Spider Venom Peptides

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Handbook of Biologically Active Peptides, 2006, pp. 369 - 379
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Spider venom peptides and protein toxins are recognized as highly potent and specific molecular tools that modulate neurotransmission via interaction with a variety of ion channels, receptors, and transporters in vertebrates and invertebrates. Spiders have, during their evolution, developed a complex preoptimized combinatorial peptide library of enzymes, neurotoxins, and antimicrobial and cytolytic peptides in their venom glands. The role of spider venom is to paralyze and/or kill prey or predators as rapidly as possible. Therefore, their venoms are particularly rich in neurotoxins that rapidly modify ion conductance (ion channel toxins) and to a lesser extent affect neurotransmitter exocytosis (presynaptic toxins) and interfere with the binding of neurotransmitters (postsynaptic toxins). Many of these peptides are selectively insecticidal or modulate the activity of various targets in vertebrates, including humans. In particular, insect-selective atracotoxins are now being investigated for their possible use as bioinsecticidal agents for the control of phytophagous pests or insect vectors of new or reemerging disease. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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