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Sample records for african scorpion androctonus

  1. Deep intraspecific divergences in the medically relevant fat-tailed scorpions (Androctonus, Scorpiones).

    PubMed

    Coelho, P; Sousa, P; Harris, D J; van der Meijden, A

    2014-06-01

    The genus Androctonus, commonly known as fat-tailed scorpions, contains 22 species distributed from Togo and Mauritania in the west, North Africa, through the Middle East and to as far east as India. With 13 species, a substantial amount of this genus' diversity occurs in North Africa, which is a major hotspot of scorpion sting incidents. Androctonus are among the most medically relevant animals in North Africa. Since venom composition within species is known to vary regionally, the improvement of therapeutic management depends on a correct assessment of the existing regional specific and sub-specific variation. In this study, we assessed the phylogeographical patterns in six species of Androctonus scorpions from North Africa using mitochondrial DNA markers. We sequenced COX1, 12S, 16S and ND1 genes from 110 individuals. Despite lacking basal resolution in the tree, we found taxonomical and geographically coherent clades. We discovered deep intraspecific variation in the widespread Androctonus amoreuxi and Androctonus australis, which consisted of several well-supported clades. Genetic distances between some of these clades are as high as those found between species. North African A. australis have a deep split in Tunisia around the Chott el-Djerid salt-lake. A novel split between A. amoreuxi scorpions was found in Morocco. We also found deep divergences in Androctonus mauritanicus, corresponding to areas attributed to invalidated subspecies. In addition we uncovered a clade of specimens from coastal south Morocco, which could not be ascribed to any know species using morphological characters. Based on these findings we recommend a reassessment of venom potency and anti-venom efficacy between these deep intraspecific divergent clades.

  2. Antimicrobial/cytolytic peptides from the venom of the North African scorpion, Androctonus amoreuxi: biochemical and functional characterization of natural peptides and a single site-substituted analog.

    PubMed

    Almaaytah, Ammar; Zhou, Mei; Wang, Lei; Chen, Tianbao; Walker, Brian; Shaw, Chris

    2012-06-01

    The venoms of scorpions are complex cocktails of polypeptide toxins that fall into two structural categories: those that contain cysteinyl residues with associated disulfide bridges and those that do not. As the majority of lethal toxins acting upon ion channels fall into the first category, most research has been focused there. Here we report the identification and structural characterization of two novel 18-mer antimicrobial peptides from the venom of the North African scorpion, Androctonus amoreuxi. Named AamAP1 and AamAP2, both peptides are C-terminally amidated and differ in primary structure at just two sites: Leu-->Pro at position 2 and Phe-->Ile at position 17. Synthetic replicates of both peptides exhibited a broad-spectrum of antimicrobial activity against a Gram-positive bacterium (Staphylococcus aureus), a Gram-negative bacterium (Escherichia coli) and a yeast (Candida albicans), at concentrations ranging between 20 μM and 150 μM. In this concentration range, both peptides produced significant degrees of hemolysis. A synthetic replicate of AamAP1 containing a single substitution (His-->Lys) at position 8, generated a peptide (AamAP-S1) with enhanced antimicrobial potency (3-5 μM) against the three test organisms and within this concentration range, hemolytic effects were negligible. In addition, this His-->Lys variant exhibited potent growth inhibitory activity (ID(50) 25-40 μm) against several human cancer cell lines and endothelial cells that was absent in both natural peptides. Natural bioactive peptide libraries, such as those that occur in scorpion venoms, thus constitute a unique source of novel lead compounds with drug development potential whose biological properties can be readily manipulated by simple synthetic chemical means.

  3. [Scorpion envenomation in Morocco: scorpions of the genus Androctonus, Buthus and Hottentota].

    PubMed

    Aboumaâd, B; Iba, N; Dersi, N

    2014-02-01

    Around the world and especially in summer, the scorpion envenomation is a real public health problem. In Morocco, its gravity is due to the diversity of genera of the Buthidae family whose their venom is potentially lethal, mainly the genus Androctonus, Buthus and Hottentota. The areas most affected by this problematic are the central and southern of Morocco. The lethality of scorpion's venom primarily affects children. It is rich in neurotoxic polypeptides that have targeted ion channel membrane Na(+), K(+) activated or not by Ca(++). The toxins polymorphism causes pathophysiological disorders. The diversity of symptomatic treatment in the absence of immunotherapy is due to variability in clinical pictures, which depends on the species involved and the patient at risk. The objective of this review is to highlight the magnitude of the scorpion envenomation by describing its epidemiological characteristics, elucidate the pathophysiological effects of the venom of the most dangerous scorpions in Morocco the genus Androctonus, Buthus and Hottentota, and their therapeutic treatment.

  4. Amino acid sequence of neurotoxin III of the scorpion Androctonus austrialis Hector.

    PubMed

    Kopeyan, C; Martinez, G; Rochat, H

    1979-03-01

    The amino acid sequence of neurotoxin III, purified from the venom of the North African scorpion Androctonus australis Hector, has been determined by Edman degradation using a liquid-phase sequencer. Carboxypeptidase A hydrolyses confirmed not only the sequence of the five last residues but also the presence of a free alpha-carboxylic group at the C-terminus. Edman degradation was conducted on one hand with the Quadrol [N,N,N',N'-tetrakis(2-hydroxypropyl)ethylene diamine] program and S-alkylated protein before or after coupling with sulfophenylisothiocynate (the first 34 residues were thus identified), on the other hand on tryptic and chymotryptic peptides with a dimethylbenzylamine program (residues 1--23 and 31--34 were confirmed, the positions of residues 35-64 were established). Neurotoxin III was found to belong to the same group of scorpion toxins active on mammals as neurotoxin I purified from the same venom (50 homologous positions exist in the two proteins).

  5. Structure-function relationships in scorpion neurotoxins. Identification of the supperreactive lysine residue in toxin I of Androctonus australis Hector.

    PubMed

    Sampieri, F; Habersetzer-Rochat, C

    1978-07-21

    In a previous article (Habersetzer-Rochat, C. and Sampieri, R. (1976) Biochemistry 15, 2254--2261) it was demonstrated that the toxin I of the North African Scorpion Androctonus australis Hector was inactivated after reaction with iodoacetate; the toxicity loss in mice was correlated with the carboxymethylation of one superreactive residue. In the present work, alkylation of toxin I was performed with iodo[14C]-acetate. Hence, it was possible, after reduction, S-methylation and chymotryptic hydrolysis of this toxin, to isolate the peptide containing the labelled lysine residue. By automatic Edman degradation, this residue was identified as being the penultimate lysine at position 56 in the primary sequence. Comparison of three primary structures of scorpion neurotoxins and comparison in different kinds of activity seem to indicate that this lysine residue is mainly important for toxicity in mice.

  6. Pathophysiological and neurobehavioral injuries in mice experimentally envenomed with Androctonus liouvillei (Pallary, 1928) scorpion venom.

    PubMed

    El Hidan, Moulay Abdelmonaim; Touloun, Oulaid; El Hiba, Omar; Boumezzough, Ali

    2016-01-01

    The genus Androctonus is represented by 7 scorpion species in Morocco. All studies conducted on the characterization of Androctonus species venom are limited to Androctonus mauritanicus. However, there is other species which arouses also interest of scientists due to their high toxicity. Thus, we chose to assess the toxic effect of Androctonus liouvillei venom by sublethal injection and the effects on some vital organs, by a histological and a biochemical tools. In addition, we aimed to characterize the neurobehavioral impairments, in Swiss mice, 3h, 6h and 12h following envenomation. The LD50 of A. liouvillei scorpion venom was found to be 0.29mg/kg by subcutaneous injection route. Venom administration induced glomerular destruction and disorganization in the Bowman's spac. Examination of lungs showed a remarkable focal rupture of the alveolar structure and intra-alveolar hemorrhage. Concurrently, there was a significant enhancement in the serum enzymes levels of AST, ALT, CPK and LDH, and a high level of glucose and creatinine. Proteinuria was also observed. Regarding the behavioral effects we noted a hypoactivity and anxiogenic-like effect, manifested by an increased time spent in the open arms in groups tested 30min and 12h after the injection. Concomitantly with an increased immobility time in the tail suspension test. The present finding show an obvious profound neuromodulatory effect of A. liouvillei venom manifested by an impaired neurobehavioral and physiological patterns in mice that may in part explain the toxic effect of the venom in human as one of the potent death agents.

  7. The roles of some scorpions, Hemiscorpius lepturus and Androctonus crassicauda, in a scorpionism focus in Ramhormorz, southwestern Iran.

    PubMed

    Mohseni, Alireza; Vazirianzadeh, Babak; Hossienzadeh, Mohsen; Salehcheh, Maryam; Moradi, Azra; Moravvej, Seyed Abbas

    2013-01-01

    Scorpion stings are a common and important health problem in Iran, particularly in south and southwestern Iran, including the province of Khuzestan. In the area of Khuzestan near the city of Ramhormoz, Hemiscorpius lepturus (Scorpionida: Hemiscorpioiidae) and Androctonus crassicauda (Buthidae) are present. Ramhormoz is in southwestern Iran and is one of the most important foci of the scorpion sting problem. The current study was carried out to gain both epidemiological and medical information about scorpion stings in and around the city of Ramhormoz. In total, 179 people who were admitted to the Emergency Department of Ramhormoz Imam Khomeini Hospital during 2008 and 2009 after being stung by scorpions were monitored. Epidemiological and medical parameters including sex of the victim; the part of the body stung; the month when stung; the biochemical parameters comprising blood sugar (BS), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and creatinine (CR); hematological parameters including white blood cells (WBC), count blood cells (CBC), red blood cells (RBC), hemoglobin (Hb), hematocrit (HCT), platelet (PLT); and urine analysis including hemoglobinuria were recorded. The current study showed that most of the victims were stung by H. lepturus, while very few were stung by A. crassicaud, but in over half of the cases the species was not known. Stings were most common from May to Aguust. 73% of the victims were female. The limbs were the part of the body most likely to be stung. Hemogobinuria was very common in H. lepturus victims.

  8. Clinical comparison of scorpion envenomation by Androctonus mauritanicus and Buthus occitanus in children.

    PubMed

    Aboumaâd, Bouchra; Lahssaini, Mohammed; Tiger, Abdelaziz; Benhassain, Sidi Mohammed

    2014-11-01

    The clinical results of scorpion stings by Androctonus mauritanicus (Am) and Buthus occitanus (Bo) (main sources of scorpionism in Morocco) were evaluated in this work. The objective was to compare the clinical manifestations of envenoming from these species by investigating possible correlations among symptoms/signs and laboratory abnormalities of envenomed patients. 41 children (25 males, 18 months - 11 years) were admitted at the Provincial Hospital of El Jadida-Morocco. Their minor (18 children) or severe (23 children) systemic signs such as pallor (48.8%), pulmonary edema (APE) (36.6%), convulsion (26.8%), coma (7.3%) were more frequent in children envenomed by Am than Bo, but angioedema (Quincke's edema) (4.9%) was particularly developed in the latter group. The laboratory blood abnormalities (hyperglycemia, high levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), creatinine, bilirubin, leukocytes, neutrophils, monocytes, platelets and low levels of lymphocytes and hemoglobin) were significantly higher (p < 0.05) in patients envenomed by Am than Bo, and in all population in comparison to control group. The correlation among these biological analyzes and clinical status showed that higher levels of LDH and value of leukocytes ≥19 × 10(3)/mm(3) were indices of cardiac dysfunction with APE. Pallor sign was correlated with a state of shock and/or low level of hemoglobin, associated or not to bilirubin increase. Fatalities (7.3%), presenting toxic myocarditis, had lowest count of lymphocytes (≤4.2%) in comparison to survivors. This is the first report on lymphopenia which may be useful for forecast the fatal outcome in scorpion envenomation.

  9. Effect of Androctonus bicolor scorpion venom on serum electrolytes in rats: A 24-h time-course study.

    PubMed

    Al-Asmari, A; Khan, H A; Manthiri, R A

    2016-03-01

    Black fat-tailed scorpion (Androctonus bicolor) belongs to the family Buthidae and is one of the most venomous scorpions in the world. The effects of A. bicolor venom on serum electrolytes were not known and therefore investigated in this study. Adult male Wistar rats were randomly divided into seven groups with five animals in each group. One of the groups served as control and received vehicle only. The animals in the remaining groups received a single subcutaneous injection of crude A. bicolor venom (200 μg/kg bodyweight) and were killed at different time intervals including 30 min, 1 h, 2 h, 4 h, 8 h, and 24 h after venom injection. The results showed that scorpion venom caused significant increase in serum sodium levels within 30 min after injection which slightly subsided after 1 h and then persisted over 24 h. Serum potassium levels continued to significantly increase until 4 h and then slightly subsided. There were significant decreases in serum magnesium (Mg(+)) levels following scorpion venom injection, at all the time points during the course of study. Serum calcium levels were significantly increased during the entire course of study, whereas serum chloride was significantly decreased. In conclusion, A. bicolor envenomation in rats caused severe and persistent hypomagnesemia with accompanied hypernatremia, hyperkalemia, and hypercalcemia. It is important to measure serum Mg(+) levels in victims of scorpion envenomation, and patients with severe Mg(+) deficiency should be treated accordingly.

  10. Characterization of Am IT, an anti-insect β-toxin isolated from the venom of scorpion Androctonus mauretanicus.

    PubMed

    Oukkache, Naoual; ElJaoudi, Rachid; Chgoury, Fatima; Rocha, Marisa Teixeira; Sabatier, Jean-Marc

    2015-06-25

    In the present study, a 'novel' toxin, called Am IT from the venom of scorpion Androctonus mauretanicus is isolated and characterized. A detailed analysis of the action of Am IT on insect axonal sodium currents is reported. Am IT was purified through gel filtration followed by C18 reversed-phase HPLC. Toxicity of Am IT in vivo was assessed on male German cockroach (Blattella germanica) larvae and C57/BL6 mice. Cross-reactivity of Am IT with two β-toxins was evidenced using (125)I-iodinated toxin-based radioimmunoassays with synaptosomal preparations from rat brain. The complete amino acid sequence of Am IT was finally determined by Edman sequencing. Am IT was observed to compete with AaH IT4 purified from the venom of scorpion Androctonus australis in binding assays. It was recognized by an antibody raised against a β-type toxin, which indicated some structural similarity with β-toxins (or related toxin family). The 'novel' toxin exhibited dual activity since it competed with anti-mammal toxins in binding assays as well as showed contracting activity to insect. The toxin competed with radio-labeled β-toxin Css IV by binding to Na(+) channels of rat brain synaptosomes. Analysis of toxin amino acid sequences showed that Am IT shares high structural identity (92%) with AaH IT4. In conclusion, Am IT not only reveals an anti-insect compound properties secreted by 'Old World' scorpions, paralyzing insect larvae by binding to Na(+) channels on larvae's nerve-cell membranes, but also exerts toxic activity in mice, which is similar to anti-mammal toxins from 'New World' scorpions (North and South Americas). Therefore, Am IT appears to be structurally and functionally similar to AaH IT4.

  11. Purification and cDNA cloning of a novel neurotoxic peptide (Acra3) from the scorpion Androctonus crassicauda.

    PubMed

    Caliskan, Figen; García, Blanca I; Coronas, Fredy I V; Restano-Cassulini, Rita; Korkmaz, Ferhan; Sahin, Yalcin; Corzo, Gerardo; Possani, Lourival D

    2012-09-01

    Androctonus crassicauda is one of the Southeastern Anatolian scorpions of Turkey with ethno-medical and toxicological importance. Two toxic peptides (Acra1 and Acra2) were isolated and characterized from the venom of this scorpion. In this communication, the isolation of an additional toxin (Acra3) by chromatographic separations (HPLC and TSK-gel sulfopropyl) and its chemical and functional characterization is reported. Acra3 is a 7620Da molecular weight peptide, with 66 amino acid residues crosslinked by four disulfide bridges. The gene coding for this peptide was cloned and sequenced. Acra3 is anticipated to undergo post-translational modifications at the C-terminal region, having an amidated serine as last residue. Injection of Acra3 induces severe neurotoxic events in mice, such as: excitability and convulsions, leading to the death of the animals within a few minutes after injection. Electrophysiological assays conducted with pure Acra3, using cells that specifically expressed sodium channels (Nav1.1-Nav1.6) showed no clear effect. The exact molecular target of Acra3 remained undiscovered, similar to three other scorpion peptides that clustered very closely in the phylogenetic tree included here. The exact target of these four peptides is not very clear.

  12. Scorpion (Androctonus bicolor) venom exhibits cytotoxicity and induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in breast and colorectal cancer cell lines

    PubMed Central

    Al-Asmari, Abdulrahman K.; Riyasdeen, Anvarbatcha; Abbasmanthiri, Rajamohamed; Arshaduddin, Mohammed; Al-Harthi, Fahad Ali

    2016-01-01

    Objectives: The defective apoptosis is believed to play a major role in the survival and proliferation of neoplastic cells. Hence, the induction of apoptosis in cancer cells is one of the targets for cancer treatment. Researchers are considering scorpion venom as a potent natural source for cancer treatment because it contains many bioactive compounds. The main objective of the current study is to evaluate the anticancer property of Androctonus bicolor scorpion venom on cancer cells. Materials and Methods: Scorpions were milked by electrical stimulation of telsons and lyophilized. The breast (MDA-MB-231) and colorectal (HCT-8) cancer cells were maintained in appropriate condition. The venom cytotoxicity was assessed by 3-(4,5-di-methylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide assay, and the cellular and nuclear changes were studied with propidium iodide and 4’,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole stain, respectively. The cell cycle arrest was examined using muse cell analyzer. Results: The A. bicolor venom exerted cytotoxic effects on MDA-MB-231 and HCT-8 cells in a dose- and duration-dependent manner and induced apoptotic cell death. The treatment with this venom arrests the cancer cells in G0/G1 phase of cell cycle. Conclusions: The venom selectively induces the rate of apoptosis in MDA-MB-231 and HCT-8 cells as reflected by morphological and cell cycle studies. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first scientific evidence demonstrating the induction of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest by A. bicolor scorpion venom. PMID:27721540

  13. First chemical synthesis of a scorpion alpha-toxin affecting sodium channels: the Aah I toxin of Androctonus australis hector.

    PubMed

    M'Barek, Sarrah; Fajloun, Ziad; Cestèle, Sandrine; Devaux, Christiane; Mansuelle, Pascal; Mosbah, Amor; Jouirou, Besma; Mantegazza, Massimo; Van Rietschoten, Jurphaas; El Ayeb, Mohamed; Rochat, Hervé; Sabatier, Jean-Marc; Sampieri, François

    2004-11-01

    Aah I is a 63-residue alpha-toxin isolated from the venom of the Buthidae scorpion Androctonus australis hector, which is considered to be the most dangerous species. We report here the first chemical synthesis of Aah I by the solid-phase method, using a Fmoc strategy. The synthetic toxin I (sAah I) was renatured in DMSO-Tris buffer, purified and subjected to thorough analysis and comparison with the natural toxin. The sAah I showed physico-chemical (CD spectrum, molecular mass, HPLC elution), biochemical (amino-acid composition, sequence), immunochemical and pharmacological properties similar to those of the natural toxin. The synthetic toxin was recognized by a conformation-dependent monoclonal anti-Aah I antibody, with an IC50 value close to that for the natural toxin. Following intracerebroventricular injection, the synthetic and the natural toxins were similarly lethal to mice. In voltage-clamp experiments, Na(v) 1.2 sodium channel inactivation was inhibited by the application of sAah I or of the natural toxin in a similar way. This work describes a simple protocol for the chemical synthesis of a scorpion alpha-toxin, making it possible to produce structural analogues in time.

  14. Mitochondrial 16S rDNA analysis of Tunisian androctonus species (Scorpions, Buthidae): phylogenetic approach.

    PubMed

    Ben Othmen, A; Said, K; Ben Alp, Z; Chatti, N; Ready, P D

    2006-01-01

    Tunisian Androctonus species, for long time discussed, were recognized on the basis of mitochondrial 16S rDNA sequences. Although the analysed nucleotide sequence is rather short (about 300 bp), the obtained phlogenetic trees revealed that A. amoreuxi and A. aeneas form two well-supported sister clades against A. australis haplotypes. Each specimen of the very rare species A. aeneas showed a specific haplotype, but together formed a well-defined clade. Some A. amoreuxi specimens highlighted unidirectional mitochondrial introgression from neighbouring A. australis population. Within A. australis, previously described, subspecies subdivision (A. a .hector and A. a. garzonii) was not supported.

  15. Anti-proliferative Effects of Androctonus amoreuxi Scorpion and Cerastes cerastes Snake Venoms on Human Prostate Cancer Cells

    PubMed Central

    Akef, Hassan; Kotb, Nahla; Abo-Elmatty, Dina; Salem, Sayed

    2017-01-01

    The present study evaluated the effects of Androctonus amoreuxi scorpion venom, Cerastes cerastes snake venom and their mixture on prostate cancer cells (PC3). An MTT assay was used to determine the anti-proliferative effect of the venoms, while quantitative real time PCR was used to evaluate the expression of apoptosis-related genes (Bax and Bcl-2). Furthermore, colorimetric assays were used to measure the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and antioxidant enzymes. Our results show that the venoms significantly reduced PC3 cell viability in a dose-dependent manner. On the other hand, these venoms significantly decreased Bcl-2 gene expression. Additionally, C. cerastes venom significantly reduced Bax gene expression, while A. amoreuxi venom and a mixture of A. amoreuxi & C. cerastes venoms did not alter Bax expression. Consequently, these venoms significantly increased the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio and the oxidative stress biomarker MDA. Furthermore, these venoms also increased the activity levels of the antioxidant enzymes, catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, and glutathione-S-transferase. Overall, the venoms have cytotoxic and anti-proliferative effects on PC3 cells. PMID:28382285

  16. Fast K(+) currents from cerebellum granular cells are completely blocked by a peptide purified from Androctonus australis Garzoni scorpion venom.

    PubMed

    Pisciotta, M; Coronas, F I; Bloch, C; Prestipino, G; Possani, L D

    2000-09-29

    A novel peptide was purified from the venom of the scorpion Androctonus australis Garzoni (abbreviated Aa1, corresponding to the systematic number alpha KTX4.4). It contains 37 amino acid residues, has a molecular mass of 3850 Da, is closely packed by three disulfide bridges and a blocked N-terminal amino acid. This peptide selectively affects the K(+) currents recorded from cerebellum granular cells. Only the fast activating and inactivating current, with a kinetics similar to I(A)-type current, is completely blocked by the addition of low micromolar concentrations (K(i) value of 150 nM) of peptide Aa1 to the external side of the cell preparation. The blockade is partially reversible in our experimental conditions. Aa1 blocks the channels in both the open and the closed states. The blockage is test potential independent and is not affected by changes in the holding potential. The kinetics of the current are not affected by the addition of Aa1 to the preparation; it means that the block is a simple 'plugging mechanism', in which a single toxin molecule finds a specific receptor site in the external vestibule of the K(+) channel and thereby occludes the outer entry to the K(+) conducting pore.

  17. Characterization of Amm VIII from Androctonus mauretanicus mauretanicus: a new scorpion toxin that discriminates between neuronal and skeletal sodium channels.

