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Animal poisons (zootoxins)

Animal poisons offer the particular animal that produces them a selection advantage due to their warning and defense function. Snake poisons, on the other hand, are aggressive poisons that are primarily used to catch prey. The selection value of the poisons led in the course of evolution to the formation of many active substances, which are very specific and highly effective. Many poisons contain a combination of several active ingredients; Another possibility is protein complementation, in which toxicologically inactive proteins form complexes with toxins and change their properties in a manner that is advantageous for the animal.

Tab. 1
PoisonMechanism of actionProducers
Heart-active toxinsCardiotoxins / cytotoxinsAct on lipids and proteins in the membrane of blood or heart cells.Cobra, scorpions
Digoxin-like toxinsCardiotonic steroids that cause severe irregular heartbeat.Toads
HemotoxinsProtease inhibitorsBlockade of serine proteases, e.g., plasmin, thrombin and kallikrein; leads to anticoagulation or hypotension.Snakes (elapids and vipers), scorpions, leeches (most potent known antithrombin)
Factor X activatorsPremature activation of factor X in blood clotting; leads to anticoagulation.Vipers and Elapids
Protein C activatorsPremature activation of protein C in blood clotting; leads to anticoagulation.Vipers
Prothrombin activatorsPremature activation of prothrombin in blood clotting; leads to anticoagulation.Elapids
DisintegrinsAnticoagulant effect, bind to GPIIb / IIIa receptor on platelets.Vipers, leeches
ProteasesBroad protein-degrading effect, conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin.Pit vipers
PLA2Hemorrhagic effect.snakes
MyotoxinsMyotoxinsSmall proteins that cause muscle cell destruction.Pit vipers
PLA2Destruction of muscle cells.snakes
T1 and T2Induce muscle contractions.Chironex fleckeri (Box jellyfish)
Vasoactive toxinsSarafotoxinsVasoconstricting effect.Earth vipers
Natriuretic peptidesInduce hypotension.Platypus, elapids and pit vipers
CrTX -I, -II, -IIIInduce aggregation of platelets and cause vasoconstriction; also disruption of the uptake / storage of noradrenaline; postsynaptic contractile systems remain unaffected, but at the same time contraction of the smooth muscles by the Ca2+-independent release of prostaglandins.Jellyfish (Carybdea rastoni)
Neurotoxinssee chapter on neurotoxins

Video: Biotoxins in Seafood. This American Land (May 2022).