Document Detail

Australian funnel-web spiders: master insecticide chemists.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15066416     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Arthropods are the most diverse animal group on the planet. Their ability to inhabit a vast array of ecological niches has inevitably brought them into conflict with humans. Although only a small minority are classified as pest species, they nevertheless destroy about a quarter of the world's annual crop production and transmit an impressive array of pathogens of human and veterinary public health importance. Arthropod pests have been controlled almost exclusively with chemical insecticides since the introduction of DDT in the 1940s. However, the evolution of resistance to many insecticides, coupled with increased awareness of the potential environmental and human and animal health impacts of these chemicals, has stimulated the search for new insecticidal compounds, novel molecular targets, and alternative control methods. Spider venoms are complex chemical cocktails that have evolved to kill or paralyze arthropod prey, and they represent a largely untapped reservoir of insecticidal compounds. This review focuses on several families of invertebrate-specific peptide neurotoxins that were isolated from the venom of Australian funnel-web spiders. These peptides are promising insecticide leads because of their selectivity for invertebrates and activity on previously unvalidated targets. These toxins should facilitate the development of novel target-based screens for new insecticide leads, while their mapped pharmacophores will provide templates for rational design of mimetics that act at these target sites. Furthermore, genes encoding these toxins can be used to improve the efficacy of insect-specific viruses.
Hugo W Tedford; Brianna L Sollod; Francesco Maggio; Glenn F King
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Toxicon : official journal of the International Society on Toxinology     Volume:  43     ISSN:  0041-0101     ISO Abbreviation:  Toxicon     Publication Date:  2004 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2004-04-06     Completed Date:  2004-06-21     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  1307333     Medline TA:  Toxicon     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  601-18     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Molecular, Microbial, and Structural Biology, University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT 06032-3305, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Amino Acid Sequence
Evolution, Molecular
Insecticides / chemistry*
Models, Molecular*
Molecular Sequence Data
Neurotoxins / chemistry,  toxicity*
Pest Control
Protein Conformation
Signal Transduction / physiology
Spider Venoms / chemistry*
Spiders / chemistry*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Insecticides; 0/Neurotoxins; 0/Peptides; 0/Spider Venoms

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