    PubMed Central

    Alami, Meriem; Vacher, Hélène; Bosmans, Frank; Devaux, Christiane; Rosso, Jean-Pierre; Bougis, Pierre E; Tytgat, Jan; Darbon, Hervé; Martin-Eauclaire, Marie-France

    2003-01-01

    The venom of the scorpion Androctonus mauretanicus mauretanicus was screened by use of a specific serum directed against AaH II, the scorpion alpha-toxin of reference, with the aim of identifying new analogues. This led to the isolation of Amm VIII (7382.57 Da), which gave a highly positive response in ELISA, but was totally devoid of toxicity when injected subcutaneously into mice. In voltage-clamp experiments with rat brain type II Na+ channel rNa(v)1.2 or rat skeletal muscle Na+ channel rNa(v)1.4, expressed in Xenopus oocytes, the EC50 values of the toxin-induced slowing of inactivation were: 29+/-5 and 416+/-14 nM respectively for AmmVIII and 2.6+/-0.3 nM and 2.2+/-0.2 nM, respectively, for AaH II interactions. Accordingly, Amm VIII clearly discriminates neuronal versus muscular Na+ channel. The Amm VIII cDNA was amplified from a venom gland cDNA library and its oligonucleotide sequence determined. It shows 87% sequence homology with AaH II, but carries an unusual extension at its C-terminal end, consisting of an additional Asp due to a point mutation in the cDNA penultimate codon. We hypothesized that this extra amino acid residue could induce steric hindrance and dramatically reduce recognition of the target by Amm VIII. We constructed a model of Amm VIII based on the X-ray structure of AaH II to clarify this point. Molecular modelling showed that this C-terminal extension does not lead to an overall conformational change in Amm VIII, but drastically modifies the charge repartition and, consequently, the electrostatic dipole moment of the molecule. At last, liquid-phase radioimmunassays with poly- and monoclonal anti-(AaH II) antibodies showed the loss of conformational epitopes between AaH II and Amm VIII. PMID:12911331

  18. Precursors of Androctonus australis Scorpion Neurotoxins. Structures of Precursors, Processing Outcomes, and Expression of a Functional Recombinant Toxin II

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1989-05-24

    as well as others lethal to either insects or crustaceans (5,6). During the last 30 years, numerous works have focused on the purification and...DISCUSSION The range of Androctonus australis is North Africa. The venoms of animals collected in Chellala ( Algeria ) and Tozeur (Tunisia) have been

  19. An in vitro comparative study upon the toxic properties of the venoms from Hemiscorpius lepturus, Androctonus crassicauda and Mesobuthus eupeus scorpions.

    PubMed

    Khodadadi, Ali; Pipelzadeh, Mohammad Hassan; Vazirianzadeh, Babak; Pipelzadeh, Mahsa; Sharifat, Mossa

    2012-09-01

    The aim of the present study was to compare the toxic effects of the venoms from Hemiscorpius lepturus (H. lepturus), Androctonus crassicauda (A. crassicauda) and Mesobuthus eupeus (M. eupeus). For this purpose, three in vitro models were employed to compare the toxic effects of various concentrations of the venoms from these three scorpions, namely: hemolytic potential using human RBCs, phospholipase activity using Saubouraud's dextrose agar (SDA) supplemented with 2% egg yolk and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) enzyme releasing effect using K562 leukemia cell line. In addition, the neutralizing effectiveness of the antivenom against these toxic properties was assessed. The results showed that, unlike the venoms from A. crassicauda and M. eupeus, the venom from H. lepturus produced dose-dependent lysis of human RBCs and showed phospholipase activity. However, all the tested venoms showed variable degrees of LDH releasing properties. The venom from H. lepturus had highest and the venom from M. eupeus had the lowest LDH releasing effect. The antivenom effectively inhibited all the tested toxicities. In conclusion, these results suggest that the venoms from the studied scorpions have variable toxic properties, which may explain the underlying reason for the differences in their clinical manifestations. In addition, the antivenom was effective in neutralizing all the tested toxic effects.

  20. AaeAP1 and AaeAP2: novel antimicrobial peptides from the venom of the scorpion, Androctonus aeneas: structural characterisation, molecular cloning of biosynthetic precursor-encoding cDNAs and engineering of analogues with enhanced antimicrobial and anticancer activities.

    PubMed

    Du, Qiang; Hou, Xiaojuan; Wang, Lei; Zhang, Yingqi; Xi, Xinping; Wang, Hui; Zhou, Mei; Duan, Jinao; Wei, Minjie; Chen, Tianbao; Shaw, Chris

    2015-01-23

    The main functions of the abundant polypeptide toxins present in scorpion venoms are the debilitation of arthropod prey or defence against predators. These effects are achieved mainly through the blocking of an array of ion channel types within the membranes of excitable cells. However, while these ion channel-blocking toxins are tightly-folded by multiple disulphide bridges between cysteine residues, there are additional groups of peptides in the venoms that are devoid of cysteine residues. These non-disulphide bridged peptides are the subject of much research interest, and among these are peptides that exhibit antimicrobial activity. Here, we describe two novel non-disulphide-bridged antimicrobial peptides that are present in the venom of the North African scorpion, Androctonus aeneas. The cDNAs encoding the biosynthetic precursors of both peptides were cloned from a venom-derived cDNA library using 3'- and 5'-RACE strategies. Both translated precursors contained open-reading frames of 74 amino acid residues, each encoding one copy of a putative novel nonadecapeptide, whose primary structures were FLFSLIPSVIAGLVSAIRN and FLFSLIPSAIAGLVSAIRN, respectively. Both peptides were C-terminally amidated. Synthetic versions of each natural peptide displayed broad-spectrum antimicrobial activities, but were devoid of antiproliferative activity against human cancer cell lines. However, synthetic analogues of each peptide, engineered for enhanced cationicity and amphipathicity, exhibited increases in antimicrobial potency and acquired antiproliferative activity against a range of human cancer cell lines. These data clearly illustrate the potential that natural peptide templates provide towards the design of synthetic analogues for therapeutic exploitation.

  1. Scorpions

    MedlinePlus

    ... this page: //medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002850.htm Scorpions To use the sharing features on this page, ... JavaScript. This article describes the effects of a scorpion sting. This article for information only. DO NOT ...

  2. Two-dimensional sup 1 H nuclear magnetic resonance study of AaH IT, an anti-insect toxin from the scorpion Androctonus australis Hector. Sequential resonance assignments and folding of the polypeptide chain

    SciTech Connect

    Darbon, H. ); Weber, C.; Braun, W. )

    1991-02-19

    Sequence-specific nuclear magnetic resonance assignments for the polypeptide backbone and for most of the amino acid side-chain protons, as well as the general folding of AaH IT, are described. AaH IT is a neurotoxin purified from the venom of the scorpion Androctonus australis Hector and is specifically active on the insect nervous system. The secondary structure and the hydrogen-bonding patterns in the regular secondary structure elements are deduced from nuclear Overhauser effects and the sequence locations of the slowly exchanging amide protons. The backbone folding is determined by distance geometry calculations with the DISMAN program. The regular secondary structure includes two and a half turns of {alpha}-helix running from residues 21 to 30 and a three-stranded antiparallel {beta}-sheet including peptides 3-5, 34-38, and 41-46. Two tight turns are present, one connecting the end of the {alpha}-helix to an external strand of the {beta}-sheet, i.e., turn 31-34, and another connecting this same strand to the central one, i.e., turn 38-41. The differences in the specificity of these related proteins, which are able to discriminate between mammalian and insect voltage-dependent sodium channels of excitable tissues, are most probably brought about by the position of the C-terminal peptide with regard to a hydrophobic surface common to all scorpion toxins examined thus far. Thus, the interaction of a given scorpion toxin with its receptor might well be governed by the presence of this solvent-exposed hydrophobic surface, whereas adjacent areas modulate the specificity of the interaction.

  3. Taxonomical and geographical occurrence of Libyans scorpions.

    PubMed

    Zourgui, L; Maammar, M; Emetris, R

    2008-01-01

    Nine different species of scorpions can be recognized from more than 5000 samples collected from different areas in Libya: Leiurus quinquestriatus, Androctonus bicolor, Androctonus australis, Androctonus amoreuxi, Buthacus leptochelys, Buthus occitanus, Buthacus arenicola, Orthochirus innesi and Scorpio maurus. The geographical occurrence showed that Leiurus quinquestriatus seems to be restricted to the Southern areas. On the contrary, Buthus occitanus was found in the costal regions. Other species such as Androctonus were widely spread in all regions. Buthacus Leptochelys, Orthochirus innesi and Scorpio maurus were found, in the East (Aujlah, Jalu), the South (Wadi-Atbah) and the Western cost of Libya respectively.

  4. Elemental analysis of scorpion venoms

    PubMed Central

    Al-Asmari, AbdulRahman K; Kunnathodi, Faisal; Al Saadon, Khalid; Idris, Mohammed M

    2016-01-01

    Scorpion venom is a rich source of biomolecules, which can perturb physiological activity of the host on envenomation and may also have a therapeutic potential. Scorpion venoms produced by the columnar cells of venom gland are complex mixture of mucopolysaccharides, neurotoxic peptides and other components. This study was aimed at cataloguing the elemental composition of venoms obtained from medically important scorpions found in the Arabian peninsula. The global elemental composition of the crude venom obtained from Androctonus bicolor, Androctonus crassicauda and Leiurus quinquestriatus scorpions were estimated using ICP-MS analyzer. The study catalogued several chemical elements present in the scorpion venom using ICP-MS total quant analysis and quantitation of nine elements exclusively using appropriate standards. Fifteen chemical elements including sodium, potassium and calcium were found abundantly in the scorpion venom at PPM concentrations. Thirty six chemical elements of different mass ranges were detected in the venom at PPB level. Quantitative analysis of the venoms revealed copper to be the most abundant element in Androctonus sp. venom but at lower level in Leiurus quinquestriatus venom; whereas zinc and manganese was found at higher levels in Leiurus sp. venom but at lower level in Androctonus sp. venom. These data and the concentrations of other different elements present in the various venoms are likely to increase our understanding of the mechanisms of venom activity and their pharmacological potentials. PMID:27826410

  5. Wolbachia are present in southern african scorpions and cluster with supergroup F.

    PubMed

    Baldo, Laura; Prendini, Lorenzo; Corthals, Angelique; Werren, John H

    2007-11-01

    The presence and distribution of the intracellular bacteria Wolbachia in the arthropod subphylum Chelicerata (including class Arachnida) has not been extensively explored. Here we report the discovery of Wolbachia in scorpions. Five strains found in host species of the genus Opistophthalmus (Southern African burrowing scorpions) have been characterized by Multilocus Sequence Typing and by Wolbachia Surface Protein. Phylogenetic analyses indicate clustering in the supergroup F and a high genetic relatedness among all scorpion strains as a result of a potential transmission within the host genus. The F-group is an uncommon lineage compared to the A and B supergroups, although it is present in a broad range of hosts (including insects, filarial nematodes, and now arachnids) and across a large geographical area (e.g., North America, Africa, Europe, and Australia). It also shows no evidence of recombination and has a significantly higher genetic diversity than supergroup A and B. Overall, this pattern suggests an older radiation of F-strains with respect to A and B-strains, followed by limited horizontal transmission across host genera and reduced genetic flux among strains. A more extensive sampling of supergroup F-strains is required to confirm this scenario.

  6. [Dangerous scorpions from Niger].

    PubMed

    Goyffon, M; Guette, C

    2005-11-01

    Two dangerous scorpion species are responsible for the severe human envenomations in Niger, Leiurus quinquestriatus (H. et E.), the most abundant, and Androctonus aeneas C.L. Koch, less frequent and described in a Sahel country for the first time. Up to now, A. aeneas was known in North Africa only. Its venom is highly toxic for humans, similar to those of the most dangerous species living in Africa, such as L. quinquestriatus and other species belonging to the genus Androctonus, A. australis (L.) and A. mauretanicus (Poc.), for the envenoming treatment of which specific antivenoms are prepared. Taking into account the absence of a specific antivenom for A. aeneas, the paraspecific neutralising effect of these antivenoms should be tested.

  7. Introducing Compsobuthus matthiesseni (Birula, 1905) scorpion as one of the major stinging scorpions in Khuzestan, Iran.

    PubMed

    Dehghani, Ruhollah; Djadid, Navid Dinparast; Shahbazzadeh, Dellavar; Bigdelli, Shahlla

    2009-09-01

    Khuzestan province has the highest rate of scorpion sting in Iran. This is a study to identify these scorpions in Khuzestan. In this study 418 scorpions were kept in the ethyl alcohol 70%, each being studied by stereomicroscopy and diagnosis key separately. 120 (28.7%) Androctonus crassicauda, 104 (24.9%) Hemiscorpius lepturus, 91 (21.7%) Mesobuthus eupeus, 86 (20.65%) Compsobuthus matthiesseni, 14 (3.35%) Hottentotta saulcyi, 2 (0.5%) Orthochirus scrobiculosus and 1 (0.25%) Hottentotta schach were identified. H. lepturus is in the Hemiscorpiidae family and the rest are in Buthidae. C. matthiesseni is the most frequent and O. scrobiculosus is the least frequent newly identified scorpion. This study adds two new sting scorpions to the previous list of 8 identified scorpions in Iran.

  8. Scorpion Stings

    MedlinePlus

    Scorpion sting Overview By Mayo Clinic Staff Scorpion stings are painful but rarely life-threatening. Young children, and sometimes ... to be fatal. But with millions of scorpion stings occurring each year, often in areas with a ...

  9. Classification of Na channel receptors specific for various scorpion toxins.

    PubMed

    Wheeler, K P; Watt, D D; Lazdunski, M

    1983-04-01

    1. The specific binding to rat brain synaptosomes of a radiolabelled derivative of toxin II from the scorpion Centruroides suffusus suffusus could be prevented by toxins III and IV, but not by toxin V or variants 1-3, from the venom of Centruroides sculpturatus. 2. The specific binding of a similar derivative of toxin II from Androctonus australis Hector was not affected by any of the toxins from Centruroides sculpturatus. 3. There is biochemical evidence for only two distinct classes of Na channel receptors specific for known scorpion toxins.

  10. [Use of medicinal plants against scorpionic and ophidian venoms].

    PubMed

    Memmi, A; Sansa, G; Rjeibi, I; El Ayeb, M; Srairi-Abid, N; Bellasfer, Z; Fekhih, A

    2007-01-01

    The scorpionic and ophidian envenomations are a serious public health problem in Tunisia especially in Southeastern regions. In these regions Artemisia campestris L is a plant well known which has a very important place in traditional medicine for its effectiveness against alleged venom of scorpions and snakes. In this work, we tested for the first time, the anti-venomous activity of Artemisia campestris L against the scorpion Androctonus australis garzonii and the viper Macrovipera lebetina venoms. Assays were conducted by fixing the dose of extract to3 mg/mouse while doses of venom are variable. The leaves of Artemisia campestris L were extracted by various organic solvents (Ether of oil, ethyl acetate, methanol and ethanol) and each extract was tested for its venom neutralizing capacity. For the ethanolic extract, a significant activity with respect to the venoms of scorpion Androctonus australis garzonii (Aag), was detected. Similarly, a significant neutralizing activity against the venom of a viper Macrovipera lebetina (Ml), was obtained with the dichloromethane extract. These results suggest the presence of two different type of chemical components in this plant: those neutralizing the venom of scorpion are soluble in ethanol whereas those neutralizing the venom of viper are soluble in dichloromethane.

  11. Scorpion sting in Iran: a review.

    PubMed

    Dehghani, Rouhullah; Fathi, Behrooz

    2012-10-01

    Among Middle Eastern countries, at least 52 species of scorpions, especially dangerous types, have been reported in Iran. This is more than any other country in the region. In addition, in Iran the recorded scorpion stings from 2001 to 2009 were more than 42,500 per year, of which, approximately 19.5 deaths have been reported each year, mostly in spring and summer. About 10 species are responsible for the reported envenoming which belong to the Buthidae family apart from Hemiscorpius lepturus which is a Hemiscorpiidae. The Buthidae family includes: Androctonus crassicauda, Mesobuthus eupeus, Odontobuthus doriae, Hottentotta saulcyi, Hottentotta schach, Compsobuthus matthiesseni, Orthochirus scrobiculosus, Apistobuthus pterygocercus and Olivierus caucasicus. A. crassicauda and H. lepturus are usually cited as the most dangerous species among Iranian scorpions. This article focuses on the main Iranian scorpions and their geographical distribution, especially those which are medically important and considered to be the more dangerous to human, and also attempts to demonstrate an accurate magnitude of scorpion stings in Iran.

  12. Androctonus australis hector venom contributes to the interaction between neuropeptides and mast cells in pulmonary hyperresponsiveness.

    PubMed

    Chaïr-Yousfi, Imène; Laraba-Djebari, Fatima; Hammoudi-Triki, Djelila

    2015-03-01

    Lung injury and respiratory distress syndrome are frequent symptoms observed in the most severe cases of scorpion envenomation. The uncontrolled transmigration of leukocyte cells into the lung interstitium and alveolar space and pulmonary edema may be the cause of death. Mast cells can release various inflammatory mediators known to be involved in the development of lung edema following scorpion venom injection. The present study was designed to determine the evidence of neurokinin 1 (NK1) receptor and the involvement of mast cell activation to induce pulmonary edema and to increase vascular permeability after Androctonus australis hector (Aah) venom administration. To this end, mast cells were depleted using compound 48/80 (C48/80). Furthermore, the involvement of tachykinin NK1 receptors expressed on mast cell membranes was elucidated by their blocking with an antagonist. On the other hand, the ability of Aah venom to increase vascular permeability and to induce edema was also assessed by measuring the amount of Evans blue dye (EBD) extravasation in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and in the lungs of mice. Pulmonary edema, as assessed by the levels of EBD extravasation, was completely inhibited in compound 48/80-treated animals. Depletion by stimuli non-immunological C48/80 component markedly reduced induced inflammatory response following the venom administration. The mast cells seem to play an important role in the development of lung injury and the increase of vascular permeability in mice following the subcutaneous administration of Aah scorpion venom through the NK1 receptor.

  13. Study on Distribution of Scorpions to Provide Prevention and Interventions in Combating Scorpionism in Poldokhtar County, Lorestan Province, Iran

    PubMed Central

    Hassan, Rastgar

    2016-01-01

    Introduction Scorpions are arthropods of medical importance classified in the class Arachnida, inhabiting hot and dry environments. All scorpions have a venomous sting and several thousand people die each year from scorpion stings, but this mortality is due to the venom of about 25 species located in northern Africa, the Middle East, India, Mexico and parts of South America. Poldokhtar County belongs to one of the southern cities of Lorestan Province, providing suitable habitats for many different species of scorpions due to its specific climatic conditions. Aim To examine the fauna of scorpion and its distribution in the Poldokhtar County and to provide appropriate preventive and medical interventions in combating scorpionism. Materials and Methods This present study was a descriptive and analytical cross-sectional study. This study was conducted from April 2014 to November 2014 in regions of Poldokhtar County, Lorestan Province, and west of Iran. Cluster sampling methodology was employed in the sampling and scorpion collection procedure. Sampling was undertaken for an eight-month period, in villages and districts, namely, Myankuhe sharqi, Jayedar, Jelogir and Malavi within the county. The Chi-square test and the Fisher-exact test for homogeneity of proportions were used to compare quantitative variables. Results Totally, 393 specimens were captured entailing 193 (49.1%) males and 200 (50.9%) females. There were at least seven species of scorpions belonging to three families; BU= Buthidae, HE = Hemiscorpiidae, SCN = Scorpionidae in Poldokhtar. Out of 393 collected scorpions, seven species, Androctonus crassicauda, Hottentotta (Buthotus) saulcyi, Compsobuthus matthiesseni, Compsobuthus rugosulus, Orthochirus scrobiculosus, Scorpio maurus and Hemiscorpius lepturus were identified. The overall sex ratio of females to males was 1:1.03. Conclusion It is crucial to improve the knowledge of residents in this region regarding preventive methods towards scorpion stinging

  14. A first exploration of the venom of the Buthus occitanus scorpion found in southern France

    PubMed Central

    Martin-Eauclaire, Marie-France; Bosmans, Frank; Céard, Brigitte; Diochot, Sylvie; Bougis, Pierre E.

    2014-01-01

    Even though Buthus occitanus scorpions are found throughout the Mediterranean region, a lack of distinctive characteristics has hampered their classification into different subspecies. Yet, stings from this particular scorpion family are reported each year to result in pain followed by various toxic symptoms. In order to determine the toxicity origin of the rare French Buthus occitanus Amoreux scorpion, we collected several specimens and studied their venom composition using a nano ultra high performance liquid chromatography and matrix assisted laser desorption/ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry (nano UHPLC/MALDI-TOF-MS) automated workflow combined with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) approach. Moreover, we compared this dataset to that obtained from highly lethal Androctonus australis and Androctonus mauretanicus scorpions collected in North Africa. As a result, we found that the Buthus occitanus Amoreux venom is toxic to mice, an observation that is most likely caused by venom components that inhibit voltage-gated sodium channel inactivation. Moreover, we identified similarities in venom composition between Buthus occitanus scorpions living in the South of France and other Buthidae collected in Morocco and Algeria. As such, the results of this study should be taken into consideration when treating stings from the Buthus occitanus species living in the South of France. PMID:24418174

  15. A first exploration of the venom of the Buthus occitanus scorpion found in southern France.

    PubMed

    Martin-Eauclaire, Marie-France; Bosmans, Frank; Céard, Brigitte; Diochot, Sylvie; Bougis, Pierre E

    2014-03-01

    Even though Buthus occitanus scorpions are found throughout the Mediterranean region, a lack of distinctive characteristics has hampered their classification into different subspecies. Yet, stings from this particular scorpion family are reported each year to result in pain followed by various toxic symptoms. In order to determine the toxicity origin of the rare French B. occitanus Amoreux scorpion, we collected several specimens and studied their venom composition using a nano ultra high performance liquid chromatography and matrix assisted laser desorption/ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry (nano UHPLC/MALDI-TOF-MS) automated workflow combined with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) approach. Moreover, we compared this dataset to that obtained from highly lethal Androctonus australis and Androctonus mauretanicus scorpions collected in North Africa. As a result, we found that the B. occitanus Amoreux venom is toxic to mice, an observation that is most likely caused by venom components that inhibit voltage-gated sodium channel inactivation. Moreover, we identified similarities in venom composition between B. occitanus scorpions living in the South of France and other Buthidae collected in Morocco and Algeria. As such, the results of this study should be taken into consideration when treating stings from the B. occitanus species living in the South of France.

  16. Scorpions and scorpionism in Iran's central desert.

    PubMed

    Nejati, Jalil; Saghafipour, Abedin; Mozaffari, Ehsan; Keyhani, Amir; Jesri, Nahid

    2017-02-01

    Venomous scorpions have extreme importance in field of medicine and public health. This descriptive - analytic study was done to identify scorpion fauna, their ecological aspects as well as scorpionism for risk management and prevention of this health problem in Iran's central desert. Four urban and fifteen rural areas with various climates and topography locations were selected for monthly scorpion collection through a randomly cluster sampling in 2013. The clinical data was obtained from questionnaires provided in 2009-2014. Totally, 1481 scorpion sting cases were recorded. The majority were treated less than 6h after the sting. Statistical tests showed significant difference between season, scorpion's color, living place of patients and scorpionism cases. Plain areas had the most occurrence of scorpionism followed by foothills. Moreover, 311 scorpion samples belonged to 7 species of Buthidae were collected. Mesobuthus eupeus was the dominant species in both rural and urban areas. Most of the collected samples were from indoors, yards and around the houses. The most scorpion activity was recorded in the summer. The studied areas had rich scorpion fauna due to various climates and topography locations. Scorpion stings can be important and fatal in this area, particularly in the plain regions with semi-desert climate. An investigation for assessment of peoples' awareness on prevention methods of scorpionism and also the determination and the assessment of effective factors on reducing the elapsed time between scorpion stings and receiving medical care are here recommended.

