July 9, 2009

Analysis shows scorpion venom composition

A Chinese team of scientists has identified the protein composition of venom from the Scorpiops jendeki scorpion.

Wuhan University researchers said their findings -- from the first venom analysis of the arachnid -- uncovered nine novel poison molecules never before seen in a scorpion species.

The scientists led by Yibao Ma of the university's Laboratory of Virology studied the sting of S. jendeki, a member of the family Euscorpiidae, which covers Europe, Asia, Africa and North America.

Our work greatly expands the current knowledge of scorpion venoms, said Ma. We found 10 known types and nine novel venom peptides and proteins. These molecules provide a rich, hitherto-unexplored resource for drug development, as well as clues into the evolution of the scorpion venom arsenal.

The study that included Ruiming Zhao, Yawen He, Songryong Li, Jun Liu, Yingliang Wu, Zhijian Cao and Wenxin Li appears in the journal BMC Genomics.