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Novel insecticidal neurotoxins from Australian spider venoms

Project Member(s): Nicholson, G.

Funding or Partner Organisation: Australian Research Council (ARC Discovery Projects)
Australian Research Council (ARC - Other Funds)

Start year: 2003

Summary: Insecticidal toxins have considerable potential as novel biopesticides to combat the evolution of widespread insect resistance to classical chemical pesticides. This problem is increasing both in Australia and internationally. This study aims to isolate and pharmacologically characterise potent and selective insecticidal neurotoxins from Australian arachnids. Our laboratories will isolate neurotoxins from spider venoms, determine their selectivity in insect and mammal bioassays, determine their primary and tertiary structures, and investigate their structure-function relationships by electrophysiological techniques. These functional and structural data will allow the future engineering, by molecular or synthetic procedures, of viral biopesticide analogues with increased potency, stability and selectivity.''


Nicholson, GM, Graudins, A, Wilson, HI, Little, MJ & Broady, KW 2006, 'Arachnid toxinology in Australia: clinical toxicology to potential applications', Toxicon, vol. 48, no. 7, pp. 872-898.
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Nicholson, GM, Little, MJ & Birinyi-Strachan, LC 2004, 'Structure and function of delta-atracotoxins: lethal neurotoxins targeting the voltage-gates sodium channel', Toxicon, vol. 43, no. 5, pp. 587-599.
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Alewood, D, Birinyi-Strachan, LC, Pallaghy, PK, Norton, RS, Nicholson, GM & Alewood, PF 2003, 'Synthesis and characterization of delta-atracotoxin-ar1a, the lethal neurotoxin from venom of the Sydney funnel-web spider (Atrax robustus)', Biochemistry, vol. 42, no. 44, pp. 12933-12940.
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Gunning, SJ, Chong, Y, Khalife, A, Hains, PG, Broady, KW & Nicholson, GM 2003, 'Isolation of delta-missulenatoxin-Mb1a, the major vertebrate-active spider delta-toxin from the venom of Missulena bradleyi (Actinopodidae)', Febs Letters, vol. 554, no. 1-2, pp. 211-218.
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Nicholson, GM & Graudins, A 2003, 'Antivenoms for treatment of spider envenomation', Journal of Toxicology, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 35-59.
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Keywords: Toxins Insecticide Ion channels Protein structure Spider Venom

FOR Codes: Pharmacology not elsewhere classified, Neurosciences not elsewhere classified, Protein Targeting and Signal Transduction, Biological sciences, Health and support services not elsewhere classified, Field crops not elsewhere classified, Pharmacogenomics, Protein Trafficking