  17. Polypyrazolylborates: Scorpionates

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Trofimenko, Swiatoslaw

    2005-01-01

    Scorpionate-type ligands and the original polypyrazolylborates are easy to synthesize, have good stability, and are quite user-friendly. Their thallium(I) salts are readily soluble in organic solvents that permits their use in organic media, or in two-phase aquo-organic solvent mixtures.

  18. Faunistic Study and Biodiversity of Scorpions in Qeshm Island (Persian Gulf)

    PubMed Central

    Zarei, A; Rafinejad, J; Shemshad, K; Khaghani, R

    2009-01-01

    Background Scorpions are known as the most widespread poisonous creatures that cause casualties and death to human. They are distributed in tropical and subtropical areas. Among the sixteen Iranian Island in the Persian Gulf, Qeshm Island is the biggest and is located in the focus of the important internal and international commercial marinelines. Furthermore, thousands of tourists also visit the Island every year for its natural beauties and the siteseeings. The present research study was carried out during 1998–99 throughout Qeshm Island in order to know the species of scorpions, their abundance, the distribution and control strategy in order to reduce the scorpion stings and to safeguard the visitors as well as the local population. Methods: Collections were made randomly during the night. Samples were searched by black light and then collected by forceps. A total of 102 scorpions were captured. Results: The scorpions were identified as Buthotus jayakari numbered 42 specimens (41.17%) and B. leptochelys numbering only 7 specimens (6.86%) belonging to the family Buthidae. Androctonus crassicauda was collected in the most parts of the Island and considered as the dominant species. The sex ratio was 1:1.53 in favor of females. B. leptochelys was rare species and by far restricted in its distribution. Conclusion: Considering the high population of A. crassicauda and its wide distribution, it is regarded to be responsible for the majority of scorpion stings in Qeshm Island. PMID:22808372

  19. Two types of scorpion receptor sites, one related to the activation, the other to the inactivation of the action potential sodium channel.

    PubMed

    Couraud, F; Jover, E; Dubois, J M; Rochat, H

    1982-01-01

    The action of the neurotoxin in Buthinae scorpion venoms (Androctonus, Buthus or Leiurus genera) has been extensively studied. These proteins induce a prolongation of the action potential of nerves and muscles by slowing down inactivation of the sodium channel. Their affinity for their receptor site depends on membrane potential. In the present report we describe a toxin from a Centrurinae scorpion, Centruroides suffusus, which binds rat brain synaptosomes at a receptor site distinct from the Buthinae scorpion site independently of voltage. We name Androctonus-like toxins, alpha-scorpion toxins (alpha-ScTX), and Centruroides-like toxins, beta-scorpion toxins (beta-ScTX). We further report that beta-ScTX induces repetitive firing in frog myelinated nerve fibres by producing an abnormal sodium permeability. The beta-toxin binds specifically to rat brain synaptosomes (Kd = 3 nM) and induces an inhibition of the uptake and a stimulation of the release of GABA at concentrations which are in good agreement with the Kd value. These effects are blocked by tetrodotoxin. The binding site of beta -ScTX is distinct from those of other neurotoxins acting on the sodium channel like tetrodotoxin, alpha-ScTX and veratridine. The alpha-ScTX/beta-ScTX binding site capacities decreases as development of rat brain synaptosomes progresses ; at day 7 after birth, it is 1.1. and at day 39, 0.3.

  20. Scorpion toxins from Centruroides noxius and Tityus serrulatus. Primary structures and sequence comparison by metric analysis.

    PubMed Central

    Possani, L D; Martin, B M; Svendsen, I; Rode, G S; Erickson, B W

    1985-01-01

    The complete primary structures of toxin II-14 from the Mexican scorpion Centruroides noxius Hoffmann and toxin gamma from the Brazilian scorpion Tityus serrulatus Lutz and Mello have been determined. Cleavage of toxin gamma after Met-6 with CNBr produced the 55-residue peptide 7-61, which maintained the four disulphide bonds but was not toxic to mice at a dose 3 times the lethal dose of native toxin gamma. Pairwise comparison by metric analysis of segment 1-50 of toxin gamma and the corresponding segments from two other South American scorpion toxins, five North American scorpion toxins, nine North African scorpion toxins and one Central Asian scorpion toxin showed that the three Brazilian toxins are intermediate between the North American and North African toxins. This result is consistent with the hypothesis that the South American and African continents were joined by a land connection in the distant past. Images Fig. 1. PMID:4052021

  1. Emergent management of scorpion sting.

    PubMed

    Kluz-Zawadzka, Jolanta; Hartman-Ksycińska, Anna; Lewandowski, Bogumił

    2014-01-01

    Scorpionism (syndrome of scorpion stings) is an important public health problem in many regions of the world, not only in tropics and subtropics. As scorpions may be unintentionally transported to any place in the world and keeping scorpions as pets is becoming more popular, scorpion stings occur also in Poland. Therefore, health professionals should have the knowledge on the management of scorpion stings. This article discusses a case who was stung by scorpion and proposes an algorithm of management with such patients.

  2. Insects and Scorpions

    MedlinePlus

    ... Topics Publications and Products Programs Contact NIOSH NIOSH INSECTS AND SCORPIONS Recommend on Facebook Tweet Share Compartir Stinging or biting insects or scorpions can be hazardous to outdoor workers. ...

  3. Scorpion fish sting

    MedlinePlus

    ... this page: //medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002849.htm Scorpion fish sting To use the sharing features on this page, please enable JavaScript. Scorpion fish are members of the family Scorpaenidae, which ...

  4. Erosion resistance of bionic functional surfaces inspired from desert scorpions.

    PubMed

    Zhiwu, Han; Junqiu, Zhang; Chao, Ge; Li, Wen; Ren, Luquan

    2012-02-07

    In this paper, a bionic method is presented to improve the erosion resistance of machine components. Desert scorpion (Androctonus australis) is a typical animal living in sandy deserts, and may face erosive action of blowing sand at a high speed. Based on the idea of bionics and biologic experimental techniques, the mechanisms of the sand erosion resistance of desert scorpion were investigated. Results showed that the desert scorpions used special microtextures such as bumps and grooves to construct the functional surfaces to achieve the erosion resistance. In order to understand the erosion resistance mechanisms of such functional surfaces, the combination of computational and experimental research were carried out in this paper. The Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) method was applied to predict the erosion performance of the bionic functional surfaces. The result demonstrated that the microtextured surfaces exhibited better erosion resistance than the smooth surfaces. The further erosion tests indicated that the groove surfaces exhibited better erosion performance at 30° injection angle. In order to determine the effect of the groove dimensions on the erosion resistance, regression analysis of orthogonal multinomials was also performed under a certain erosion condition, and the regression equation between the erosion rate and groove distance, width, and height was established.

  5. Toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic analyses of Androctonus australis hector venom in rats: Optimization of antivenom therapy

    SciTech Connect

    Hammoudi-Triki, D.; Lefort, J.; Rougeot, C.; Robbe-Vincent, A.; Bon, C.; Laraba-Djebari, F.; Choumet, V. . E-mail: vchoumet@pasteur.fr

    2007-02-01

    This paper reports the simultaneous determination of toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic properties of Androctonus australis hector venom, in the absence and presence of antivenom (F(ab'){sub 2} and Fab), in envenomed rats. After subcutaneous injection of the venom, toxins showed a complete absorption phase from the site of injection associated with a distribution into a large extravascular compartment. The injection of Fab and F(ab'){sub 2} induced the neutralization of venom antigens in the blood compartment, as well as the redistribution of venom components from the extravascular compartment to the blood compartment. Interestingly, F(ab'){sub 2} and Fab showed distinct efficiencies depending on their route of injection. F(ab'){sub 2} induced a faster venom neutralization and redistribution than Fab when injected intravenously. Fab was more effective than F(ab'){sub 2} by the intramuscular route. The hemodynamic effects of Aah venom were further investigated. Changes in mean arterial pressure and heart rate were observed in parallel with an upper airway obstruction. Fab was more effective than F(ab'){sub 2} for preventing early symptoms of envenomation, whatever their route of administration. Intraperitoneal injection of F(ab'){sub 2} and Fab was similar for the prevention of the delayed symptoms, even after a late administration. Fab was more effective than F(ab'){sub 2} in the inhibition of airway resistance, independent of the route and time of administration. These results show that the treatment for scorpion stings might be improved by the intravascular injection of a mixture of Fab and F(ab'){sub 2}. If antivenom cannot be administered intravenously, Fab might be an alternative as they are more effective than F(ab'){sub 2} when injected intramuscularly.

  6. Cardiac involvement and its complications about three cases of severe scorpion envenomation.

    PubMed

    Aboumaâd, B; Tiger, A; Khattabi, A; Soulaymani, R; Lahssaini, M; Benhassain, S M; Iba, N

    2014-02-01

    For several decades, Morocco is confronted to medico-social problem of scorpion stings and envenomations. In 2009, epidemiological data established by the Poison Control Center recorded 29,816 stung patients, with an incidence of 1.1‰ and a fatality rate of 0.18%. The neurotoxins from scorpion venom are potent activators of the autonomic nervous system resulting a physiopathological disorder of vital systems. The most serious clinical manifestations are neurotoxic effects, pulmonary edema and cardiovascular distress. This present work reports the cases of three children (4 years and 6 months, 8 months and 15 days, 4 years), hospitalized in intensive care for an envenomation by Androctonus mauritanicus (the most fatal scorpion specie). The children presented cardiac dysfunction where pulmonary edema and state of shock were complications resultants. Two cases survived after supportive and symptomatic treatment based on dobutamine as primordial treatment in cardiovascular and pulmonary correction and other drugs. The third case died. The objective of this work was to detect the limit of the effectiveness of symptomatic treatment during a severe scorpion envenomation.

  7. First molecular phylogeny of scorpions of the family Buthidae from India.

    PubMed

    Suranse, Vivek; Sawant, Nitin S; Paripatyadar, Shruti V; Krutha, Keerthi; Paingankar, Mandar S; Padhye, Anand D; Bastawade, D B; Dahanukar, Neelesh

    2016-06-01

    Scorpions of the family Buthidae are widespread species in India. While studies are available on diversity and distribution of Indian buthid scorpions, no information is available on the phylogenetic relationships among the members of the family, within India and Asia in general. In the current study, we provide the first molecular phylogeny of buthid scorpions from central western India based on the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene. Our analysis confirms the current placement of the species, previously assigned to Mesobuthus in the genus Hottentotta. However, the analysis also suggests that the member of this genus from India form a monophyletic group distinct from the members of Hottentotta from Africa. Species of Lychas formed a monophyletic group. Although Orthochirus was nested within the larger clade of buthidae comprising genera such as Androctonus, Buthacus, Buthus and Odontobuthus, the exact phylogenetic placement will require more taxonomic sampling of the known genera of Buthidae. We also show that there is a substantial genetic variation among the populations of medically important scorpion species Hottentotta tamulus, and the genetic distance is linearly correlated with the geographical distance between the populations.

  8. General biochemical and immunological characteristics of the venom from Peruvian scorpion Hadruroides lunatus.

    PubMed

    Costal-Oliveira, F; Duarte, C G; Machado de Avila, R A; Melo, M M; Bordon, K C F; Arantes, E C; Paredes, N C; Tintaya, B; Bonilla, C; Bonilla, R E; Suarez, W S; Yarleque, A; Fernandez, J M; Kalapothakis, E; Chávez-Olórtegui, Carlos

    2012-10-01

    This communication describes the general biochemical properties and some immunological characteristics of the venom from the Peruvian scorpion Hadruroides lunatus, which is the most medically relevant species in Peru. The soluble venom of this scorpion is toxic to mice, the LD₅₀ determined was 0.1 mg/kg and 21.55 mg/kg when the venom was injected intracranial or intraperitoneally, respectively. The soluble venom displayed proteolytic, hyaluronidasic, phospholipasic and cardiotoxic activities. High performance liquid chromatography of the soluble venom resulted in the separation of 20 fractions. Two peptides with phospholipasic activity were isolated to homogeneity and their molecular masses determined by mass spectrometry (MALDI TOF). Anti-H. lunatus venom sera were produced in rabbits. Western blotting analysis showed that most of the protein content of this venom is immunogenic. H. lunatus anti-venom displayed consistent cross-reactivity with venom antigens from the new World-scorpions Tityus serrulatus and Centruroides sculpturatus venoms; however, a weaker reactivity was observed against the venom antigens from the old World-scorpion Androctonus australis Hector.

  9. Scorpion image segmentation system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Joseph, E.; Aibinu, A. M.; Sadiq, B. A.; Bello Salau, H.; Salami, M. J. E.

    2013-12-01

    Death as a result of scorpion sting has been a major public health problem in developing countries. Despite the high rate of death as a result of scorpion sting, little report exists in literature of intelligent device and system for automatic detection of scorpion. This paper proposed a digital image processing approach based on the floresencing characteristics of Scorpion under Ultra-violet (UV) light for automatic detection and identification of scorpion. The acquired UV-based images undergo pre-processing to equalize uneven illumination and colour space channel separation. The extracted channels are then segmented into two non-overlapping classes. It has been observed that simple thresholding of the green channel of the acquired RGB UV-based image is sufficient for segmenting Scorpion from other background components in the acquired image. Two approaches to image segmentation have also been proposed in this work, namely, the simple average segmentation technique and K-means image segmentation. The proposed algorithm has been tested on over 40 UV scorpion images obtained from different part of the world and results obtained show an average accuracy of 97.7% in correctly classifying the pixel into two non-overlapping clusters. The proposed 1system will eliminate the problem associated with some of the existing manual approaches presently in use for scorpion detection.

  10. Immunological characterization of a non-toxic peptide conferring protection against the toxic fraction (AahG50) of the Androctonus australis hector venom.

    PubMed

    Srairi-Abid, Najet; Kaabi, Hajer; Mlayah-Bellalouna, Saoussen; Mejri, Thouraya; Sampieri, François; El Ayeb, Mohamed

    2008-03-01

    KAaH1 and KAaH2 are non-toxic peptides, isolated from the venom of the Androctonus australis hector (Aah) scorpion. In a previous study, we showed these peptides to be the most abundant (approximately 10% each) in the toxic fraction (AahG50) of the Aah venom. KAaH1 and KAaH2 showed high sequence identities (approximately 60%) with birtoxin-like peptides, which likewise are the major peptidic components of Parabuthus transvaalicus scorpion venom. Here, we report the immunological characterization of KAaH1 and KAaH2. These peptides were found to be specifically recognized by polyclonal antibodies raised against AahII, the most toxic peptide of Aah venom, and represents the second antigenic group, including toxins from different scorpion species in the world. Moreover, KAaH1 partially inhibits AahII binding to its specific antibody, suggesting some common epitopes between these two peptides. The identification of possible key antigenic residues in KAaH1 was deduced from comparison of its 3-D model with the experimental structure of AahII. Two clusters of putative antigenically important residues were found at the exposed surface; one could be constituted of V3 and D53, the other of D10, T15 and Y16. Polyclonal antibodies raised against KAaH1 in mice were found to cross-react with both AahII and AahG50, and neutralizing 5LD(50)/ml of the toxic fraction. Mice vaccinated with KAaH1 were protected against a challenge of 2LD(50) of AahG50 fraction. All these data suggest that KAaH1 has clear advantages over the use of the whole or part of the venom. KAaH1 is not toxic and could produce sera-neutralizing scorpion toxins, not only from Aah venom, but also toxins of other venoms from Buthus, Leiurus, or Parabuthus scorpion species presenting antigenically related toxins.

  11. Scorpions: a presentation.

    PubMed

    Goyffon, Max; Tournier, Jean-Nicolas

    2014-07-21

    Scorpions, at least the species of the family Buthidæ whose venoms are better known, appear as animals that have evolved very little over time. The composition of their venoms is relatively simple as most toxins have a common structural motif that is found in other venoms from primitive species. Moreover, all the scorpion venom toxins principally act on membrane ionic channels of excitable cells. The results of recent works lead to the conclusion that in scorpions there is a close relationship between venomous function and innate immune function both remarkably efficient.

  12. Pre-clinical studies of toxin-specific nanobodies: evidence of in vivo efficacy to prevent fatal disturbances provoked by scorpion envenoming.

    PubMed

    Hmila, Issam; Cosyns, Bernard; Tounsi, Hayfa; Roosens, Bram; Caveliers, Vicky; Abderrazek, Rahma Ben; Boubaker, Samir; Muyldermans, Serge; El Ayeb, Mohamed; Bouhaouala-Zahar, Balkiss; Lahoutte, Tony

    2012-10-15

    Scorpions represent a significant threat to humans and animals in various countries throughout the world. Recently, we introduced Nanobodies (Nbs) to combat more efficiently scorpion envenoming and demonstrated the performance of NbAahIF12 and NbAahII10 to neutralize scorpion toxins of Androctonus australis hector venom. A bispecific Nb construct (NbF12-10) comprising these two Nbs is far more protective than the classic Fab'(2) based therapy and is the most efficient antivenom therapy against scorpion sting in preclinical studies. Now we investigate the biodistribution and pharmacokinetics of (99m)Tc labeled Nbs by in vivo imaging in rodents and compared these data with those of the Fab'(2) product (PAS). The pharmacodynamics of the Nbs was investigated in rats by in vivo echocardiography and it is shown that NbF12-10 prevents effectively the hemodynamic disturbances induced by a lethal dose of venom. Moreover, even a late injection of NbF12-10 restores the heart rate and brings the blood pressure to baseline values. Histology confirms that NbF12-10 prevents lung and heart lesions of treated mice after envenoming. In conjunction, in this preclinical study, we provide proof of concept that NbF12-10 prevents effectively the fatal disturbances induced by Androctonus venom, and that the Nanobody based therapeutic has a potential to substitute the classic Fab'(2) based product as immunotherapeutic in scorpion envenoming. Further clinical study using larger cohorts of animals should be considered to confirm the full protecting potential of our NbF12-10.

  13. Scorpion sting nephropathy

    PubMed Central

    Prabhu, Chaitanya

    2011-01-01

    Scorpion envenomations are ubiquitous, but nephropathy is a rare manifestation, reported mainly from the Middle East and North Africa. Rapid venom redistribution from blood, delayed excretion from the kidneys, direct toxicity of venom enzymes, cytokine release and afferent arteriolar constriction have been seen in experimental animals. Haemoglobinuria, acute tubular necrosis, interstitial nephritis and haemolytic–uraemic syndrome have been documented in human victims of scorpion envenomation. Epidemiology, venom components and toxins, effects on the laboratory mammals especially the kidneys and reports of renal failure in humans are reviewed in this article. PMID:25984198

  14. Evaluation of the lethal potency of scorpion and snake venoms and comparison between intraperitoneal and intravenous injection routes.

    PubMed

    Oukkache, Naoual; El Jaoudi, Rachid; Ghalim, Noreddine; Chgoury, Fatima; Bouhaouala, Balkiss; Mdaghri, Naima El; Sabatier, Jean-Marc

    2014-06-12

    Scorpion stings and snake bites are major health hazards that lead to suffering of victims and high mortality. Thousands of injuries associated with such stings and bites of venomous animals occur every year worldwide. In North Africa, more than 100,000 scorpion stings and snake bites are reported annually. An appropriate determination of the 50% lethal doses (LD₅₀) of scorpion and snake venoms appears to be an important step to assess (and compare) venom toxic activity. Such LD₅₀ values are also commonly used to evaluate the neutralizing capacity of specific anti-venom batches. In the present work, we determined experimentally the LD₅₀ values of reference scorpion and snake venoms in Swiss mice, and evaluated the influence of two main venom injection routes (i.e., intraperitoneal (IP) versus intravenous (IV)). The analysis of experimental LD₅₀ values obtained with three collected scorpion venoms indicates that Androctonus mauretanicus (Am) is intrinsically more toxic than Androctonus australis hector (Aah) species, whereas the latter is more toxic than Buthus occitanus (Bo). Similar analysis of three representative snake venoms of the Viperidae family shows that Cerastes cerastes (Cc) is more toxic than either Bitis arietans (Ba) or Macrovipera lebetina (Ml) species. Interestingly, the venom of Elapidae cobra snake Naja haje (Nh) is far more toxic than viper venoms Cc, Ml and Ba, in agreement with the known severity of cobra-related envenomation. Also, our data showed that viper venoms are about three-times less toxic when injected IP as compared to IV, distinct from cobra venom Nh which exhibited a similar toxicity when injected IP or IV. Overall, this study clearly highlights the usefulness of procedure standardization, especially regarding the administration route, for evaluating the relative toxicity of individual animal venoms. It also evidenced a marked difference in lethal activity between venoms of cobra and vipers, which, apart from the

  15. Immunopathologic effects of scorpion venom on hepato-renal tissues: Involvement of lipid derived inflammatory mediators.

    PubMed

    Lamraoui, Amal; Adi-Bessalem, Sonia; Laraba-Djebari, Fatima

    2015-10-01

    Scorpion venoms are known to cause different inflammatory disorders through complex mechanisms in various tissues. In the study here, the involvement of phospholipase A2 (PLA2) and cyclo-oxygenase (COX)-derived metabolites in hepatic and renal inflammation responses were examined. Mice were envenomed with Androctonus australis hector scorpion venom in the absence or presence of inhibitors that can interfere with lipid inflammatory mediator synthesis, i.e., dexamethasone (PLA2 inhibitor), indomethacin (non-selective COX-1/COX-2 inhibitor), or celecoxib (selective COX-2 inhibitor). The inflammatory response was assessed by evaluating vascular permeability changes, inflammatory cell infiltration, oxidative/nitrosative stress marker levels, and by histologic and functional analyses of the liver and kidney. Results revealed that the venom alone induced an inflammatory response in this tissues marked by increased microvascular permeability and inflammatory cell infiltration, increases in levels of nitric oxide and lipid peroxidation, and decreases in antioxidant defense. Moreover, significant alterations in the histological architecture of these organs were associated with increased serum levels of some metabolic enzymes, as well as urea and uric acid. Pre-treatment of mice with dexamethasone led to significant decreases of the inflammatory disorders in the hepatic parenchyma; celecoxib pre-treatment seemed to be more effective against renal inflammation. Indomethacin pre-treatment only slightly reduced the inflammatory disorders in the tissues. These results suggest that the induced inflammation response in liver was mediated mainly by PLA2 activation, while the renal inflammatory process was mediated by prostaglandin formation by COX-2. These findings provide additional insight toward the understanding of activated pathways and related mechanisms involved in scorpion envenoming syndrome.

