Bungarotoxin

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File:Alpha-Bungarotoxin 1IDI.png
Schematic diagram of the three-dimensional structure of α-bungarotoxin. Disulfide bonds shown in gold. From PDB: 1IDI​.

Bungarotoxin (more accurately α-bungarotoxin) is one of the components of the venom of the elapid snake Taiwanese banded krait (Bungarus multicinctus). It binds irreversibly to the acetylcholine receptor found at the neuromuscular junction, causing paralysis, respiratory failure and death in the victim.

α-bungarotoxin is also a selective antagonist of the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in the brain, and as such has applications in neuroscience research.

In addition to the α-type bungarotoxin, a β-bungarotoxin is fairly common in some snake venom. The target of this neurotoxin is at the pre-synaptic terminal, where it prevents release of acetylcholine by binding to proteins, most commonly actin.

History

Bungarotoxin was discovered by Chuan-Chiung Chang and Chen-Yuan Lee of the National Taiwan University in 1963.[1][2]

References

  1. Chang C (1999). "Looking back on the discovery of alpha-bungarotoxin". J. Biomed. Sci. 6 (6): 368–75. PMID 10545772.
  2. Chu N (2005). "Contribution of a snake venom toxin to myasthenia gravis: the discovery of alpha-bungarotoxin in Taiwan" (PDF). Journal of the history of the neurosciences. 14 (2): 138–48. PMID 16019658.

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