2012 QTHA Seminar Series:David Morgenstern “The Bio-Logic of Venom Complexity”

JCU School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences presents

David Morgenstern "The Bio-Logic of Venom Complexity"
Friday 9th November 2012, James Cook University, Cairns Campus, A3.2,
11.00 - 12.00pm

All welcome. email email/Lisa.Jones1)(jcu.edu.au for links to other sites

The extreme chemical complexity and functional redundancy of animal venoms are biological oddities that have defied explanation. Redundancy is an evolutionary unstable and metabolically expensive phenomenon. Yet, it has survived through hundreds of millions of years of venom evolution, despite its clash with the metabolic frugality that characterizes venom use. Label-free quantitation by mass spectrometry, has shown that the biochemical complexity and toxicity of venom from the lethal Australian funnel-web spider is temporally modulated during a series of successive strikes. Mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) of the venom gland suggests this phenomenon results from spatial variation in toxin storage within the gland. The most toxic peptides are stored in the distal portion of the gland, which leads to their delayed release during a strike. This division is further corroborated by histological analysis which suggests the gland is divided into two compartments. Delayed release of the most potent toxins may be a mechanism for minimizing the risk of resistance development in prey species.

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