  16. Venomous snake bites, scorpions, and spiders.

    PubMed

    Kularatne, S A M; Senanayake, Nimal

    2014-01-01

    Neurologic dysfunction due to natural neurotoxins is an important, but neglected, public health hazard in many parts of the world, particularly in the tropics. These toxins are produced by or found among a variety of live forms that include venomous snakes, arthropods such as scorpions, spiders, centipedes, stinging insects (Hymenoptera), ticks, certain poisonous fish, shellfish, crabs, cone shells, skin secretions of dart-poison frogs, and bacterial poisons such as botulinum toxin. These toxins commonly act on neuromuscular transmission at the neuromuscular junction where acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter, but in certain situations the toxins interfere with neurotransmitters such as GABA, noradrenaline, adrenaline, dopamine, and γ-aminobutyrate. Of the toxins, α-toxins and κ-toxins (e.g., Chinese krait, Bungarus multicinctus) act on the postsynaptic membrane, blocking the receptors, whilst β-toxin (e.g., common krait, B. caeruleus) acts on the presynaptic membrane, causing impairment of acetylcholine release. Conversely, dendrotoxins of the African mamba enhance acetylcholine release. The toxins of scorpions and spiders commonly interfere with voltage-gated ion channels. Clinically, the cardinal manifestation is muscle paralysis. In severe cases respiratory paralysis could be fatal. Effective antivenoms are the mainstay of treatment of envenoming, but their lack of availability is the major concern in the regions of the globe where they are desperately needed. Interestingly, some toxins have proved to be valuable pharmaceutical agents, while some others are widely exploited to study neuromuscular physiology and pathology.

  17. Hey! A Scorpion Stung Me!

    MedlinePlus

    ... arachnid family, which also includes mites, ticks , and spiders. Scorpions are about 3 inches long (about the ... A Bee Stung Me! Hey! A Black Widow Spider Bit Me! Hey! A Mosquito Bit Me! Hey! ...

  18. Pre-clinical studies of toxin-specific Nanobodies: Evidence of in vivo efficacy to prevent fatal disturbances provoked by scorpion envenoming

    SciTech Connect

    Hmila, Issam; Cosyns, Bernard; Tounsi, Hayfa; Roosens, Bram; Caveliers, Vicky; Abderrazek, Rahma Ben; Boubaker, Samir; Muyldermans, Serge; El Ayeb, Mohamed; Bouhaouala-Zahar, Balkiss; Lahoutte, Tony

    2012-10-15

    Scorpions represent a significant threat to humans and animals in various countries throughout the world. Recently, we introduced Nanobodies (Nbs) to combat more efficiently scorpion envenoming and demonstrated the performance of NbAahIF12 and NbAahII10 to neutralize scorpion toxins of Androctonus australis hector venom. A bispecific Nb construct (NbF12-10) comprising these two Nbs is far more protective than the classic Fab′{sub 2} based therapy and is the most efficient antivenom therapy against scorpion sting in preclinical studies. Now we investigate the biodistribution and pharmacokinetics of {sup 99m}Tc labeled Nbs by in vivo imaging in rodents and compared these data with those of the Fab′{sub 2} product (PAS). The pharmacodynamics of the Nbs was investigated in rats by in vivo echocardiography and it is shown that NbF12-10 prevents effectively the hemodynamic disturbances induced by a lethal dose of venom. Moreover, even a late injection of NbF12-10 restores the heart rate and brings the blood pressure to baseline values. Histology confirms that NbF12-10 prevents lung and heart lesions of treated mice after envenoming. In conjunction, in this preclinical study, we provide proof of concept that NbF12-10 prevents effectively the fatal disturbances induced by Androctonus venom, and that the Nanobody based therapeutic has a potential to substitute the classic Fab′{sub 2} based product as immunotherapeutic in scorpion envenoming. Further clinical study using larger cohorts of animals should be considered to confirm the full protecting potential of our NbF12-10. -- Highlights: ► Nanobody therapy prevents the hemodynamic disturbances induced by a lethal dose. ► Late injection of Nanobody restores hemodynamic parameters to baseline values. ► Nanobody therapy prevents lung and heart lesions of treated mice after envenoming. ► Labeled Nanobody and Fab’2 pharmacokinetics curves reach plateau in favour of Nanobody.

  19. Chinese-scorpion (Buthus martensi Karsch) toxin BmK alphaIV, a novel modulator of sodium channels: from genomic organization to functional analysis.

    PubMed

    Chai, Zhi-Fang; Zhu, Mang-Mang; Bai, Zhan-Tao; Liu, Tong; Tan, Miao; Pang, Xue-Yan; Ji, Yong-Hua

    2006-11-01

    In the present study, BmK alphaIV, a novel modulator of sodium channels, was cloned from venomous glands of the Chinese scorpion (Buthus martensi Karsch) and expressed successfully in Escherichia coli. The BmK alphaIV gene is composed of two exons separated by a 503 bp intron. The mature polypeptide contains 66 amino acids. BmK alphaIV has potent toxicity in mice and cockroaches. Surface-plasmon-resonance analysis found that BmK alphaIV could bind to both rat cerebrocortical synaptosomes and cockroach neuronal membranes, and shared similar binding sites on sodium channels with classical AaH II (alpha-mammal neurotoxin from the scorpion Androctonus australis Hector), BmK AS (beta-like neurotoxin), BmK IT2 (the depressant insect-selective neurotoxin) and BmK abT (transitional neurotoxin), but not with BmK I (alpha-like neurotoxin). Two-electrode voltage clamp recordings on rNav1.2 channels expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes revealed that BmK alphaIV increased the peak amplitude and prolonged the inactivation phase of Na+ currents. The structural and pharmacological properties compared with those of other scorpion alpha-toxins suggests that BmK alphaIV represents a novel subgroup or functional hybrid of alpha-toxins and might be an evolutionary intermediate neurotoxin for alpha-toxins.

  20. Differential effects of defined chemical modifications on antigenic and pharmacological activities of scorpion alpha and beta toxins.

    PubMed

    el Ayeb, M; Darbon, H; Bahraoui, E M; Vargas, O; Rochat, H

    1986-03-03

    Specific chemical modifications of scorpion alpha and beta toxins have been used to study the involvement of particular residues in both the pharmacological and the antigenic sites of these toxins. Modification by 1,2-cyclohexanedione of arginine-27 of a beta toxin, Centruroides suffusus suffusus toxin II, drastically decrease the antigenic activity without any influence on the pharmacological activity. Conversely, modification by the same reagent of arginine-2 of an alpha toxin, Androctonus australis Hector toxin III, led to a 100-times less pharmacologically potent derivative and did not induce a significant loss of antigenic activity. Excision of the N-terminal pentapeptide of another alpha toxin, Buthus occitanus mardochei toxin III, by pepsin digestion led to a non-toxic derivative retaining full antigenic activity. Thus, the N-terminal part of the conserved hydrophobic surface of the toxin is highly implicated in the pharmacological activity, whereas the region of arginine-27, located in the alpha helix situated on the back surface, opposite the conserved hydrophobic region, is fully implicated in the antigenic activity and is far from the pharmacological site. These results are good arguments in favor of the idea that in scorpion toxins the surfaces implicated in the pharmacological and the antigenic activities do not overlap. Since the antigenic sites are present in highly variable sequence the development of an efficient polyvalent serotherapy is questionable.

  1. The scorpion toxin Bot IX is a potent member of the α-like family and has a unique N-terminal sequence extension.

    PubMed

    Martin-Eauclaire, Marie-France; Salvatierra, Juan; Bosmans, Frank; Bougis, Pierre E

    2016-09-01

    We report the detailed chemical, immunological and pharmacological characterization of the α-toxin Bot IX from the Moroccan scorpion Buthus occitanus tunetanus venom. Bot IX, which consists of 70 amino acids, is a highly atypical toxin. It carries a unique N-terminal sequence extension and is highly lethal in mice. Voltage clamp recordings on oocytes expressing rat Nav1.2 or insect BgNav1 reveal that, similar to other α-like toxins, Bot IX inhibits fast inactivation of both variants. Moreover, Bot IX belongs to the same structural/immunological group as the α-like toxin Bot I. Remarkably, radioiodinated Bot IX competes efficiently with the classical α-toxin AaH II from Androctonus australis, and displays one of the highest affinities for Nav channels.

  2. History of study, updated checklist, distribution and key of scorpions (Arachnida: Scorpiones) from China.

    PubMed

    Di, Zhi-Yong; Yang, Zi-Zhong; Yin, Shi-Jin; Cao, Zhi-Jian; Li, Wen-Xin

    2014-01-01

    This review describes the history of taxonomic research on scorpions and provides an updated checklist and key of the scorpions currently known in China. This checklist is based on a thorough review of the extant literatures on scorpion species whose presence has been confirmed in China through field expeditions and examination of scorpion collections, excepting a few members that have no clear distribution or are currently in doubt. Totally, the scorpion fauna of China consists of 53 species and subspecies belonging to 12 genera crossing five families, with 33 species (62.3%) and one genus being recorded as endemic. Additionally, identification key and the distribution of scorpions from China are provided.

  3. In vitro determination of the efficacy of scorpion venoms as anti-cancer agents against colorectal cancer cells: a nano-liposomal delivery approach

    PubMed Central

    Al-Asmari, Abdulrahman K; Ullah, Zabih; Al Balowi, Ali; Islam, Mozaffarul

    2017-01-01

    The use of liposomes in biological and medicinal sciences is a relatively new approach. The liposomal strategy greatly depends on the technological advancement in the formation of vesicles of various sizes and properties. In the current study, we encapsulated the venoms obtained from medically important scorpions such as Androctonus bicolor (AB), Androctonus crassicauda (AC), and Leiurus quinquestriatus (LQ). To begin with, our first and foremost aim was to prepare biocompatible and biodegradable nanovesicles. Additionally, we intended to enhance the anti-cancer potential of these encapsulated venoms. The liposomal venoms were prepared by rehydration and dehydration methods. Morphology, particle size, and size distribution of the liposomes were examined by scanning electron microscope (SEM), transmission electron microscope (TEM), and Zetasizer. We found that the prepared liposomes had a smooth surface and a spherical/ovoid shape and existed mainly as single unilamellar vesicles (SUVs). Furthermore, the liposomal formulation of all three venoms exhibited excellent stability and good encapsulation efficiency (EE). Additionally, the anti-cancer potential of the encapsulated venoms was also evaluated on a colorectal cancer cell line (HCT-8). The venom-loaded liposomes showed elevated anti-cancer properties such as low rate of cell survival, higher reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, and enhancement in the number of apoptotic cells. In addition to this, cell cycle analysis revealed G0/G1 enrichment upon venom treatment. The effect of treatment was more pronounced when venom–liposome was used as compared to free venom on the HCT-8 cell line. Furthermore, we did not observe any interference of liposomal lipids used in these preparations on the progression of cancer cells. Considering these findings, we can conclude that the encapsulated scorpion venoms exhibit better efficacy and act more vigorously as an anti-cancer agent on the colorectal cancer cell line when

  4. In vitro determination of the efficacy of scorpion venoms as anti-cancer agents against colorectal cancer cells: a nano-liposomal delivery approach.

    PubMed

    Al-Asmari, Abdulrahman K; Ullah, Zabih; Al Balowi, Ali; Islam, Mozaffarul

    2017-01-01

    The use of liposomes in biological and medicinal sciences is a relatively new approach. The liposomal strategy greatly depends on the technological advancement in the formation of vesicles of various sizes and properties. In the current study, we encapsulated the venoms obtained from medically important scorpions such as Androctonus bicolor (AB), Androctonus crassicauda (AC), and Leiurus quinquestriatus (LQ). To begin with, our first and foremost aim was to prepare biocompatible and biodegradable nanovesicles. Additionally, we intended to enhance the anti-cancer potential of these encapsulated venoms. The liposomal venoms were prepared by rehydration and dehydration methods. Morphology, particle size, and size distribution of the liposomes were examined by scanning electron microscope (SEM), transmission electron microscope (TEM), and Zetasizer. We found that the prepared liposomes had a smooth surface and a spherical/ovoid shape and existed mainly as single unilamellar vesicles (SUVs). Furthermore, the liposomal formulation of all three venoms exhibited excellent stability and good encapsulation efficiency (EE). Additionally, the anti-cancer potential of the encapsulated venoms was also evaluated on a colorectal cancer cell line (HCT-8). The venom-loaded liposomes showed elevated anti-cancer properties such as low rate of cell survival, higher reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, and enhancement in the number of apoptotic cells. In addition to this, cell cycle analysis revealed G0/G1 enrichment upon venom treatment. The effect of treatment was more pronounced when venom-liposome was used as compared to free venom on the HCT-8 cell line. Furthermore, we did not observe any interference of liposomal lipids used in these preparations on the progression of cancer cells. Considering these findings, we can conclude that the encapsulated scorpion venoms exhibit better efficacy and act more vigorously as an anti-cancer agent on the colorectal cancer cell line when

  5. Scorpion venoms in gastric cancer

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Xiao-Ying; Zhang, Pei-Ying

    2016-01-01

    Venom secretions from snakes, scorpions, spiders and bees, have been widely applied in traditional medicine and current biopharmaceutical research. Possession of anticancer potential is another novel discovery for animal venoms and toxins. An increasing number of studies have shown the anticancer effects of venoms and toxins of snakes, and scorpions in vitro and in vivo, which were achieved mainly through the inhibition of cancer growth, arrest of cell cycle, induction of apoptosis and suppression of cancer metastasis. However, more evidence is needed to support this concept and the mechanisms of anticancer actions are not clearly understood. The present review is focused on the recant updates on anticancer venom research. PMID:27900054

  6. Characterizing the biological and biochemical profile of six different scorpion venoms from the Buthidae and Scorpionidae family.

    PubMed

    Estrada-Gómez, Sebastian; Gomez-Rave, Lyz; Vargas-Muñoz, Leidy Johana; van der Meijden, Arie

    2017-05-01

    The objective of this study was to characterize six different scorpion venoms using biological and biochemical methods, including a preliminary MS/MS and a post-translational modifications analysis. Despite the diversity of scorpion species of medical importance in Africa and Colombia, the venoms of these arachnids have been poorly studied in these two regions. We report the biochemical, electrophoretic, chromatographic profile, internal peptide sequences with a post-translational modification report, and a preliminary antitumor activity of five different scorpions of the Buthidae family, Androctonus amoreuxi, Babycurus jacksoni, Grosphus grandidieri, Hottentotta gentili and Tityus fuhrmanni, and one of the Scorpionidae family Pandinus imperator. No L-amino oxidase activity was detected in the evaluated venoms. Proteolytic activity using azocasein was detected only in G. grandidieri and P. imperator, indicating the possible presence of metalloproteinases in these two venoms. Proteolytic activity using NOBA was detected in all venoms indicating the possible presence of serine-proteinases. Phospholipase A2 activity was detected in the venoms of P. imperator, G. grandidieri, H. gentili and A. amoreuxi, with P. imperator venom being the most active. All venoms analyzed contained defensin-like proteins, alpha toxins, metalloproteinases, neuropeptides, DBP affecting ion channels, DBP with antimicrobial activity, among others. Venoms from P. imperator, G. grandidieri and T. fuhrmanni showed a dose-dependent cytotoxic activity over MCF-7 cells. Only two isolated RP-HPLC fractions from P. imperator and T. fuhrmanni showed cytotoxic activity over MCF-7. No cytotoxic activity was found in the venoms from A. amoreuxi, B. jacksoni, and H. gentili.

  7. Conformational flexibility of a scorpion toxin active on mammals and insects: a circular dichroism study.

    PubMed

    Loret, E P; Sampieri, F; Roussel, A; Granier, C; Rochat, H

    1990-01-01

    Three scorpion toxins have been analyzed by circular dichroism in water and in 2,2,2-trifluoroethanol (TFE) solutions. These toxins were chosen because they are representative of three kinds of pharmacological activities: (1) toxin AaH IT2, an antiinsect toxin purified from the venom of Androctonus australis Hector, which is able to bind to insect nervous system preparation, (2) toxin Css II, from the venom of Centruroides suffusus suffusus, which is a beta-type antimammal toxin capable of binding to mammal nervous system preparation, and (3) the toxin Ts VII from the venom of Tityus serrulatus, which is able to bind to both types of nervous systems. In order to minimize bias, CD data were analyzed by a predictive algorithm to assess secondary structure content. Among the three molecules, Ts VII presented the most unordered secondary structure in water, but it gained in ordered forms when solubilized in TFE. These results indicated that the Ts VII backbone is the most flexible, which might result in a more pronounced tendency for this toxin molecule to undergo conformational changes. This is consistent with the fact that it competes with both antiinsect and beta-type antimammal toxins for the binding to the sodium channel.

  8. Characterization of six toxins from the venom of the Moroccan scorpion Buthus occitanus mardochei.

    PubMed

    Vargas, O; Martin, M F; Rochat, H

    1987-02-02

    When the venom of the Moroccan scorpion Buthus occitanus mardochei was submitted to a combination of several chromatographic steps (including gel-filtration and ion-exchange chromatographies), seven proteins were obtained, six being lethal to mice. These proteins have been characterized by their chemical, immunological and toxic properties. The amino acid sequence (66 residues) of Bom III, the most noteworthy toxin of the venom as for its amino acid composition, is proposed following automatic sequencing of the reduced and S-methylated protein and of chymotryptic peptides. It was obvious that this sequence is somewhat different from those of toxins belonging to the same structural and immunological group (Bom III was found to be immunologically related to Buthus occitanus tunetanus toxins I and II which both share with it 56% of homology. Furthermore, Bom III was found to be unable to compete (as does Bot I) with toxin II of Androctonus australis Hector (an alpha-type toxin) for neurotoxin binding site 3 on the sodium channel of rat brain synaptosomes. Bom III was also unable to compete with toxin II of Centruroides suffusus suffusus (a beta-type toxin) to neurotoxin binding site 4 of the same channel.

  9. Use of antibodies specific to defined regions of scorpion. cap alpha. -toxin to study its interaction with its receptor site on the sodium channel

    SciTech Connect

    Ayeb, M.E.; Bahraoui, E.M.; Granier, C.; Rochat, H.

    1986-10-21

    Five antibody populations selected by immunoaffinity chromatography for the specificity toward various regions of toxin II of the scorpion Androctonus australis Hector were used to probe the interaction of this protein with its receptor site on the sodium channel. These studies indicate that two antigenic sites, one located around the disulfide bridge 12-63 and one encompassing residues 50-59, are involved in the molecular mechanisms of toxicity neutralization. Fab fragments specific to the region around disulfide bridge 12-63 inhibit binding of the /sup 125/I-labeled toxin to its receptor site. Also, these two antigenic regions are inaccessible to the antibodies when the toxin is bound to its receptor site. In contrast, the two other antigenic sites encompassing the only ..cap alpha..-helix region (residues 23-32) and a ..beta..-turn structure (residues 32-35) are accessible to the respective antibodies when the toxin is bound to its receptor. Together, these data support the recent proposal that a region made of residues that are conserved in the scorpion toxin family is involved in the binding of the toxin to the receptor.

  10. Anemomenotatic orientation in beetles and scorpions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Linsenmair, K. E.

    1972-01-01

    Orientation, by beetles and scorpions, according to wind direction and force are analyzed. Major efforts were made to determine: (1) which physical qualities of the air current influence anemomenotaxis, (2) which physiological mechanism is responsible for such orientation, (3) which sense organs do beetles and scorpions use to perceive wind directions, and (4) what the biological significance of anemomenotaxis in the beetle and scorpion is. Experimental results show that the trichobothria in scorpions perceives wind direction; in the beetle it is perceived by sense organs excited by pendicellus-flagellum joint movements. A compensation mechanism is suggested as the basis for anemomenotactic orientation. It was also suggested that the biological significance of anemomenotaxis in scorpions is space orientation; while in beetles it was found to be part of the appetitive behavior used to search for olfactory sign stimuli.

  11. Characterization of unique amphipathic antimicrobial peptides from venom of the scorpion Pandinus imperator.

    PubMed Central

    Corzo, G; Escoubas, P; Villegas, E; Barnham, K J; He, W; Norton, R S; Nakajima, T

    2001-01-01

    Two novel antimicrobial peptides have been identified and characterized from venom of the African scorpion Pandinus imperator. The peptides, designated pandinin 1 and 2, are alpha-helical polycationic peptides, with pandinin 1 belonging to the group of antibacterial peptides previously described from scorpions, frogs and insects, and pandinin 2 to the group of short magainin-type helical peptides from frogs. Both peptides demonstrated high antimicrobial activity against a range of Gram-positive bacteria (2.4-5.2 microM), but were less active against Gram-negative bacteria (2.4-38.2 microM), and only pandinin 2 affected the yeast Candida albicans. Pandinin 2 also demonstrated strong haemolytic activity (11.1-44.5 microM) against sheep erythrocytes, in contrast with pandinin 1, which was not haemolytic. CD studies and a high-resolution structure of pandinin 2 determined by NMR, showed that the two peptides are both essentially helical, but differ in their overall structure. Pandinin 2 is composed of a single alpha-helix with a predominantly hydrophobic N-terminal sequence, whereas pandinin 1 consists of two distinct alpha-helices separated by a coil region of higher flexibility. This is the first report of magainin-type polycationic antimicrobial peptides in scorpion venom. Their presence brings new insights into the mode of action of scorpion venom and also opens new avenues for the discovery of novel antibiotic molecules from arthropod venoms. PMID:11563967

  12. Diffuse resistance courtship in the scorpion Rhopalurus rochai (Scorpiones: Buthidae).

    PubMed

    Chantall-Rocha, Shayanne; Japyassú, Hilton F

    2017-02-01

    Male-female courtship signals are frequently subject to arms races, with patterns of behaviour evolving reciprocally to manipulate the reproductive output. Female resistance should be particularly effective when asymmetrical offspring care occurs under low and unpredictable resource distribution, because this would increase maternal costs. Our hypothesis is that under these conditions females will evolve diffuse mating strategies to avoid predictable exploitation by male optimal counter tactics. Mating in scorpions is a complex process, and female resistance occurs through specific behaviours. Here we focus on the scorpion Rhopalurus rochai that inhabits strongly unpredictable arid habitats. We find that courtship success does not rely on typical resistance and stimulatory patterns of behaviours. The screening for prospective partners occurs in the pre-dance phase. Network statistics reveal that unsuccessful courtships are characterised by reduced complexity of interactions, a result typical of non-additive interactions that introduce unpredictability in the network. Unpredictable female resistance reduces male control over female reproduction more effectively than resistance through specific behavioural tactics; it could be selected in cases of extreme parental investment asymmetry, particularly in the context of resource fluctuation, as in the scorpion R. rochai, that inhabits environments with characteristic climatic unpredictability. Female resistance through a diffuse process would function as an extremely efficient screening device. The establishment of diffuse female resistance courtship would preclude the evolution of simple/single male optimal behavioural patterns, and thus the male-female arms races would reach a more complex state, whereby varied and contextually dependent male strategies would be required to settle the reproductive game.

  13. Overview of scorpion species from China and their toxins.

    PubMed

    Cao, Zhijian; Di, Zhiyong; Wu, Yingliang; Li, Wenxin

    2014-02-26

    Scorpions are one of the most ancient groups of terrestrial animals. They have maintained a steady morphology over more than 400 million years of evolution. Their venom arsenals for capturing prey and defending against predators may play a critical role in their ancient and conservative appearance. In the current review, we present the scorpion fauna of China: 53 species covering five families and 12 genera. We also systematically list toxins or genes from Chinese scorpion species, involving eight species covering four families. Furthermore, we review the diverse functions of typical toxins from Chinese scorpion species, involving Na+ channel modulators, K+ channel blockers, antimicrobial peptides and protease inhibitors. Using scorpion species and their toxins from China as an example, we build the bridge between scorpion species and their toxins, which helps us to understand the molecular and functional diversity of scorpion venom arsenal, the dynamic and functional evolution of scorpion toxins, and the potential relationships of scorpion species and their toxins.

