, don’t you think?  This guy has venom imagemade extra special by virtue of being able to kill at sub-zero temperatures where this cute little fellow lives—the Antarctic ocean.  His venom (and that of 202 others) has recently been collected by nosey scientists at the Bio21 Institute who plan to study a bunch of properties that might enable this sub-zero activity, like understanding “the structure and mode of action of venom found in all octopuses” which “may help design drugs for conditions like pain management, allergies and cancer.”1

It seems the Aussies are pretty busy in the drugs-from-the-sea research area. Researchers led by David J. Craik of the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland discovered that by linking the N-terminus of α-conotoxin Vc1.1—a compound derived from Conus victoriae—to its C-terminus, they could make the 16-residue peptide orally active.2  This is significant because the other version requires sickeningly intimate administration: a drug pump inserted into the spine.

Yikes.

1   University of Melbourne (2010, July 28). Scientists tap into Antarctic octopus venom. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2010/07/100726094907.htm

2  Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., DOI: 10.1002/anie.201000620

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