In a first-of-its-kind study, scientists from Florida Atlantic University's Schmidt College of Medicine in collaboration with FAU's Charles E. Schmidt College of Science and the Chemical Sciences Division, have discovered that the venom from Conus nux can treat malaria.
"Molecular stability, small size, solubility, intravenous delivery, and no immunogenic response make conotoxins excellent blockade-therapy candidates," said Andrew V. Oleinikov, Ph.D., corresponding author and a professor of biomedical science, FAU's Schmidt College of Medicine. "Conotoxins have been vigorously studied for decades as molecular probes and drug leads targeting the central nervous systems. They also should be explored for novel applications aimed to thwart amiss cellular responses or foil host parasite interactions through their binding with endogenous and exogenous proteins. Further investigation is likely to yield breakthroughs in fields continuously toiling for more efficient therapeutic approaches such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, novel emerging viral diseases as well as malaria where venom-based peptidic natural products can be put into practice."
Findings were published in the Journal of Proteomics.
"Among the more than 850 species of cone snails there are hundreds of thousands of diverse venom exopeptides that have been selected throughout several million years of evolution to capture their prey and deter predators," said Frank Marí, Ph.D., corresponding author and senior advisor for biochemical sciences at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. "They do so by targeting several surface proteins present in target excitable cells. This immense biomolecular library of conopeptides can be explored for potential use as therapeutic leads against persistent and emerging diseases affecting non-excitable systems."
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Source: Science Daily