Molecular diversity of box jellyfish toxins

Brinkman, Diane L., Mulvenna, Jason, Konstantakopoulos, Nicki, Hodgson, Wayne C., Isbister, Geoffrey K., Seymour, Jamie E., and Burnell, James N. (2012) Molecular diversity of box jellyfish toxins. Toxicon, 60 (2). pp. 148-149.

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Abstract

Box jellyfish (cubozoans) are renowned for their ability to immobilise and kill prey and inflict painful and debilitating stings to humans by injecting potent venoms from their nematocysts. Chironex fleckeri is the largest species of box jellyfish and its venom produces extremely rapid and potentially life-threatening effects. Advances in box jellyfish toxinology using bioactivity-guided purification methods, tandem mass spectrometry and molecular cloning techniques have revealed that C. fleckeri venom contains a diverse array of proteins that is dominated by a family of abundant high molecular weight venom proteins that are cytolytic, cytotoxic and cause profound cardiovascular collapse in experimental animals. Related toxins with similar biological activities are present in other jellyfish species and comparative analysis of available toxin sequences infers that this expanding family of potent cnidarian toxins forms at least two distinct protein clades. Sequence divergence among family members coupled with experimental evidence suggests there are significant structural variations between clades that may alter their function and target specificity. In this context, an overview of this unique family of protein toxins is presented, including a brief history of their discovery and recent progress in their purification and molecular characterisation primarily from a bioinformatic perspective.

Item ID: 23064
Item Type: Article (Abstract)
ISSN: 1879-3150
Keywords: bioinformatics, Cnidaria, Cubozoa, cytolysin, cytotoxin, nematocyst, venom, toxin
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Presented at the 4th International Scientific Symposium on All Things Venomous, August 2012, Honolulu, Hawaii

Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2012 05:48
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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