  14. Overview of Scorpion Species from China and Their Toxins

    PubMed Central

    Cao, Zhijian; Di, Zhiyong; Wu, Yingliang; Li, Wenxin

    2014-01-01

    Scorpions are one of the most ancient groups of terrestrial animals. They have maintained a steady morphology over more than 400 million years of evolution. Their venom arsenals for capturing prey and defending against predators may play a critical role in their ancient and conservative appearance. In the current review, we present the scorpion fauna of China: 53 species covering five families and 12 genera. We also systematically list toxins or genes from Chinese scorpion species, involving eight species covering four families. Furthermore, we review the diverse functions of typical toxins from Chinese scorpion species, involving Na+ channel modulators, K+ channel blockers, antimicrobial peptides and protease inhibitors. Using scorpion species and their toxins from China as an example, we build the bridge between scorpion species and their toxins, which helps us to understand the molecular and functional diversity of scorpion venom arsenal, the dynamic and functional evolution of scorpion toxins, and the potential relationships of scorpion species and their toxins. PMID:24577583

  15. Study of severe scorpion envenoming following subcutaneous venom injection into dogs: Hemodynamic and concentration/effect analysis.

    PubMed

    Elatrous, Souheil; Ouanes-Besbes, Lamia; Ben Sik-Ali, Habiba; Hamouda, Zineb; BenAbdallah, Saoussen; Tilouche, Nejla; Jalloul, Faten; Fkih-Hassen, Mohamed; Dachraoui, Fahmi; Ouanes, Islem; Abroug, Fekri

    2015-09-15

    To evaluate the dose-effects of Androctonus australis hector (Aah) venom injected subcutaneously on hemodynamics and neurohormonal secretions, 10 anesthetized and ventilated mongrel dogs, were split in two groups (n = 5/group). Subcutaneous injection was done with either 0.2 mg/kg or 0.125 mg/kg of the purified G50 scorpion toxic fraction. Hemodynamic parameters using right heart catheter were recorded and plasma concentrations of catecholamine, troponin, and serum toxic fraction were measured sequentially from baseline to 120 min. We identified the dose of toxic fraction evoking characteristic hemodynamic perturbation of severe envenomation, the time-lapse to envenomation, and the associated plasma level. The injection of 0.125 mg/kg toxic fraction was not associated with significant variations in hemodynamic parameters, whereas the 0.2 mg/kg dose caused envenomation characterized by significant increase in plasma catecholamines, increased pulmonary artery occluded pressure, mean arterial pressure, and systemic vascular resistance (p < 0.05), in association with sustained decline in cardiac output (p < 0.001). Envenomation occurred by the 30th minute, and the corresponding concentration of toxic fraction was 1.14 ng/ml. The current experiment allowed the identification of the sub-lethal dose (0.2 mg/kg) of the toxic fraction of Aah administered by the subcutaneous route. Two parameters with potential clinical relevance were also uncovered: the time-lapse to envenomation and the corresponding concentration of toxic fraction.

  16. Epidemiological Review of Scorpion Envenomation in Iran

    PubMed Central

    Jalali, Amir; Rahim, Fakher

    2014-01-01

    This epidemiological review was carried out to display the magnitude and the geographic distribution of scorpion envenomation in Iran with focus on the southwestern region of Iran, particularly. The Iranian recognized scorpions belonging to two families, including Buthidae and Scorpionidae. Buthidae family consists of 14 genuses, 26 species, and 18 sub-species, while Scorpionidae family has three genuses and four species. The lack of basic knowledge, including the geographical distribution, clinical manifestations, and specific treatments related to scorpiofauna justifies such multidisciplinary studies. The venom of two endemic Iranian scorpions, including Hemiscorpius lepturus (H. lepturus) and Odonthubuthus doriae (O.doriae) have considered as an effective source of new neurotoxin peptides for the further development of physio-pharmacological probes and designing the clinical trials. Such epidemiological information may improve the determinants of Iranian scorpion stings in order to plan and implement effective public health intervention. PMID:25276176

  17. The unfulfilled promises of scorpion insectotoxins.

    PubMed

    Ortiz, Ernesto; Possani, Lourival D

    2015-01-01

    Since the description and biochemical characterization of the first insect-specific neurotoxins from scorpion venoms, almost all contributions have highlighted their potential application as leads for the development of potent bioinsecticides. Their practical use, however, has been hindered by different factors, some of which are intrinsically related to the toxins and other external determinants. Recent developments in the understanding of the action mechanisms of the scorpion insectotoxins and their bioactive surfaces, coupled with the exploration of novel bioinsecticide delivery systems have renewed the expectations that the scorpion insectotoxins could find their way into commercial applications in agriculture, as part of integrated pest control strategies. Herein, we review the current arsenal of available scorpion neurotoxins with a degree of specificity for insects, the progress made with alternative delivery methods, and the drawbacks that still preclude their practical use.

  18. Epidemiological review of scorpion envenomation in iran.

    PubMed

    Jalali, Amir; Rahim, Fakher

    2014-01-01

    This epidemiological review was carried out to display the magnitude and the geographic distribution of scorpion envenomation in Iran with focus on the southwestern region of Iran, particularly. The Iranian recognized scorpions belonging to two families, including Buthidae and Scorpionidae. Buthidae family consists of 14 genuses, 26 species, and 18 sub-species, while Scorpionidae family has three genuses and four species. The lack of basic knowledge, including the geographical distribution, clinical manifestations, and specific treatments related to scorpiofauna justifies such multidisciplinary studies. The venom of two endemic Iranian scorpions, including Hemiscorpius lepturus (H. lepturus) and Odonthubuthus doriae (O.doriae) have considered as an effective source of new neurotoxin peptides for the further development of physio-pharmacological probes and designing the clinical trials. Such epidemiological information may improve the determinants of Iranian scorpion stings in order to plan and implement effective public health intervention.

  19. Buthid scorpions found in caves; a new species of Isometrus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Scorpiones, Buthidae) from southern Vietnam.

    PubMed

    Lourenço, Wilson R; Duhem, Bernard

    2010-08-01

    A new species, Isometrus (Reddyanus) deharvengi sp. n., is described from caves of the region of Hon Chong, Kien Giang in southern Vietnam. Comments are also added about the scorpion fauna of Southeast Asia and cave dwelling buthid scorpions.

  20. Troglobitic scorpions: a new genus and species from Brazil.

    PubMed

    Lourenço, Wilson R; Baptista, Renner Luiz Cerqueira; de Leão Giupponi, Alessandro Ponce

    2004-12-01

    A new genus and species of troglobitic buthid scorpion are described on the basis of a single specimen collected in Brazil. This is the first cavernicolous scorpion ever found in Brazil, and only the second to be found in South America. Some considerations on troglobitic scorpions are proposed.

  1. Mountain scorpions: a new genus and species from Tibet (China).

    PubMed

    Lourenço, Wilson R; Qi, Jian-xin

    2006-04-01

    A new genus and species of mountain liochelid scorpion are described on the basis of a single specimen collected in Tibet (China). This is the first liochelid scorpion found in the high Himalayan Mountains of Tibet, and the first example of the family to be collected out of its typical tropical and subtropical areas of distribution. Some considerations on mountain scorpions are proposed.

  2. Autoradiographic localization of voltage-dependent sodium channels on the mouse neuromuscular junction using /sup 125/I-alpha scorpion toxin. I. Preferential labeling of glial cells on the presynaptic side

    SciTech Connect

    Boudier, J.L.; Jover, E.; Cau, P.

    1988-05-01

    Alpha-scorpion toxins bind specifically to the voltage-sensitive sodium channel in excitable membranes, and binding is potential-dependent. The radioiodinated toxin II from the scorpion Androctonus australis Hector (alpha ScTx) was used to localize voltage-sensitive sodium channels on the presynaptic side of mouse neuromuscular junctions (NMJ) by autoradiography using both light and electron microscopy. Silver grain localization was analyzed by the cross-fire method. At the light-microscopic level, grain density over NMJ appeared 6-8x higher than over nonjunctional muscle membrane. The specificity of labeling was verified by competition/displacement with an excess of native alpha ScTx. Labeling was also inhibited by incubation in depolarizing conditions, showing its potential-dependence. At the electron-microscopic level, analysis showed that voltage-sensitive sodium channels labeled with alpha ScTx were almost exclusively localized on membranes, as expected. Due to washout after incubation, appreciable numbers of binding sites were not found on the postsynaptic membranes. However, on the presynaptic side, alpha ScTx-labeled voltage-sensitive sodium channels were localized on the membrane of non-myelin-forming Schwann cells covering NMJ. The axonal presynaptic membrane was not labeled. These results show that voltage-sensitive sodium channels are present on glial cells in vivo, as already demonstrated in vitro. It is proposed that these glial channels could be indirectly involved in the ionic homeostasis of the axonal environment.

  3. Optical properties of a scorpion (Centruroides limpidus)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ullrich, Bruno; Duckworth, Robyn M.; Singh, Akhilesh K.; Barik, Puspendu; Mejía-Villanueva, Vicente O.; Garcia-Pérez, Alberto C.

    2016-04-01

    Scorpions, elusive by nature, tend to appear nocturnally and are usually not appreciated when encountered. The exoskeleton is capable of fluorescing allowing for their detection at night in order to prevent undesirable encounters. The specificity of their fluorescing suggests specialized optical features. However, despite the blue-green fluorescence, to the best of our knowledge, no further results have been published on the optical properties of scorpions. Their exoskeletal structure whose versatility provides them protection, camouflage, and flexibility has not been studied under laser excitation and monochromatic light. The experiments reveal the nonlinear optical properties, infrared photoluminescence, and photoconductivity of the epicuticle of scorpions, demonstrating that the scorpion’s outer-covering is a prototype of a semiconducting inherently integrated multifunctional polymeric film with appealing potential applications such as optical logics, photonic frequency converters, novel multiplexers handling electronic and photonic inputs, and lasers.

  4. [The threat of snake and scorpion venoms].

    PubMed

    Płusa, Tadeusz; Smędzik, Katarzyna

    2015-09-01

    Venoms of snakes and scorpions pose a significant threat to the health and life of humans. The speed and range of their actions causes damage of the organ responsible for the maintenance of vital signs. Venomous snake venoms cause blood clotting disorders, tissue necrosis and hemolysis, and the release of a number of proinflammatory cytokines and impair antibody synthesis. Availability of antitoxins is limited and in the most cases supportive treatment is recommended. In turn, the venom of scorpions beside intestinal symptoms cause significant impairment of neuromuscular conduction, causing severe respiratory disorders. Action venom poses a particular threat to sensitive patients. The degree of threat to life caused by the venom of snakes and scorpions authorizes the treatment of these substances as a potential biological weapon.

  5. Pseudouroctonus maidu, a new species of scorpion from northern California (Scorpiones, Vaejovidae)

    PubMed Central

    Savary, Warren E.; Bryson Jr., Robert W.

    2016-01-01

    Abstract A new species of vaejovid scorpion from northern California, Pseudouroctonus maidu sp. n., is named and described. This new species appears to be most similar to Pseudouroctonus iviei (Gertsch & Soleglad, 1972) and Pseudouroctonus glimmei (Hjelle, 1972). PMID:27199594

  6. Assessing and managing spider and scorpion envenomation.

    PubMed

    McGhee, Stephen; Weiner, Aaron; Finnegan, Alan; Visovsky, Constance; Clochesy, John M; Graves, Brian

    2015-11-01

    Envenomation by spiders or scorpions is a public health problem in many parts of the world and is not isolated to the tropics and subtropics. Spiders and scorpions can be unintentionally transported globally, and keeping them as pets is becoming more popular, so envenomation can occur anywhere. Emergency nurses should be prepared to assess and treat patients who present with a bite or sting. This article gives an overview of the signs, symptoms and treatment of envenomation by species of arachnids that are clinically significant to humans.

  7. Activity trends and movement distances in the Arizona bark scorpion (Scorpiones: Buthidae).

    PubMed

    Bibbs, Christopher Stephen; Bengston, Sarah Elizabeth; Gouge, Dawn Heather

    2014-12-01

    The bark scorpion, Centruroides sculpturatus Ewing, is a nocturnal, cryptic, nonburrowing, mobile species that is common in urban landscapes spanning the desert southwest. Bark scorpions are often found in dense localized populations in cities, but the question of whether this is because the species is metabolically movement limited or choose to aggregate has not been addressed. Field observations lead us to believe that the scorpions move very little. Their ability to move is tested here. A circular pacing ring was constructed to observe the distance individuals could move in 2 h under both dark and light conditions. Observations under light motivate the arthropods to move, and significantly greater distances were observed in light trials, the maximum travel distance being 104.37 m, while the maximum distance in dark trials was 14.63 m. To monitor movement in the field, telemetry tags were used to mark female and male scorpions over 21 d during which relocation distances were recorded daily. Additionally, 12-h and 6-h overnight observational periods took place during which, scorpion movements were recorded hourly. Overall, it was found that scorpions moved significantly more in the pacing ring than in the field, indicating that field individuals are not moving at their maximum potential. Movement limitation does not explain their distribution pattern. In both the pacing ring and field, gender and pregnancy status had significant influence on distances moved. We conclude that C. sculpturatus is capable of much greater movement than is typically observed in the field.

  8. [Management of scorpion sting in Morocco].

    PubMed

    Bencheikh, R Soulaymani; Khattabi, A; Faraj, Z; Semlali, I

    2008-04-01

    Scorpion stings are the first cause of poisoning, and represent between 30 and 50% of all cases reported to the Moroccan Poison Control Centre. Concerned by the size of the problem, we have paid special attention to this pathology. Through retrospective and prospective studies, it has been possible to determine the nature and the chronology of clinical stages, as well as the epidemiological, clinical and therapeutic factors of gravity. On this basis, we worked out a new management to provide support for patients. This management will standardize support provided at the national level, and will reduce the number of lethal case and rationalize spending by reviewing medication, transfer of patients and hospital care. This standardization is an essential component of the national strategy against scorpion poisoning. Other components include training of medical staff, awareness campaigns, and information systems to monitor lethal cases. A survey over five years shows a reduction in the number of lethal cases and rationalization of costs. Medical care provided rests upon the distinction between patients stung by scorpions and patients actually poisoned. The first category of patients will be monitored up to four hours after the scorpion sting, while poisoned patients will be transferred to an intensive care unit.

  9. Target-Driven Evolution of Scorpion Toxins.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Shangfei; Gao, Bin; Zhu, Shunyi

    2015-10-07

    It is long known that peptide neurotoxins derived from a diversity of venomous animals evolve by positive selection following gene duplication, yet a force that drives their adaptive evolution remains a mystery. By using maximum-likelihood models of codon substitution, we analyzed molecular adaptation in scorpion sodium channel toxins from a specific species and found ten positively selected sites, six of which are located at the core-domain of scorpion α-toxins, a region known to interact with two adjacent loops in the voltage-sensor domain (DIV) of sodium channels, as validated by our newly constructed computational model of toxin-channel complex. Despite the lack of positive selection signals in these two loops, they accumulated extensive sequence variations by relaxed purifying selection in prey and predators of scorpions. The evolutionary variability in the toxin-bound regions of sodium channels indicates that accelerated substitutions in the multigene family of scorpion toxins is a consequence of dealing with the target diversity. This work presents an example of atypical co-evolution between animal toxins and their molecular targets, in which toxins suffered from more prominent selective pressure from the channels of their competitors. Our discovery helps explain the evolutionary rationality of gene duplication of toxins in a specific venomous species.

  10. Mucormycosis after scorpion sting: case report.

    PubMed

    Pourahmad, Morteza; Sepidkar, Abdolali; Farokhnia, Mohmmad H; Tadayon, Seyed M K; Salehi, Hassan; Zabetian, Hassan

    2013-09-01

    Mucor is a fungus, which give rise to opportunistic infection in immunocompromised patients. We described a 55-year-old immunocompetent woman with cutaneous mucormycosis after scorpion sting. Mucormycosis may happen in patients with intact immunity and is not allocated only to patients with immune deficiency.

  11. Scorpion venom components as potential candidates for drug development.

    PubMed

    Ortiz, Ernesto; Gurrola, Georgina B; Schwartz, Elisabeth Ferroni; Possani, Lourival D

    2015-01-01

    Scorpions are well known for their dangerous stings that can result in severe consequences for human beings, including death. Neurotoxins present in their venoms are responsible for their toxicity. Due to their medical relevance, toxins have been the driving force in the scorpion natural compounds research field. On the other hand, for thousands of years, scorpions and their venoms have been applied in traditional medicine, mainly in Asia and Africa. With the remarkable growth in the number of characterized scorpion venom components, several drug candidates have been found with the potential to tackle many of the emerging global medical threats. Scorpions have become a valuable source of biologically active molecules, from novel antibiotics to potential anticancer therapeutics. Other venom components have drawn attention as useful scaffolds for the development of drugs. This review summarizes the most promising candidates for drug development that have been isolated from scorpion venoms.

  12. Scorpions from Mexico: From Species Diversity to Venom Complexity

    PubMed Central

    Santibáñez-López, Carlos E.; Francke, Oscar F.; Ureta, Carolina; Possani, Lourival D.

    2015-01-01

    Scorpions are among the oldest terrestrial arthropods, which are distributed worldwide, except for Antarctica and some Pacific islands. Scorpion envenomation represents a public health problem in several parts of the world. Mexico harbors the highest diversity of scorpions in the world, including some of the world’s medically important scorpion species. The systematics and diversity of Mexican scorpion fauna has not been revised in the past decade; and due to recent and exhaustive collection efforts as part of different ongoing major revisionary systematic projects, our understanding of this diversity has changed compared with previous assessments. Given the presence of several medically important scorpion species, the study of their venom in the country is also important. In the present contribution, the diversity of scorpion species in Mexico is revised and updated based on several new systematic contributions; 281 different species are recorded. Commentaries on recent venomic, ecological and behavioral studies of Mexican scorpions are also provided. A list containing the most important peptides identified from 16 different species is included. A graphical representation of the different types of components found in these venoms is also revised. A map with hotspots showing the current knowledge on scorpion distribution and areas explored in Mexico is also provided. PMID:26712787

  13. Scorpions from Mexico: From Species Diversity to Venom Complexity.

    PubMed

    Santibáñez-López, Carlos E; Francke, Oscar F; Ureta, Carolina; Possani, Lourival D

    2015-12-24

    Scorpions are among the oldest terrestrial arthropods, which are distributed worldwide, except for Antarctica and some Pacific islands. Scorpion envenomation represents a public health problem in several parts of the world. Mexico harbors the highest diversity of scorpions in the world, including some of the world's medically important scorpion species. The systematics and diversity of Mexican scorpion fauna has not been revised in the past decade; and due to recent and exhaustive collection efforts as part of different ongoing major revisionary systematic projects, our understanding of this diversity has changed compared with previous assessments. Given the presence of several medically important scorpion species, the study of their venom in the country is also important. In the present contribution, the diversity of scorpion species in Mexico is revised and updated based on several new systematic contributions; 281 different species are recorded. Commentaries on recent venomic, ecological and behavioral studies of Mexican scorpions are also provided. A list containing the most important peptides identified from 16 different species is included. A graphical representation of the different types of components found in these venoms is also revised. A map with hotspots showing the current knowledge on scorpion distribution and areas explored in Mexico is also provided.

  14. Structural Insights into Antibody Sequestering and Neutralizing of Na+ Channel α-Type Modulator from Old World Scorpion Venom

    PubMed Central

    Fabrichny, Igor P.; Mondielli, Grégoire; Conrod, Sandrine; Martin-Eauclaire, Marie-France; Bourne, Yves; Marchot, Pascale

    2012-01-01

    The Old World scorpion Androctonus australis hector (Aah) produces one of the most lethal venoms for humans. Peptidic α-toxins AahI to AahIV are responsible for its potency, with AahII accounting for half of it. All four toxins are high affinity blockers of the fast inactivation phase of mammalian voltage-activated Na+ channels. However, the high antigenic polymorphism of α-toxins prevents production of a polyvalent neutralizing antiserum, whereas the determinants dictating their trapping by neutralizing antibodies remain elusive. From an anti-AahII mAb, we generated an antigen binding fragment (Fab) with high affinity and selectivity for AahII and solved a 2.3 Å-resolution crystal structure of the complex. Sequestering of the C-terminal region of the bound toxin within a groove formed by the Fab combining loops is associated with a toxin orientation and main and side chain conformations that dictate the AahII antigenic specificity and efficient neutralization. From an anti-AahI mAb, we also preformed and crystallized a high affinity AahI-Fab complex. The 1.6 Å-resolution structure solved revealed a Fab molecule devoid of a bound AahI and with combining loops involved in packing interactions, denoting expulsion of the bound antigen upon crystal formation. Comparative analysis of the groove-like combining site of the toxin-bound anti-AahII Fab and planar combining surface of the unbound anti-AahI Fab along with complementary data from a flexible docking approach suggests occurrence of distinctive trapping orientations for the two toxins relative to their respective Fab. This study provides complementary templates for designing new molecules aimed at capturing Aah α-toxins and suitable for immunotherapy. PMID:22371498

  15. Scorpion: Close Air Support (CAS) aircraft

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allen, Chris; Cheng, Rendy; Koehler, Grant; Lyon, Sean; Paguio, Cecilia

    1991-01-01

    The objective is to outline the results of the preliminary design of the Scorpion, a proposed close air support aircraft. The results obtained include complete preliminary analysis of the aircraft in the areas of aerodynamics, structures, avionics and electronics, stability and control, weight and balance, propulsion systems, and costs. A conventional wing, twin jet, twin-tail aircraft was chosen to maximize the desirable characteristics. The Scorpion will feature low speed maneuverability, high survivability, low cost, and low maintenance. The life cycle cost per aircraft will be 17.5 million dollars. The maximum takeoff weight will be 52,760 pounds. Wing loading will be 90 psf. The thrust to weight will be 0.6 lbs/lb. This aircraft meets the specified mission requirements. Some modifications have been suggested to further optimize the design.

  16. Transcriptome analysis of the venom gland of the Mexican scorpion Hadrurus gertschi (Arachnida: Scorpiones)

    PubMed Central

    Schwartz, Elisabeth F; Diego-Garcia, Elia; Rodríguez de la Vega, Ricardo C; Possani, Lourival D

    2007-01-01

    Background Scorpions like other venomous animals posses a highly specialized organ that produces, secretes and disposes the venom components. In these animals, the last postabdominal segment, named telson, contains a pair of venomous glands connected to the stinger. The isolation of numerous scorpion toxins, along with cDNA-based gene cloning and, more recently, proteomic analyses have provided us with a large collection of venom components sequences. However, all of them are secreted, or at least are predicted to be secretable gene products. Therefore very little is known about the cellular processes that normally take place inside the glands for production of the venom mixture. To gain insights into the scorpion venom gland biology, we have decided to perform a transcriptomic analysis by constructing a cDNA library and conducting a random sequencing screening of the transcripts. Results From the cDNA library prepared from a single venom gland of the scorpion Hadrurus gertschi, 160 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were analyzed. These transcripts were further clustered into 68 unique sequences (20 contigs and 48 singlets), with an average length of 919 bp. Half of the ESTs can be confidentially assigned as homologues of annotated gene products. Annotation of these ESTs, with the aid of Gene Ontology terms and homology to eukaryotic orthologous groups, reveals some cellular processes important for venom gland function; including high protein synthesis, tuned posttranslational processing and trafficking. Nonetheless, the main group of the identified gene products includes ESTs similar to known scorpion toxins or other previously characterized scorpion venom components, which account for nearly 60% of the identified proteins. Conclusion To the best of our knowledge this report contains the first transcriptome analysis of genes transcribed by the venomous gland of a scorpion. The data were obtained for the species Hadrurus gertschi, belonging to the family

  17. Analysis of scorpion venom composition by Raman Spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martínez-Zérega, Brenda E.; González-Solís, José L.

