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Among extant reptiles only two lineages are known to have evolved venom delivery systems, the advanced snakes and helodermatid lizards (Gila Monster and Beaded Lizard). Evolution of the venom system is thought to underlie the impressive radiation of the advanced snakes (2,500 of 3,000 snake species). In contrast, the lizard venom system is thought to be(More)
The origin and evolution of venom proteins in helodermatid lizards were investigated by multidisciplinary techniques. Our analyses elucidated novel toxin types resultant from three unique domain-expression processes: 1) The first full-length sequences of lethal toxin isoforms (helofensins) revealed this toxin type to be constructed by an ancestral(More)
The venoms of the inland (Oxyuranus microlepidotus), coastal (O. scutellatus) and Papuan (O. s. canni) taipans are among the most potent in the world. The present study compared the in vitro neurotoxic effects of these venoms and the protective effects of taipan antivenom. Venom (10 microg/ml) from all three snakes abolished nerve-mediated twitches of the(More)
Venomous creatures have been the source of much recent research in the effort to find novel physiological tools and pharmaceuticals. However, due to the technical difficulties with obtaining and storing venom extracts, the venoms of marine animals, particularly fish, remain a largely untapped source of novel compounds. The most potent effects of piscine(More)
The venom of R. oxyrhynchus, a member of the psammophiine subfamily of the colubrid assemblage, was examined for biological activity using biochemical and pharmacological techniques. Venom displayed a high protein content, a complex electrophorectic profile and PLA2 activity but no detectable proteolytic or haematological activities. In the chick biventer(More)
Spider venoms represent an incredible source of biologically active substances which selectively target a variety of vital physiological functions in both insects and mammals. Many toxins isolated from spider venoms have been invaluable in helping to determine the role and diversity of neuronal ion channels and the process of exocytosis. In addition, there(More)
1. Dose-response curves were obtained to bolus injections of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) in Krebs'-perfused hindquarters of male Wistar rats. Vasoconstrictor responses to 5-HT (5.7-363 nmol/kg) were significantly attenuated in hindquarters of alloxan-treated 14 day diabetic rats compared with non-diabetics. 2. Infusion of the thromboxane A2 (TxA2)-mimetic(More)
The evolution of venom in advanced snakes has been a focus of long-standing interest. Here we provide the first complete amino acid sequence of a colubrid toxin, which we have called alpha-colubritoxin, isolated from the Asian ratsnake Coelognathus radiatus (formerly known as Elaphe radiata), an archetypal nonvenomous snake as sold in pet stores. This(More)
Australo-papuan death adders (Acanthophis spp.) are a cause of serious envenomations in Papua New Guinea and northern Australia often resulting in neurotoxic paralysis. Furthermore, victims occasionally present with delayed-onset neurotoxicity that sometimes responds poorly to antivenom or anticholinesterase treatment. This clinical outcome could be(More)
The predatory ecology of Varanus komodoensis (Komodo Dragon) has been a subject of long-standing interest and considerable conjecture. Here, we investigate the roles and potential interplay between cranial mechanics, toxic bacteria, and venom. Our analyses point to the presence of a sophisticated combined-arsenal killing apparatus. We find that the(More)