    2015-01-01

    In this work we study the venom of two Centruroides scorpion species using Raman spectroscopy. The spectra analysis allows to determine the venoms chemical composition and to establish the main differences and similarities among the species. It is also shown that the use of Principal Component Analysis may help to tell apart between the scorpion species.

  18. Humicolous buthoid scorpions: a new species from Brazilian Amazon.

    PubMed

    Lourenço, Wilson R

    2005-01-01

    A new species of humicolous buthid scorpion is described on the basis of a single specimen collected in the Brazilian Amazonia. New considerations on the taxonomy and biogeography of some micro-scorpions of the subfamily Ananterinae Pocock, 1900 are proposed in relation to their possible evolution from endogeous to epygean environments.

  19. Humicolous microcharmid scorpions: a new genus and species from Madagascar.

    PubMed

    Lourenço, Wilson R

    2004-01-01

    A new genus and species of humicolous microcharmid scorpion are described on the basis of a single specimen collected in the Ankarana Reserve, Madagascar. New considerations regarding the taxonomy and morphology of micro-buthoid Malagasy scorpions are proposed, based mainly on the study of the peg-shaped sensillae of the pectines by scanning electron microscopy.

  20. [Epidemiological data on scorpion envenomation in Algeria].

    PubMed

    Hellal, H; Guerinik, M; Griene, L; Laid, Y; Mesbah, S; Merad, R; Alamir, B

    2012-08-01

    The scorpion envenomation is a major public health problem in Algeria. Given this fact, the Ministry of Health has developed a national strategy for prevention and control based on the training of health personnel, information, education and communication, and standardization of care on the basis of a therapeutic consensus. The monitoring and evaluation activities are carried out by epidemiological indicators through the implementation of an information system based in the services of Epidemiology, INSP (National Institute of Public Health) and Prevention Department of the Health Ministry. The information carriers are report cards implemented in different health facilities that collect data on bites and deaths from scorpion envenomation. Summaries of notifications from the wilayas are collected monthly, and processed by the Epi info software using monitoring indicators. From 1991 to 2010, there has been a stagnation in the number of stings with an average of 50,000 cases per year, but mortality decreased from more than 100 deaths in the last fifty years to 50 nowadays. The higher proportion of stings was recorded during the summer period. The most affected group is from 15 to 49 years which constitute the workforce, but children from 5 to 14 years rank first in terms of mortality. But these rates vary across years and regions. Despite all these efforts, the scorpion envenomation in Algeria remains of concern and our main challenges are to strengthen cross-sectional actions at the local level and improving the quality of care.

  1. Divergent non-LTR retrotransposon lineages from the genomes of scorpions (Arachnida: Scorpiones).

    PubMed

    Glushkov, Sergei; Novikova, Olga; Blinov, Alexander; Fet, Victor

    2006-03-01

    We screened across the taxonomic diversity of order Scorpiones (22 species belonging to 21 genera and 10 families) for the presence of seven different clades of non-LTR retrotransposons in their genomes using PCR with newly designed clade-specific consensus-degenerate hybrid oligonucleotide primers. Scorpion genomes were found to contain four known non-LTR retrotransposon clades: R1, I, Jockey, and CR1. In total, 35 fragments of reverse transcriptase genes of new elements from 22 scorpion species were obtained and analyzed for three clades, Jockey, I, and CR1. Phylogenies of different clades of elements were built using amino acid sequences inferred from 33 non-LTR retrotransposon clones. Distinct evolutionary lineages, with several major groups of the non-LTR retroelements were identified, showing significant variation. Four lineages were revealed in Jockey clade. The phylogeny of I clade showed strong support for the monophyletic origin of such group of elements in scorpions. Three separate lineages can be distinguished in the phylogenetic tree of CR1 clade. The large fraction of the isolated elements appeared to be defective.

  2. Scorpion sheds 'tail' to escape: consequences and implications of autotomy in scorpions (Buthidae: Ananteris).

    PubMed

    Mattoni, Camilo I; García-Hernández, Solimary; Botero-Trujillo, Ricardo; Ochoa, José A; Ojanguren-Affilastro, Andrés A; Pinto-da-Rocha, Ricardo; Prendini, Lorenzo

    2015-01-01

    Autotomy, the voluntary shedding or detachment of a body part at a determined cleavage plane, is a common anti-predation defense mechanism in several animal taxa, including arthropods. Among arachnids, autotomy has been observed in harvestmen, mites, and spiders, always involving the loss of legs. Autotomy of the opisthosoma (abdomen) was recently reported in a single species of the Neotropical buthid scorpion genus Ananteris Thorell, 1891, but few details were revealed. Based on observations in the field and laboratory, examination of material in museum collections, and scanning electron microscopy, we document autotomy of the metasoma (the hind part of the opisthosoma, or 'tail') in fourteen species of Ananteris. Autotomy is more common in males than females, and has not been observed in juveniles. When the scorpion is held by the metasoma, it is voluntarily severed at the joints between metasomal segments I and II, II and III, or III and IV, allowing the scorpion to escape. After detachment, the severed metasoma moves (twitches) automatically, much like the severed tail of a lizard or the severed leg of a spider, and reacts to contact, even attempting to sting. The severed surface heals rapidly, scar tissue forming in five days. The lost metasomal segments and telson cannot be regenerated. Autotomy of the metasoma and telson results in permanent loss of the posterior part of the scorpion's digestive system (the anus is situated posteriorly on metasomal segment V) and the ability to inject venom by stinging. After autotomy, scorpions do not defecate and can only capture small prey items. However, males can survive and mate successfully for up to eight months in the laboratory. In spite of diminished predation ability after autotomy, survival allows males to reproduce. Autotomy in Ananteris therefore appears to be an effective, adaptive, anti-predation escape mechanism.

  3. Scorpion Biodiversity and Interslope Divergence at “Evolution Canyon”, Lower Nahal Oren Microsite, Mt. Carmel, Israel

    PubMed Central

    Raz, Shmuel; Retzkin, Sion; Pavlíček, Tomáš; Hoffman, Adam; Kimchi, Hagay; Beiles, Avigdor; Nevo, Eviatar

    2009-01-01

    Background Local natural laboratories, designated by us as the “Evolution Canyon” model, are excellent tools to study regional and global ecological dynamics across life. They present abiotic and biotic contrasts locally, permitting the pursuit of observations and experiments across diverse taxa sharing sharp microecological subdivisions. Higher solar radiation received by the “African savannah-like” south-facing slopes (AS) in canyons north of the equator than by the opposite “European maquis-like” north-facing slopes (ES) is associated with higher abiotic stress. Scorpions are a suitable taxon to study interslope biodiversity differences, associated with the differences in abiotic factors (climate, drought), due to their ability to adapt to dry environments. Methodology/Principal Findings Scorpions were studied by the turning stone method and by UV light methods. The pattern observed in scorpions was contrasted with similar patterns in several other taxa at the same place. As expected, the AS proved to be significantly more speciose regarding scorpions, paralleling the interslope patterns in taxa such as lizards and snakes, butterflies (Rhopalocera), beetles (families Tenebrionidae, Dermestidae, Chrysomelidae), and grasshoppers (Orthoptera). Conclusions/Significance Our results support an earlier conclusion stating that the homogenizing effects of migration and stochasticity are not able to eliminate the interslope intra- and interspecific differences in biodiversity despite an interslope distance of only 100 m at the “EC” valley bottom. In our opinion, the interslope microclimate selection, driven mainly by differences in insolance, could be the primary factor responsible for the observed interslope pattern. PMID:19357787

  4. Epidemiology of Scorpionism in Iran during 2009

    PubMed Central

    Rafizadeh, Sina; Rafinejad, Javad; Rassi, Yavar

    2013-01-01

    Background: Scorpion sting is a major health problem in Iran. The aim of current study was to measure the incidence rates of scorpion stings, mortality, recovery, and affected age groups. The results of treatment with and without anti venom also were considered in the entire country during 2009. Methods: All the data were collected from emergency section of different hospitals and then were analyzed by related software. The responsibility of such data collection and surveillance is related to the Department of Violence and Injury, Ministry of Health and Medical Education of Iran. Results: A total incidence of 59.5/100000 was found for the 12-month period. During the study period the most and the least cases were reported from Khuzestan and Mazandaran Provinces with incidence of 541 and 0 per 100000 respectively. Totally 40220 anti venom vials were used, i.e., the ratio of 91 vial/ 100 affected cases. The stings occur mainly in rural areas (57.7%). Young people with the age group of 15–24 years old were the most victims of stings. The mortality and recovery rates of cases who had received anti venom less than 6 h of stings were calculated as 0.01% and 99.9% respectively. Conclusion: The high incidence of scorpion stings in Iran especially in Khuzestan suggests the necessity of preventive programmes for decreasing the incidence. Such programmes could start by community educating in the high prevalent areas. In addition prompt and local treatment is particularly important for infants and pre-school children. PMID:23785696

  5. Evidence of duplicated Hox genes in the most recent common ancestor of extant scorpions.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Prashant P; Santiago, Marc A; González-Santillán, Edmundo; Monod, Lionel; Wheeler, Ward C

    2015-01-01

    Scorpions (order Scorpiones) are unusual among arthropods, both for the extreme heteronomy of their bauplan and for the high gene family turnover exhibited in their genomes. These phenomena appear to be correlated, as two scorpion species have been shown to possess nearly twice the number of Hox genes present in most arthropods. Segmentally offset anterior expression boundaries of a subset of Hox paralogs have been shown to correspond to transitions in segmental identities in the scorpion posterior tagmata, suggesting that posterior heteronomy in scorpions may have been achieved by neofunctionalization of Hox paralogs. However, both the first scorpion genome sequenced and the developmental genetic data are based on exemplars of Buthidae, one of 19 families of scorpions. It is therefore not known whether Hox paralogy is limited to Buthidae or widespread among scorpions. We surveyed 24 high throughput transcriptomes and the single whole genome available for scorpions, in order to test the prediction that Hox gene duplications are common to the order. We used gene tree parsimony to infer whether the paralogy was consistent with a duplication event in the scorpion common ancestor. Here we show that duplicated Hox genes in non-buthid scorpions occur in six of the ten Hox classes. Gene tree topologies and parsimony-based reconciliation of the gene trees are consistent with a duplication event in the most recent common ancestor of scorpions. These results suggest that a Hox paralogy, and by extension the model of posterior patterning established in a buthid, can be extended to non-Buthidae scorpions.

  6. Scorpion venom peptides with no disulfide bridges: a review.

    PubMed

    Almaaytah, Ammar; Albalas, Qosay

    2014-01-01

    Scorpion venoms are rich sources of biologically active peptides that are classified into disulfide-bridged peptides (DBPs) and non-disulfide-bridged peptides (NDBPs). DBPs are the main scorpion venom components responsible for the neurotoxic effects observed during scorpion envenomation as they usually target membrane bound ion channels of excitable and non-excitable cells. Several hundred DBPs have been identified and functionally characterized in the past two decades. The NDBPs represent a novel group of molecules that have gained great interest only recently due to their high diversity both in their primary structures and bioactivities. This review provides an overview of scorpion NDBPs focusing on their therapeutic applications, modes of discovery, mechanisms of NDBPs genetic diversity and structural properties. It also provides a simple classification for NDBPs that could be adopted and applied to other NDBPs identified in future studies.

  7. Scorpion Venom and the Inflammatory Response

    PubMed Central

    Petricevich, Vera L.

    2010-01-01

    Scorpion venoms consist of a complex of several toxins that exhibit a wide range of biological properties and actions, as well as chemical compositions, toxicity, and pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic characteristics. These venoms are associated with high morbility and mortality, especially among children. Victims of envenoming by a scorpion suffer a variety of pathologies, involving mainly both sympathetic and parasympathetic stimulation as well as central manifestations such as irritability, hyperthermia, vomiting, profuse salivation, tremor, and convulsion. The clinical signs and symptoms observed in humans and experimental animals are related with an excessive systemic host inflammatory response to stings and stings, respectively. Although the pathophysiology of envenomation is complex and not yet fully understood, venom and immune responses are known to trigger the release of inflammatory mediators that are largely mediated by cytokines. In models of severe systemic inflammation produced by injection of high doses of venom or venoms products, the increase in production of proinflammatory cytokines significantly contributes to immunological imbalance, multiple organ dysfunction and death. The cytokines initiate a cascade of events that lead to illness behaviors such as fever, anorexia, and also physiological events in the host such as activation of vasodilatation, hypotension, and increased of vessel permeability. PMID:20300540

  8. S-alkylation of soft scorpionates.

    PubMed

    Rajasekharan-Nair, Rajeev; Moore, Dean; Chalmers, Kirsten; Wallace, Dawn; Diamond, Louise M; Darby, Lisa; Armstrong, David R; Reglinski, John; Spicer, Mark D

    2013-02-11

    The alkylation reactions of soft scorpionates are reported. The hydrotris(S-alkyl-methimazolyl)borate dications (alkyl = methyl, allyl, benzyl), which were prepared by the reaction of Tm(Me) anion and primary alkyl halides, have been isolated and structurally characterised. The reaction is, however, not universally successful. DFT analysis of these alkylation reactions (C=S versus B-H alkylation) indicates that the observed outcome is driven by kinetic factors. Extending the study to incorporate alternative imine thiones (mercaptobenzothiazole, bz; thiazoline, tz) led to the structural characterisation of di[aquo-μ-aquohydrotris(mercaptobenzothiazolyl)boratosodium], which contains sodium atoms in the κ(3)-S,S,S coordination mode. Alkylation of Na[Tbz] and Na[tzTtz] leads to decomposition resulting in the formation of the simple S-alkylated heterocycles. The analysis of the species involved in these reactions shows an inherent weakness in the B-N bond in soft scorpionates, which has implications for their use in more advanced chemistry.

  9. Scorpion Sheds ‘Tail’ to Escape: Consequences and Implications of Autotomy in Scorpions (Buthidae: Ananteris)

    PubMed Central

    Mattoni, Camilo I.; García-Hernández, Solimary; Botero-Trujillo, Ricardo; Ochoa, José A.; Ojanguren-Affilastro, Andrés A.; Pinto-da-Rocha, Ricardo; Prendini, Lorenzo

    2015-01-01

    Autotomy, the voluntary shedding or detachment of a body part at a determined cleavage plane, is a common anti-predation defense mechanism in several animal taxa, including arthropods. Among arachnids, autotomy has been observed in harvestmen, mites, and spiders, always involving the loss of legs. Autotomy of the opisthosoma (abdomen) was recently reported in a single species of the Neotropical buthid scorpion genus Ananteris Thorell, 1891, but few details were revealed. Based on observations in the field and laboratory, examination of material in museum collections, and scanning electron microscopy, we document autotomy of the metasoma (the hind part of the opisthosoma, or ‘tail’) in fourteen species of Ananteris. Autotomy is more common in males than females, and has not been observed in juveniles. When the scorpion is held by the metasoma, it is voluntarily severed at the joints between metasomal segments I and II, II and III, or III and IV, allowing the scorpion to escape. After detachment, the severed metasoma moves (twitches) automatically, much like the severed tail of a lizard or the severed leg of a spider, and reacts to contact, even attempting to sting. The severed surface heals rapidly, scar tissue forming in five days. The lost metasomal segments and telson cannot be regenerated. Autotomy of the metasoma and telson results in permanent loss of the posterior part of the scorpion’s digestive system (the anus is situated posteriorly on metasomal segment V) and the ability to inject venom by stinging. After autotomy, scorpions do not defecate and can only capture small prey items. However, males can survive and mate successfully for up to eight months in the laboratory. In spite of diminished predation ability after autotomy, survival allows males to reproduce. Autotomy in Ananteris therefore appears to be an effective, adaptive, anti-predation escape mechanism. PMID:25629529

  10. Model for simulating scorpion substrate vibration and detection system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sadiq, B. A.; Aibinu, A. M.; Joseph, E.; Salau, H. B.; Salami, M. J. E.

    2013-12-01

    Scorpion stings are vital health issues which requires prompt attention to minimize the pain inflicted on victims and avert death. A possible solution in averting the sting is the capability of detecting its presence earlier before it stings. Scorpion like other arthropods have a specific kind of movement pattern called substrate vibration, which generates a specific signal that is used in recognizing and locating mates and preys. This paper aims at developing an intelligent scorpion detection system using vibration frequency detection technique. A six step model for simulating scorpion substrate vibration and detection has been proposed. The surrounding vibrating signal is acquired and passed through a band pass filter. The resulting signal is model using autoregressive modeling technique. Resulting co-efficients are further analyzed for activity detection. The frequency response of scorpion activities for mating behaviour was simulated, detected analysed using MATLAB environment. The resulting coefficients was also compared and analysed. Results obtained shows that the proposed technique is appropriate for model and simulating scorpion substrate vibration and detection system.

  11. Scorpion Toxin Polyptides as Therapeutic Agents: An Overview.

    PubMed

    Bhavya, Janardhan; Francois, Niyonzima N; More, Veena S; More, Sunil S

    2016-01-01

    Scorpions are distributed throughout the world and numerous biological molecules are found in their venom most importantly peptide toxins. These toxins modulate the ion channels either by blocking the pore of the channel or by altering the voltage gating. Molecules which block the pores have been useful in deciphering the structure of the ion channels. Many scorpion toxins have already been used for probing the voltage gated sodium channels and studying their activation and inactivation processes. The specialty of scorpion toxins is to discriminate between vertebrate and invertebrate channels which have led them to applications as pharmacological tools. Most of the scorpion toxin polypeptides were isolated, characterized and were shown to possess vital properties useful in the field of medicine. For instance, they show therapeutic properties such as antimicrobial activity, anticancer activity, used to treat autoimmune diseases and cardiovascular effects. Although the scorpion toxins exhibited good therapeutic effects in vitro and in vivo, no one has reached the market with success up to date. In this mini-review, the scorpion polypeptides, their interactions with ion channels and their uses as therapeutic agents are discussed.

  12. Scorpion sting prevention and treatment in ancient Iran

    PubMed Central

    Dehghani, Rouhullah; Arani, Mohammad Ghannaee

    2015-01-01

    Due to the medical and therapeutic importance of scorpions in Iranian traditional medicine, this review was conducted on the treatment of scorpion sting as performed by traditional healers in order to realize complications, clinical manifestations, diversities, and deficiencies in the prevention, control, and treatment as mentioned in the pertained literatures. This study tried to make known and investigate attitudes of the Iranian national and traditional medicine towards controlling these venomous animals. Keywords and articles were searched through relevant sites on the Internet. We investigated different journals and references for the Iranian traditional medicine. Based on the articles and books found, we tried to find suitable solutions to problems from the viewpoint of traditional medicine. Scorpion sting dates back to ancient Iran and has been widely reflected in the resources of Iranian traditional medicine. The traditional medicine offers various guidelines that can be beneficial in this respect. New attitude towards scorpion sting with regard to traditional medicine resources can enhance control and prevention of scorpion stings. Consequently, this attitude leads authorities and researchers to a decreased level of scorpion stings or related consequences. PMID:26151015

  13. Extreme diversity of scorpion venom peptides and proteins revealed by transcriptomic analysis: implication for proteome evolution of scorpion venom arsenal.

    PubMed

    Ma, Yibao; He, Yawen; Zhao, Ruiming; Wu, Yingliang; Li, Wenxin; Cao, Zhijian

    2012-02-16

    Venom is an important genetic development crucial to the survival of scorpions for over 400 million years. We studied the evolution of the scorpion venom arsenal by means of comparative transcriptome analysis of venom glands and phylogenetic analysis of shared types of venom peptides and proteins between buthids and euscorpiids. Fifteen types of venom peptides and proteins were sequenced during the venom gland transcriptome analyses of two Buthidae species (Lychas mucronatus and Isometrus maculatus) and one Euscorpiidae species (Scorpiops margerisonae). Great diversity has been observed in translated amino acid sequences of these transcripts for venom peptides and proteins. Seven types of venom peptides and proteins were shared between buthids and euscorpiids. Molecular phylogenetic analysis revealed that at least five of the seven common types of venom peptides and proteins were likely recruited into the scorpion venom proteome before the lineage split between Buthidae and Euscorpiidae with their corresponding genes undergoing individual or multiple gene duplication events. These are α-KTxs, βKSPNs (β-KTxs and scorpines), anionic peptides, La1-like peptides, and SPSVs (serine proteases from scorpion venom). Multiple types of venom peptides and proteins were demonstrated to be continuously recruited into the venom proteome during the evolution process of individual scorpion lineages. Our results provide an insight into the recruitment pattern of the scorpion venom arsenal for the first time.

  14. Serum level of scorpion toxins, electrolytes and electrocardiogram alterations in Mexican children envenomed by scorpion sting.

    PubMed

    Osnaya-Romero, N; Acosta-Saavedra, L C; Goytia-Acevedo, R; Lares-Asseff, I; Basurto-Celaya, G; Perez-Guille, G; Possani, L D; Calderón-Aranda, E S

    2016-11-01

    The scorpion Centruroides limpidus limpidus (C.l.l.) is endemic in México, producing hundreds of accidents in humans; children being one of the most susceptible targets. Few studies reported that severe envenoming by scorpion venom induces cardiac damage and electrolytes abnormalities in children, but the relationship of envenoming severity and toxic blood levels is unknown. The aim of this study was to determine the relationship among clinical status of envenoming, serum electrolyte, electrocardiographic abnormalities, and serum toxin levels in 44 children stung by scorpion over a period of 6 months in the State of Morelos, Mexico. The patients were said to be asymptomatic, when they presented just local symptoms, and were said to be symptomatic when showing local symptoms and at least one systemic symptom. The clinical status was evaluated at the admission at the emergency room of the Hospital, and 30 min after the administration of polyspecific F(ab')2 anti-scorpion therapy to symptomatic children. Forty-one percent of the children were asymptomatic and 59% symptomatic. Potassium and sodium imbalance and an elongation of the QT interval were detected; the rate of hypokalemia was higher in symptomatic than on asymptomatic children (50% and 6%, respectively). Hypokalemia persisted in 19% in symptomatic patients, whereas sodium reached normal levels 30 min after anti-venom therapy. The hypokalemia statistically correlated with elongation of the QT interval. The concentration of the toxic components of C.l.l in serum was significantly higher in symptomatic than asymptomatic children, and the serum levels of the toxic component significantly decreased to undetectable levels after the application of anti-venom therapy. Despite the small size of the sample, this study establishes that severity of envenoming was statistically related to potassium imbalance in serum, QT interval and the concentration of toxic components in serum, which decreased at undetectable levels

  15. Development of segments and appendages in embryos of the desert scorpion Paruroctonus mesaensis (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae).

    PubMed

    Farley, R D

    2001-10-01

    The scanning electron microscope was used to study the changing features of scorpion embryos from the blastula through early stages in the development of appendages. The earliest scorpion fossils (Silurian period) have structures more advanced than the embryos herein, so the possibility is considered that these embryos still retain and display some features indicative of evolutionary patterns in adult pre-Silurian ancestors. The blastodisc stage is followed by a knob-like germinal center that gives rise to most of the embryo body. The germinal center elongates on the ventral surface of the spherical yolk mass. The broad cephalic lobe is first delineated from the following pedipalpal segment. The limbbuds for the pedipalps and anterior walking legs appear, as additional segments are added at a growth zone at the rear of the embryo body. Initially, in the cephalic lobe there are no limbbuds; then the cheliceral buds emerge from the posterior part of the lobe. The stomodeum appears first in the anterior half of the cephalic lobe, but an oral groove forms and the mouth is displaced posteriorly within the groove. This repositioning allows space anteriorly for invagination (semilunar grooves) of epithelium for the brain and medial eyes. The mouth is directed ventrally in all stages of this study. The widespread chelicerae are initially posterior to the mouth, but later move anterior and dorsal to it. Small limbbud bulges on mesosomal segments disappear later and never become protruding appendages. Metasomal segments are produced free from the yolk surface in a ventral flexure beneath the embryo body. The telson starts as two spherical lobes, but later elongates and tapers distally, not yet developing the sharp sting (aculeus) seen in Silurian and all subsequent scorpions. The walking legs are digitigrade, as in most fossil aquatic scorpions. Segments are delineated in the appendages; the chelicerae and pedipalps are divided distally for chela (claw) formation. Bilateral

  16. 78 FR 32274 - Scorpion Pier Replacement Project, Channel Islands National Park, Santa Barbara County, California

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-05-29

    ... National Park Service Scorpion Pier Replacement Project, Channel Islands National Park, Santa Barbara... analysis process for the proposed replacement and potential relocation of the existing Scorpion Pier at..., Attn: Scorpion Pier Project, 1901 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura, CA 93001 or electronically to...

  17. Lizard Bite Masquerading as Scorpion Sting Envenomation

    PubMed Central

    Neelannavar, Ramesh; Patil, Shankargouda; Lakhkar, Bhavana; Shegji, Vijaykumar

    2016-01-01

    Lizard bite is very infrequent in children. Lizards tend to avoid confrontation. Bites are only inflicted when they are manipulated or when they are cornered and feel threatened. Lizard bites may be frightening but most do not cause serious health problems. The wall lizard or gecko, found in most homes, is not poisonous at all. It only checks insect population. A two-year-old boy was brought with history of lizard bite over right hand when he was trying to capture it. The child had experienced excessive sweating and irritability within two hours of bite. He was treated with supportive care. Prazosin hydrochloride was administered in the dose of 30μ/kg as his symptoms mimicked the autonomic storm which is typically seen with scorpion sting envenomation. To the best of our knowledge autonomic storm following lizard bite has not been reported in the Indian literature so far. PMID:28050465

  18. Approaches to the treatment of scorpion envenoming.

    PubMed

    Freire-Maia, L; Campos, J A; Amaral, C F

    1994-09-01

    A total of 3866 patients stung by Tityus serrulatus scorpion was admitted to Hospital João XXIII, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, over a 16-year period (an average of 241 cases per year). Of these, 73% were adults and 27% were children aged less than 14 years. The moderate or benign cases were treated with symptomatic measures and/or i.v. antivenom, whereas 168 severely envenomed children were treated in the Intensive Care Unit. Lung oedema was unilateral in several cases, with the presence of air bronchograms and a peripheral distribution, suggesting that a noncardiogenic factor is also involved in the genesis of lung oedema. The treatment consisted of symptomatic measures, support of vital functions and i.v. antivenom. The mortality was 1% among children and 0.28% for the total number of patients.

  19. Biotechnological Trends in Spider and Scorpion Antivenom Development

    PubMed Central

    Laustsen, Andreas Hougaard; Solà, Mireia; Jappe, Emma Christine; Oscoz, Saioa; Lauridsen, Line Præst; Engmark, Mikael

    2016-01-01

    Spiders and scorpions are notorious for their fearful dispositions and their ability to inject venom into prey and predators, causing symptoms such as necrosis, paralysis, and excruciating pain. Information on venom composition and the toxins present in these species is growing due to an interest in using bioactive toxins from spiders and scorpions for drug discovery purposes and for solving crystal structures of membrane-embedded receptors. Additionally, the identification and isolation of a myriad of spider and scorpion toxins has allowed research within next generation antivenoms to progress at an increasingly faster pace. In this review, the current knowledge of spider and scorpion venoms is presented, followed by a discussion of all published biotechnological efforts within development of spider and scorpion antitoxins based on small molecules, antibodies and fragments thereof, and next generation immunization strategies. The increasing number of discovery and development efforts within this field may point towards an upcoming transition from serum-based antivenoms towards therapeutic solutions based on modern biotechnology. PMID:27455327

  20. Pedipalps and venom vesicle anomalies in two families of scorpions (Scorpiones: Hemiscorpiidae, Buthidae) from Iran.

    PubMed

    Jahanifard, E; Navidpour, Sh; Masihipour, B

    2008-01-15

    The developmental anomalies are reported in this study. The first and second abnormally are presented in right pedipalps of Paraorthochirus and Orthochirus (Buthidae) while Paraorthochirus pedipalp just includes coxa, trochanter and without other parts (femur, patella, movable and fixed finger). The right pedipalp of Orthochirus specimen has abnormally too; it has all parts ofpedipalp except complete fixed finger. In both of scorpions, the left pedipalp is normal. Another case is present in venom vesicle of Hemiscourpius (Hemiscorpiidae). Pictures and morphometric measurements for three specimens are given.

  1. A checklist of the scorpions of Ecuador (Arachnida: Scorpiones), with notes on the distribution and medical significance of some species.

    PubMed

    Brito, Gabriel; Borges, Adolfo

    2015-01-01

    Ecuador harbors one of the most diverse Neotropical scorpion faunas, hereby updated to 47 species contained within eight genera and five families, which inhabits the "Costa" (n = 17), "Sierra" (n = 34), "Oriente" (n = 16) and "Insular" (n = 2) biogeographical regions, corresponding to the western coastal, Andean, Amazonian, and the Galápagos archipelago regions, respectively. The genus Tityus Koch, in the family Buthidae, responsible for severe/fatal accidents elsewhere in northern South America and the Amazonia, is represented in Ecuador by 16 species, including T. asthenes, which has caused fatalities in Colombia and Panama, and now in the Ecuadorian provinces of Morona Santiago and Sucumbíos. Underestimation of the medical significance of scorpion envenoming in Ecuador arises from the fact that Centruroides margaritatus (Gervais) (family Buthidae) and Teuthraustes atramentarius Simon (family Chactidae), whose venoms show low toxicity towards vertebrates, frequently envenom humans in the highly populated Guayas and Pichincha provinces. This work also updates the local scorpion faunal endemicity (74.5 %) and its geographical distribution, and reviews available medical/biochemical information on each species in the light of the increasing problem of scorpionism in the country. A proposal is hereby put forward to classify the Ecuadorian scorpions based on their potential medical importance.

  2. [Microbial diversity in scorpion intestine (Buthus martensii Karsch)].

    PubMed

    Wang, Bao-Jun; Liu, Ying; Jiang, Jia-Tong; Liu, Bin; Liu, Shuang-Jiang

    2007-10-01

    Scorpion is an important officinal animal, and has a high nutritional value. In this study, the culture-independent and culture-dependent methods were used to investigate the microbial diversity in the scorpion's intestine. Results based on culture-independent method showed the bacteria to be related to alpha, beta, gamma-proteobacteria. Bacteria isolated by the culture-dependent method were high G + C, gram-positive bacteria. The genera Enterobacter, Serratia and Ochrobactrum were detected by both methods. To sum up the results from the two methods, the bacteria in scorpion intestine belong to 23 genera, which are Enterobacter, Serratia, Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Aeromonas, Citrobacter, Pedobacter, Delftia, Ralstonia, Ochrobactrum, Sphingomonas, Exiguobacterium, Gordonia, Nocardia, Rhodococcus, Janibacte, Kocuria, Micrococcus, Agromyces, Microbacterium, Agrococcus, Deinococcus, Ornithinimicrobium, and some uncultured species. The two methods have both advantages and shortcomings. However, when used simultaneously, they complement each other.

  3. Acute renal insufficiency and toxic hepatitis following scorpions sting.

    PubMed

    Krkic-Dautovic, Sajma; Begovic, Begler

    2007-01-01

    Scorpion sting is a huge medical problem in countries of South America, Arabian Peninsula and Africa. In countries of Mediterranean region, where Bosnia and Herzegovina belongs, this problem is sporadic. Following the sting of very poisonous red scorpions, death may occur inside of 48 hours by reason of cardiac arrest and acute renal insufficiency (ARI). In our work we represent a case of 54-years old man. In his case, ARI and toxic hepatitis developed inside of 24 hours after the scorpion sting. Applied conservative therapy was not sufficient enough to solve ARI, so patient needed haemodialysis. With intensive conservative therapy and haemodialysis applied every other day, ARI and toxic hepatitis were solved within 25 days. After that, patient was released from hospital for ambulant treatment.

  4. Whole Transcriptome of the Venom Gland from Urodacus yaschenkoi Scorpion

    PubMed Central

    Juárez-González, Víctor Rivelino; Possani, Lourival D.

    2015-01-01

    Australian scorpion venoms have been poorly studied, probably because they do not pose an evident threat to humans. In addition, the continent has other medically important venomous animals capable of causing serious health problems. Urodacus yaschenkoi belongs to the most widely distributed family of Australian scorpions (Urodacidae) and it is found all over the continent, making it a useful model system for studying venom composition and evolution. This communication reports the whole set of mRNA transcripts produced by the venom gland. U. yaschenkoi venom is as complex as its overseas counterparts. These transcripts certainly code for several components similar to known scorpion venom components, such as: alpha-KTxs, beta-KTxs, calcins, protease inhibitors, antimicrobial peptides, sodium-channel toxins, toxin-like peptides, allergens, La1-like, hyaluronidases, ribosomal proteins, proteasome components and proteins related to cellular processes. A comparison with the venom gland transcriptome of Centruroides noxius (Buthidae) showed that these two scorpions have similar components related to biological processes, although important differences occur among the venom toxins. In contrast, a comparison with sequences reported for Urodacus manicatus revealed that these two Urodacidae species possess the same subfamily of scorpion toxins. A comparison with sequences of an U. yaschenkoi cDNA library previously reported by our group showed that both techniques are reliable for the description of the venom components, but the whole transcriptome generated with Next Generation Sequencing platform provides sequences of all transcripts expressed. Several of which were identified in the proteome, but many more transcripts were identified including uncommon transcripts. The information reported here constitutes a reference for non-Buthidae scorpion venoms, providing a comprehensive view of genes that are involved in venom production. Further, this work identifies new putative

  5. Whole Transcriptome of the Venom Gland from Urodacus yaschenkoi Scorpion.

    PubMed

    Luna-Ramírez, Karen; Quintero-Hernández, Verónica; Juárez-González, Víctor Rivelino; Possani, Lourival D

    2015-01-01

    Australian scorpion venoms have been poorly studied, probably because they do not pose an evident threat to humans. In addition, the continent has other medically important venomous animals capable of causing serious health problems. Urodacus yaschenkoi belongs to the most widely distributed family of Australian scorpions (Urodacidae) and it is found all over the continent, making it a useful model system for studying venom composition and evolution. This communication reports the whole set of mRNA transcripts produced by the venom gland. U. yaschenkoi venom is as complex as its overseas counterparts. These transcripts certainly code for several components similar to known scorpion venom components, such as: alpha-KTxs, beta-KTxs, calcins, protease inhibitors, antimicrobial peptides, sodium-channel toxins, toxin-like peptides, allergens, La1-like, hyaluronidases, ribosomal proteins, proteasome components and proteins related to cellular processes. A comparison with the venom gland transcriptome of Centruroides noxius (Buthidae) showed that these two scorpions have similar components related to biological processes, although important differences occur among the venom toxins. In contrast, a comparison with sequences reported for Urodacus manicatus revealed that these two Urodacidae species possess the same subfamily of scorpion toxins. A comparison with sequences of an U. yaschenkoi cDNA library previously reported by our group showed that both techniques are reliable for the description of the venom components, but the whole transcriptome generated with Next Generation Sequencing platform provides sequences of all transcripts expressed. Several of which were identified in the proteome, but many more transcripts were identified including uncommon transcripts. The information reported here constitutes a reference for non-Buthidae scorpion venoms, providing a comprehensive view of genes that are involved in venom production. Further, this work identifies new putative

  6. Microallopatry caused strong diversification in Buthus scorpions (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in the Atlas Mountains (NW Africa).

    PubMed

    Habel, Jan C; Husemann, Martin; Schmitt, Thomas; Zachos, Frank E; Honnen, Ann-Christin; Petersen, Britt; Parmakelis, Aristeidis; Stathi, Iasmi

    2012-01-01

    The immense biodiversity of the Atlas Mountains in North Africa might be the result of high rates of microallopatry caused by mountain barriers surpassing 4000 meters leading to patchy habitat distributions. We test the influence of geographic structures on the phylogenetic patterns among Buthus scorpions using mtDNA sequences. We sampled 91 individuals of the genus Buthus from 51 locations scattered around the Atlas Mountains (Antiatlas, High Atlas, Middle Atlas and Jebel Sahro). We sequenced 452 bp of the Cytochrome Oxidase I gene which proved to be highly variable within and among Buthus species. Our phylogenetic analysis yielded 12 distinct genetic groups one of which comprised three subgroups mostly in accordance with the orographic structure of the mountain systems. Main clades overlap with each other, while subclades are distributed parapatrically. Geographic structures likely acted as long-term barriers among populations causing restriction of gene flow and allowing for strong genetic differentiation. Thus, genetic structure and geographical distribution of genetic (sub)clusters follow the classical theory of allopatric differentiation where distinct groups evolve without range overlap until reproductive isolation and ecological differentiation has built up. Philopatry and low dispersal ability of Buthus scorpions are the likely causes for the observed strong genetic differentiation at this small geographic scale.

  7. Asymmetric pulmonary edema after scorpion sting: a case report.

    PubMed

    Razi, Ebrahim; Malekanrad, Elaheh

    2008-01-01

    A 12-year-old boy was referred with acute asymmetric pulmonary edema (APE) four-hour after scorpion sting to Emergency department. On admission, the main clinical manifestations were: dyspnea, tachypnea, and tachycardia. Chest x-ray revealed APE predominantly on the right hemithorax. The patient was treated with oxygen, intravenous frusemide and digoxin and discharged on the sixth hospital day in a good condition. This case report emphasizes the occurrence of asymmetric pulmonary edema after severe scorpion envenomation within few hours immediately after the sting.

  8. Prazosin treatment in the management of scorpion envenomation.

    PubMed

    Peker, Erdal; Oktar, Suleyman; Dogan, Murat; Kaya, Ergun; Duru, Mehmet

    2010-03-01

    Scorpion stings represent an important and serious public health problem worldwide due to their high incidence and potentially severe and often fatal clinical manifestations. Children are at greater risk of developing severe cardiac, respiratory, and neurological complications due to lesser body surface area. Alpha receptor stimulation plays important role in the pathogenesis of pulmonary edema. Prazosin, a post synaptic alpha blocker, can be recommended as an effective drug in the treatment of serious scorpion envenomations with significant sympathetic symptoms. Oral prazosin is fast acting, easily available, relatively cheap, free from any anaphylaxis and highly effective.

  9. [Snakes, scorpions and other poisonous creatures: prophylaxis and emergency medicine].

    PubMed

    Mebs, D

    2006-06-29

    Most cases of poisoning by animals are caused by snakes, spiders or scorpions. In addition to"first aid" such as calming the victim and immobilization of the bitten limb, other measures include monitoring vital functions and rapid transportation to hospital as dictated by the symptoms presenting, and, where indicated, injection of an antiserum (identification of the animal concerned). On no account should the bite wound be cut or attempts made to suck out the venom. While the sting of a scorpion or a spider bite often do not lead to severe complications in adults, a brush with a poisonous snake may be much more serious.

  10. Scorpion peptides: potential use for new drug development.

    PubMed

    Hmed, Bennasr; Serria, Hammami Turky; Mounir, Zeghal Khaled

    2013-01-01

    Several peptides contained in scorpion fluids showed diverse array of biological activities with high specificities to their targeted sites. Many investigations outlined their potent effects against microbes and showed their potential to modulate various biological mechanisms that are involved in immune, nervous, cardiovascular, and neoplastic diseases. Because of their important structural and functional diversity, it is projected that scorpion-derived peptides could be used to develop new specific drugs. This review summarizes relevant findings improving their use as valuable tools for new drugs development.

  11. Global Transcriptome Analysis of the Scorpion Centruroides noxius: New Toxin Families and Evolutionary Insights from an Ancestral Scorpion Species

    PubMed Central

    Rendón-Anaya, Martha; Delaye, Luis; Possani, Lourival D.; Herrera-Estrella, Alfredo

    2012-01-01

    Scorpion venoms have been studied for decades, leading to the identification of hundreds of different toxins with medical and pharmacological implications. However, little emphasis has been given to the description of these arthropods from cellular and evolutionary perspectives. In this report, we describe a transcriptomic analysis of the Mexican scorpion Centruroides noxius Hoffmann, performed with a pyrosequencing platform. Three independent sequencing experiments were carried out, each including three different cDNA libraries constructed from RNA extracted from the whole body of the scorpion after telson removal, and from the venom gland before and after venom extraction. Over three million reads were obtained and assembled in almost 19000 isogroups. Within the telson-specific sequences, 72 isogroups (0.4% of total unique transcripts) were found to be similar to toxins previously reported in other scorpion species, spiders and sea anemones. The annotation pipeline also revealed the presence of important elements of the small non-coding RNA processing machinery, as well as microRNA candidates. A phylogenomic analysis of concatenated essential genes evidenced differential evolution rates in this species, particularly in ribosomal proteins and proteasome components. Additionally, statistical comparison of transcript abundance before and after venom extraction showed that 3% and 2% of the assembled isogroups had higher expression levels in the active and replenishing gland, respectively. Thus, our sequencing and annotation strategies provide a general view of the cellular and molecular processes that take place in these arthropods, allowed the discovery of new pharmacological and biotechnological targets and uncovered several regulatory and metabolic responses behind the assembly of the scorpion venom. The results obtained in this report represent the first high-throughput study that thoroughly describes the universe of genes that are expressed in the scorpion

  12. The Cuban scorpion Rhopalurus junceus (Scorpiones, Buthidae): component variations in venom samples collected in different geographical areas

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Backgound The venom of the Cuban scorpion Rhopalurus junceus is poorly study from the point of view of their components at molecular level and the functions associated. The purpose of this article was to conduct a proteomic analysis of venom components from scorpions collected in different geographical areas of the country. Results Venom from the blue scorpion, as it is called, was collected separately from specimens of five distinct Cuban towns (Moa, La Poa, Limonar, El Chote and Farallones) of the Nipe-Sagua-Baracoa mountain massif and fractionated by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC); the molecular masses of each fraction were ascertained by mass spectrometry analysis. At least 153 different molecular mass components were identified among the five samples analyzed. Molecular masses varied from 466 to 19755 Da. Scorpion HPLC profiles differed among these different geographical locations and the predominant molecular masses of their components. The most evident differences are in the relative concentration of the venom components. The most abundant components presented molecular weights around 4 kDa, known to be K+-channel specific peptides, and 7 kDa, known to be Na+-channel specific peptides, but with small molecular weight differences. Approximately 30 peptides found in venom samples from the different geographical areas are identical, supporting the idea that they all probably belong to the same species, with some interpopulational variations. Differences were also found in the presence of phospholipase, found in venoms from the Poa area (molecular weights on the order of 14 to 19 kDa). The only ubiquitous enzyme identified in the venoms from all five localities studied (hyaluronidase) presented the same 45 kD molecular mass, identified by gel electrophoresis analysis. Conclusions The venom of these scorpions from different geographical areas seem to be similar, and are rich in peptides that have of the same molecular masses of the peptides

  13. Global transcriptome analysis of the scorpion Centruroides noxius: new toxin families and evolutionary insights from an ancestral scorpion species.

    PubMed

    Rendón-Anaya, Martha; Delaye, Luis; Possani, Lourival D; Herrera-Estrella, Alfredo

    2012-01-01

    Scorpion venoms have been studied for decades, leading to the identification of hundreds of different toxins with medical and pharmacological implications. However, little emphasis has been given to the description of these arthropods from cellular and evolutionary perspectives. In this report, we describe a transcriptomic analysis of the Mexican scorpion Centruroides noxius Hoffmann, performed with a pyrosequencing platform. Three independent sequencing experiments were carried out, each including three different cDNA libraries constructed from RNA extracted from the whole body of the scorpion after telson removal, and from the venom gland before and after venom extraction. Over three million reads were obtained and assembled in almost 19000 isogroups. Within the telson-specific sequences, 72 isogroups (0.4% of total unique transcripts) were found to be similar to toxins previously reported in other scorpion species, spiders and sea anemones. The annotation pipeline also revealed the presence of important elements of the small non-coding RNA processing machinery, as well as microRNA candidates. A phylogenomic analysis of concatenated essential genes evidenced differential evolution rates in this species, particularly in ribosomal proteins and proteasome components. Additionally, statistical comparison of transcript abundance before and after venom extraction showed that 3% and 2% of the assembled isogroups had higher expression levels in the active and replenishing gland, respectively. Thus, our sequencing and annotation strategies provide a general view of the cellular and molecular processes that take place in these arthropods, allowed the discovery of new pharmacological and biotechnological targets and uncovered several regulatory and metabolic responses behind the assembly of the scorpion venom. The results obtained in this report represent the first high-throughput study that thoroughly describes the universe of genes that are expressed in the scorpion

  14. A second species of Euscorpiops Vachon from caves in Vietnam (Scorpiones, Euscorpiidae, Scorpiopinae). Cave Euscorpiops scorpion from Vietnam.

    PubMed

    Lourenço, Wilson R; Pham, Dinh-Sac

    2014-09-01

    Euscorpiops dakrong sp. n., belonging to the family Euscorpiidae Laurie, is described on the basis of one male and one female collected in the Dakrong Nature Reserve cave system, Dakrong District, Quang Tri Province, Vietnam. The new species presents most features exhibited by scorpions of the genus Euscorpiops, but it is characterized by a slender body and elongated pedipalps. This new scorpion taxon represents the second species of Scorpiopinae discovered in a cave system and may be yet another endemic element in the fauna of Vietnam. Some taxonomic propositions on the generic position of Scorpiops oligotrichus Fage, 1933 are also suggested.

  15. Hox gene duplications correlate with posterior heteronomy in scorpions

    PubMed Central

    Sharma, Prashant P.; Schwager, Evelyn E.; Extavour, Cassandra G.; Wheeler, Ward C.

    2014-01-01

    The evolutionary success of the largest animal phylum, Arthropoda, has been attributed to tagmatization, the coordinated evolution of adjacent metameres to form morphologically and functionally distinct segmental regions called tagmata. Specification of regional identity is regulated by the Hox genes, of which 10 are inferred to be present in the ancestor of arthropods. With six different posterior segmental identities divided into two tagmata, the bauplan of scorpions is the most heteronomous within Chelicerata. Expression domains of the anterior eight Hox genes are conserved in previously surveyed chelicerates, but it is unknown how Hox genes regionalize the three tagmata of scorpions. Here, we show that the scorpion Centruroides sculpturatus has two paralogues of all Hox genes except Hox3, suggesting cluster and/or whole genome duplication in this arachnid order. Embryonic anterior expression domain boundaries of each of the last four pairs of Hox genes (two paralogues each of Antp, Ubx, abd-A and Abd-B) are unique and distinguish segmental groups, such as pectines, book lungs and the characteristic tail, while maintaining spatial collinearity. These distinct expression domains suggest neofunctionalization of Hox gene paralogues subsequent to duplication. Our data reconcile previous understanding of Hox gene function across arthropods with the extreme heteronomy of scorpions. PMID:25122224

  16. Exon Shuffling and Origin of Scorpion Venom Biodiversity

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Xueli; Gao, Bin; Zhu, Shunyi

    2016-01-01

    Scorpion venom is a complex combinatorial library of peptides and proteins with multiple biological functions. A combination of transcriptomic and proteomic techniques has revealed its enormous molecular diversity, as identified by the presence of a large number of ion channel-targeted neurotoxins with different folds, membrane-active antimicrobial peptides, proteases, and protease inhibitors. Although the biodiversity of scorpion venom has long been known, how it arises remains unsolved. In this work, we analyzed the exon-intron structures of an array of scorpion venom protein-encoding genes and unexpectedly found that nearly all of these genes possess a phase-1 intron (one intron located between the first and second nucleotides of a codon) near the cleavage site of a signal sequence despite their mature peptides remarkably differ. This observation matches a theory of exon shuffling in the origin of new genes and suggests that recruitment of different folds into scorpion venom might be achieved via shuffling between body protein-coding genes and ancestral venom gland-specific genes that presumably contributed tissue-specific regulatory elements and secretory signal sequences. PMID:28035955

  17. Insights into Antimicrobial Peptides from Spiders and Scorpions.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xiuqing; Wang, Guangshun

    2016-01-01

    The venoms of spiders and scorpions contain a variety of chemical compounds. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) from these organisms were first discovered in the 1990s. As of May 2015, there were 42 spider's and 63 scorpion's AMPs in the Antimicrobial Peptide Database (http://aps.unmc.edu/AP). These peptides have demonstrated broad or narrow-spectrum activities against bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. In addition, they can be toxic to cancer cells, insects and erythrocytes. To provide insight into such an activity spectrum, this article discusses the discovery, classification, structure and activity relationships, bioinformatics analysis, and potential applications of spider and scorpion AMPs. Our analysis reveals that, in the case of linear peptides, spiders use both glycine-rich and helical peptide models for defense, whereas scorpions use two distinct helical peptide models with different amino acid compositions to exert the observed antimicrobial activities and hemolytic toxicity. Our structural bioinformatics study improves the knowledge in the field and can be used to design more selective peptides to combat tumors, parasites, and viruses.

  18. Seeking Refuge in Literacy from a Scorpion Bite

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sarroub, Loukia K.

    2007-01-01

    The purpose of this study is to examine a refugee boy's experiences with literacy in and out of school in the US. Within these contexts, I explore this youth's literacy development in light of his identity as a poor Yezidi Kurdish refugee from Iraq. Central to the article are two main themes. The first, life as a scorpion sting, explicates the…

  19. Hox gene duplications correlate with posterior heteronomy in scorpions.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Prashant P; Schwager, Evelyn E; Extavour, Cassandra G; Wheeler, Ward C

    2014-10-07

    The evolutionary success of the largest animal phylum, Arthropoda, has been attributed to tagmatization, the coordinated evolution of adjacent metameres to form morphologically and functionally distinct segmental regions called tagmata. Specification of regional identity is regulated by the Hox genes, of which 10 are inferred to be present in the ancestor of arthropods. With six different posterior segmental identities divided into two tagmata, the bauplan of scorpions is the most heteronomous within Chelicerata. Expression domains of the anterior eight Hox genes are conserved in previously surveyed chelicerates, but it is unknown how Hox genes regionalize the three tagmata of scorpions. Here, we show that the scorpion Centruroides sculpturatus has two paralogues of all Hox genes except Hox3, suggesting cluster and/or whole genome duplication in this arachnid order. Embryonic anterior expression domain boundaries of each of the last four pairs of Hox genes (two paralogues each of Antp, Ubx, abd-A and Abd-B) are unique and distinguish segmental groups, such as pectines, book lungs and the characteristic tail, while maintaining spatial collinearity. These distinct expression domains suggest neofunctionalization of Hox gene paralogues subsequent to duplication. Our data reconcile previous understanding of Hox gene function across arthropods with the extreme heteronomy of scorpions.

  20. Emerging options for the management of scorpion stings

    PubMed Central

    Chippaux, Jean-Philippe

    2012-01-01

    Scorpion stings are common in many tropical countries. Although most scorpion stings cause only localized pain without life-threatening envenoming, about one third of stings cause systemic envenoming which can result in death. Children are particularly sensitive to scorpion envenoming. The severity of scorpion stings is related to the presence of neurotoxins in the venom that cause a sudden release of neurotransmitters from the autonomic nervous system, predominantly sympathetic. There is also a strong inflammatory response that worsens symptoms, including those of a respiratory nature. Several vital functions may be directly affected, including the cardiovascular, respiratory, and neuromuscular systems. Hypertension is constant at the beginning of systemic envenoming and sometimes has a severe cardiac and respiratory impact. Although controversial, immunotherapy is the only etiological treatment. Administered early, it prevents many complications and improves the outcome. New antivenoms are highly purified immunoglobulin fragments, the efficacy and safety of which are excellent. As a consequence, adverse reactions to antivenoms are now very rare and usually mild, which should limit any reluctance regarding their routine use. Symptomatic treatment is still necessary to support immunotherapy, especially in cases of delayed arrival at hospital. A combination of both approaches should be considered, based on local resources and constraints. PMID:22826633

  1. Epidemiological characteristics of scorpion sting in León, Guanajuato, México.

    PubMed

    Dehesa-Dávila, M

    1989-01-01

    Poisoning with scorpion venom in the city of León, Guanajuato state, México, is a significant public health problem. The hospital of the Mexican Red Cross gave medical attention to 38,068 cases of envenomation by scorpion sting during 1981-1986; 77% of all accidents occurred among persons under 30 years of age. The 100% survival rate can be attributed to prompt serotherapy. Most stings were due to scorpions from the species Centruroides infamatus infamatus. Scorpion stings increase dramatically in the spring and are lowest during winter. The distribution of scorpions throughout the city is uniform and accidents occur at any time of day or night with no preference in regard to the sex of the affected persons. The epidemiological aspects of scorpion poisoning are emphasized.

  2. Enzymatic analysis of venom from Cuban scorpion Rhopalurus junceus

    PubMed Central

    Díaz-García, Alexis; Ruiz-Fuentes, Jenny Laura; Yglesias-Rivera, Arianna; Rodríguez-Sánchez, Hermis; Riquenes Garlobo, Yanelis; Fleitas Martinez, Osmel; Fraga Castro, José A

    2015-01-01

    Rhopalurus junceus scorpion venom has been identified as a natural extract with anticancer potential. Interestingly, this scorpion venom does not cause adverse symptoms in humans. However, there is scarce information about its composition and enzymatic activity. In this work, we determined the electrophoretic profile of the venom, the gelatinase and caseinolytic activity, and the phospholipase A2 (PLA2) and hemolytic activity. The effect of different venom doses (6.25, 12.5 and 25 mg/kg) on gastrocnemius muscle was also measured as CK and LDH activity in serum. The presence of hyaluronidase was determined by turbidimetric assay. The effect of different fractions obtained by gel filtration chromatography were evaluated at different concentrations (0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 0.6mg/ml) against lung cancer cell A549 and lung normal cell MRC-5 using MTT assay. The electrophoretic profile demonstrated the presence of proteins bands around 67kDa, 43kDa, 18.4kDa and a majority band below 14.3kDa. The venom did not showed caseinolytic, gelatinase, PLA2 and hemolytic activity even at highest venom concentration used in the study. Scorpion venom only showed a significant toxic effect on gastrocnemius muscles identified by CK and LDH release after subcutaneous injection of 12.5 and 25mg/kg. Low molecular weight fractions (<4kDa) induced a significant cytotoxicity in A549 cells while high molecular weight proteins (45–60kDa) were responsible for hyaluronidase activity and toxic effect against MRC-5. Experiments indicate that Rhopalurus junceus scorpion venom has low enzymatic activity, which could contribute to the low toxic potential of this scorpion venom. PMID:26605039

  3. Tityus bahiensis scorpion venom injected to dams during pregnancy affects some cytokines of fetuses.

    PubMed

    Dorce, Ana L C; Frare, Eduardo O; Paulo, Maria E F V; Dorce, Valquiria A C; Nencioni, Ana L A

    2015-09-01

    Due to the high incidence of scorpion stings in Brazil, pregnant women are among the possible victims. Cytokines are important during the pregnancy, and scorpion venoms can change their release. We evaluated the levels of some cytokines in the fetuses after the treatment of pregnant rats with the Tityus bahiensis scorpion venom. The concentration of some of them is altered and can be responsible for the effects previously observed on innate reflexes, and the physical and behavioral development of the offspring.

  4. Overview of the Knottin scorpion toxin-like peptides in scorpion venoms: Insights on their classification and evolution.

    PubMed

    Santibáñez-López, Carlos E; Possani, Lourival D

    2015-12-01

    Scorpion venoms include several compounds with different pharmacological activities. Within these compounds, toxins affecting ion channels are among the most studied. They are all peptides that have been classified based on their 3D structure, chain size and function. Usually, they show a spatial arrangement characterized by the presence of a cysteine-stabilized alpha beta motif; most of them affect Na(+) and K(+) ion-channels. These features have been revised in several occasions before, but a complete phylogenetic analysis of the disulfide containing peptides is not been done. In the present contribution, two databases (Pfam and InterPro) including more than 800 toxins from different scorpions were analyzed. Pfam database included toxins from several organisms other than scorpions such as insects and plants, while InterPro included only scorpion toxins. Our results suggest that Na(+) toxins have evolved independently from those of K(+) toxins no matter the length of the peptidic chains. These preliminary results suggest that current classification needs a more detailed revision, in order to have better characterized toxin families, so the new peptides obtained from transcriptomic analyses would be properly classified.

  5. Spatial Distribution of Scorpion Sting in a High-Risk Area of Southern Iran.

    PubMed

    Shahi, Mehran; Moosavy, Seyed Hamid; Hanafi-Bojd, Ahamd Ali; Navidpour, Shahrokh; Zare, Shahram; Madani, Abdolhossein; Rafinejad, Javad

    2016-06-16

    Scorpion sting is a public health problem in south and southwestern parts of Iran, with about 36,000 cases recorded annually. This study aimed to find the spatial distribution of scorpions and their stings in Bandar Abbas County. Monthly scorpion sting cases at the village level were obtained and used for mapping. Scorpions were collected from 14 collection sites using a UV lamp at night and searching under stones during the day time. During the study period, a total of 3,971 cases of scorpion sting were recorded, most of them were found in mountainous areas and affected individuals aged 25-44 yrs. In total, 18 scorpion species belonging to 10 genera were collected and identified. The peak of scorpion sting cases occurred from July to September. The northern part of the mountainous areas had a richer species composition. Hemiscorpius persicus and Hemiscorpius gaillardi were collected for the first time in the area. There were 22 scorpion species in the area across studies; among them, 10 were most dangerous. Hemiscorpius genus is the main etiologic agent in Bandar Abbas County. Mapping dangerous species allows the health system to provide relevant anti-scorpion venom serum accordingly and more cost-effectively.

  6. First record of the family Pseudochactidae Gromov (Chelicerata, Scorpiones) from Laos and new biogeographic evidence of a Pangaean palaeodistribution.

    PubMed

    Lourenço, Wilson R

    2007-10-01

    A new genus and species of scorpion belonging to the recently named family Pseudochactidae is described based on two specimens collected in the Tham Xe Bangfai cave, Province of Khammouan, Laos. This new scorpion represents the second known record of a pseudochactid, and the first from Laos. The possible biogeographic consequences of this scorpion's distribution are discussed, associated with the possible Pangaean origin of pseudochactid scorpions.

  7. Distribution of endemic relict groups of Saharan scorpions, with the description of new genus and species from Mauritania.

    PubMed

    Qi, Jian-Xin; Lourenço, Wilson R

    2007-01-01

    A new genus and species of Saharan buthid scorpion is described on the basis of a single specimen collected in the desert of Mauritania. This new scorpion taxon represents yet another endemic relict in the Saharan fauna. Comments are also included on the evolution of the Sahara desert and the possible consequences of this on the distribution of the extant scorpion fauna.

  8. Inhibition of human Kv3.1 current expressed in Xenopus oocytes by the toxic venom fraction of Androctonus australis hector.

    PubMed

    Cheikh, Amani; Benkhalifa, Rym; Landoulsi, Zied; Chatti, Imen; Ayeb, Mohamed El

    2014-11-01

    AahG50, the toxic fraction of Androctonus australis hector venom, was studied on human Kv3.1 channels activation, stably expressed in Xenopus oocytes using the two-electrode voltage clamp technique. AahG50 reduced Kv3.1 currents in a reversible concentration-dependent manner, with an IC50 value and a Hill coefficient of 40.4 ± 0.2 μg/ml and 1.3 ± 0.05, respectively. AahG50 inhibited IKv3.1 without modifying the current activation kinetics. The AahG50-induced inhibition of Kv3.1 channels was voltage-dependent, with a gradual increase at lower concentrations and over the voltage range of channels opening. However, at higher concentrations, the inhibition exhibited voltage dependence only in the first range of channels opening from -20 to +10 mV, but demonstrates a low degree of voltage-dependence when channels are fully activated. In the literature, toxins have previously been isolated from AahG50, KAaH1 and KAaH2 and were reported not to have any effect on IKv3.1. The present article's findings suggest that AahG50 may contain a peptidic component active on Kv3.1 channels, which inhibits IKv3.1 in a selective manner.

  9. Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome following a scorpion sting.

    PubMed

    Porcello Marrone, Luiz Carlos; Marrone, Bianca Fontana; Neto, Felipe Kalil; Costa, Francisco Cosme; Thomé, Gustavo Gomes; Aramburu, Martin Brandolt; Schilling, Lucas Porcello; Pascoal, Tharick Ali; Gadonski, Giovani; Huf Marrone, Antônio Carlos; da Costa, Jaderson Costa

    2013-10-01

    Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) is a clinicoradiologic entity not yet understood, that is present with transient neurologic symptoms and particular radiological findings. The most common imaging pattern in PRES is the presence of edema in the white matter of the posterior portions of both cerebral hemispheres. The cause of PRES is unclear. We report a case of 13-year-old male who was stung by a scorpion and developed a severe headache, visual disturbance, and seizures and had the diagnosis of PRES with a good outcome. Numerous factors can trigger this syndrome, most commonly: acute elevation of blood pressure, abnormal renal function, and immunosuppressive therapy. There are many cases described showing the relationship between PRES and eclampsia, transplantation, neoplasia and chemotherapy treatment, systemic infections, renal disease acute, or chronic. However, this is the first case of PRES following a scorpion sting.

  10. Simultaneous modifications of sodium channel gating by two scorpion toxins.

    PubMed Central

    Wang, G K; Strichartz, G

    1982-01-01

    The effects of purified scorpion toxins from two different species on the kinetics of sodium currents were evaluated in amphibian myelinated nerves under voltage clamp. A toxin from Leiurus quinquestriatus slowed and prevented sodium channel inactivation, exclusively, and a toxin from Centruroides sculpturatus Ewing reduced transient sodium currents during a maintained depolarization, and induced a novel inward current that appeared following repolarization, as previously reported by Cahalan (1975, J. Physiol. [Lond.]. 244:511-534) for the crude scorpion venom. Both of these effects were observed in fibers treated with both of these toxins, and the kinetics of the induced current were modified in a way that showed that the same sodium channels were modified simultaneously by both toxins. Although the toxins can act on different sites, the time course of the action of C. sculpturatus toxin was accelerated in the presence of the L. quinquestriatus toxin, indicating some form of interaction between the two toxin binding sites. PMID:6293596

  11. Fluorescence and multilayer structure of the scorpion cuticle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Yu-Jen; Chiu, Pei-Ju; Lee, Cheng-Chung

    2015-09-01

    We collect the scorpions, Isometrus maculates, in different instars to analyze the photoluminescence (PL), micro-structure of cuticles and their correlation. The photoluminescence is excited by 405 nm solid laser in room temperature and detected by BWtek BRC 112E spectrometer. The result shows that the intensity of photoluminescence positively correlate to instars of scorpion. The images of micro-structures of cuticles captured by scanning electron microscope (SEM) present the multilayer structure in detail. The samples are prepared in small piece to ensure that the PL and SEM data are caught from the same area. The correlation between instars and intensity of photoluminescence is explained according to micro-structures via the thin-film optics theory.

  12. Phospholipid dependent mechanism of smp24, an α-helical antimicrobial peptide from scorpion venom.

    PubMed

    Harrison, Patrick L; Heath, George R; Johnson, Benjamin R G; Abdel-Rahman, Mohamed A; Strong, Peter N; Evans, Stephen D; Miller, Keith

    2016-11-01

    Determining the mechanism of action of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) is critical if they are to be developed into the clinical setting. In recent years high resolution techniques such as atomic force microscopy (AFM) have increasingly been utilised to determine AMP mechanism of action on planar lipid bilayers and live bacteria. Here we present the biophysical characterisation of a prototypical AMP from the venom of the North African scorpion Scorpio maurus palmatus termed Smp24. Smp24 is an amphipathic helical peptide containing 24 residues with a charge of +3 and exhibits both antimicrobial and cytotoxic activity and we aim to elucidate the mechanism of action of this peptide on both membrane systems. Using AFM, quartz crystal microbalance-dissipation (QCM-D) and liposomal leakage assays the effect of Smp24 on prototypical synthetic prokaryotic (DOPG:DOPC) and eukaryotic (DOPE:DOPC) membranes has been determined. Our data points to a toroidal pore mechanism against the prokaryotic like membrane whilst the formation of hexagonal phase non-lamellar phase structures is seen in eukaryotic like membrane. Also, phase segregation is observed against the eukaryotic membrane and this study provides direct evidence of the same peptide having multiple mechanisms of action depending on the membrane lipid composition.

  13. Transcriptome Analysis of Scorpion Species Belonging to the Vaejovis Genus

    PubMed Central

    Quintero-Hernández, Verónica; Ramírez-Carreto, Santos; Romero-Gutiérrez, María Teresa; Valdez-Velázquez, Laura L.; Becerril, Baltazar; Possani, Lourival D.; Ortiz, Ernesto

    2015-01-01

    Scorpions belonging to the Buthidae family have traditionally drawn much of the biochemist’s attention due to the strong toxicity of their venoms. Scorpions not toxic to mammals, however, also have complex venoms. They have been shown to be an important source of bioactive peptides, some of them identified as potential drug candidates for the treatment of several emerging diseases and conditions. It is therefore important to characterize the large diversity of components found in the non-Buthidae venoms. As a contribution to this goal, this manuscript reports the construction and characterization of cDNA libraries from four scorpion species belonging to the Vaejovis genus of the Vaejovidae family: Vaejovis mexicanus, V. intrepidus, V. subcristatus and V. punctatus. Some sequences coding for channel-acting toxins were found, as expected, but the main transcribed genes in the glands actively producing venom were those coding for non disulfide-bridged peptides. The ESTs coding for putative channel-acting toxins, corresponded to sodium channel β toxins, to members of the potassium channel-acting α or κ families, and to calcium channel-acting toxins of the calcin family. Transcripts for scorpine-like peptides of two different lengths were found, with some of the species coding for the two kinds. One sequence coding for La1-like peptides, of yet unknown function, was found for each species. Finally, the most abundant transcripts corresponded to peptides belonging to the long chain multifunctional NDBP-2 family and to the short antimicrobials of the NDBP-4 family. This apparent venom composition is in correspondence with the data obtained to date for other non-Buthidae species. Our study constitutes the first approach to the characterization of the venom gland transcriptome for scorpion species belonging to the Vaejovidae family. PMID:25659089

  14. Brachial plexopathy as a rare presenting manifestation of scorpion envenomation.

    PubMed

    Rubin, Devon I; Vavra, Michael

    2011-07-01

    We report a patient who experienced a rare manifestation of an acute, severe brachial plexopathy as the initial complication of scorpion (presumed Hemiscorpius lepturus species) envenomation. Features suggesting conduction block, due to either proximal demyelination or ion channel dysfunction, along with axonal loss were seen on serial electrophysiological studies. Possible mechanisms of the brachial plexopathy include direct compression from tissue edema or a toxic effect on the membrane channels along the nerve.

  15. Transcriptome analysis of scorpion species belonging to the Vaejovis genus.

    PubMed

    Quintero-Hernández, Verónica; Ramírez-Carreto, Santos; Romero-Gutiérrez, María Teresa; Valdez-Velázquez, Laura L; Becerril, Baltazar; Possani, Lourival D; Ortiz, Ernesto

    2015-01-01

    Scorpions belonging to the Buthidae family have traditionally drawn much of the biochemist's attention due to the strong toxicity of their venoms. Scorpions not toxic to mammals, however, also have complex venoms. They have been shown to be an important source of bioactive peptides, some of them identified as potential drug candidates for the treatment of several emerging diseases and conditions. It is therefore important to characterize the large diversity of components found in the non-Buthidae venoms. As a contribution to this goal, this manuscript reports the construction and characterization of cDNA libraries from four scorpion species belonging to the Vaejovis genus of the Vaejovidae family: Vaejovis mexicanus, V. intrepidus, V. subcristatus and V. punctatus. Some sequences coding for channel-acting toxins were found, as expected, but the main transcribed genes in the glands actively producing venom were those coding for non disulfide-bridged peptides. The ESTs coding for putative channel-acting toxins, corresponded to sodium channel β toxins, to members of the potassium channel-acting α or κ families, and to calcium channel-acting toxins of the calcin family. Transcripts for scorpine-like peptides of two different lengths were found, with some of the species coding for the two kinds. One sequence coding for La1-like peptides, of yet unknown function, was found for each species. Finally, the most abundant transcripts corresponded to peptides belonging to the long chain multifunctional NDBP-2 family and to the short antimicrobials of the NDBP-4 family. This apparent venom composition is in correspondence with the data obtained to date for other non-Buthidae species. Our study constitutes the first approach to the characterization of the venom gland transcriptome for scorpion species belonging to the Vaejovidae family.

  16. A biomechanical view on stinger diversity in scorpions.

    PubMed

    van der Meijden, Arie; Kleinteich, Thomas

    2017-04-01

    Scorpions have elongated metasomas that bear a telson, which is used as a stinger for venom injection. There is a remarkable diversity in the use of the stinger among scorpions, comprising defensive behavior, prey subjugation and mating. This diversity could be reflected by the shape of the telson, as different stinging behaviors will result in very different functional demands. Here we explored the diversity of telson shapes in scorpions by providing morphological measurements, such as curvature and tip angle, as well as by testing stingers under load using finite element analysis (FEA). FEA models were loaded with forces scaled to the surface area of the models, to allow comparison of the relative strain energy based on shape alone. Load force angle was rotated to identify the optimal stinging angle based on the lowest strain energy. Aculeus length and mean aculeus height correlated with minimal strain energy. Optimal stinging angle correlated with tip angle, and differed from the tip angle by about 28.4 ± 6.22 °. We found that species that are more venomous have long aculei (stinger barbs) with a larger radius of curvature. FEA models of these longer aculei showed basal stress concentrations, indicating a potential greater risk of basal breakage due to shape alone. Telsons with shorter and thicker aculeus shapes showed stress concentrations at the tip only. Despite these marked differences in shape, we found no difference in the scaled strain energy between groups of species that are more venomous and less venomous groups of species. These results show that scorpion stingers may be biomechanically optimized, and this may indicate different usage of the stinger in different species.

  17. Pediatric electrocardiograph abnormalities following Centruroides limpidus tecomanus scorpion envenomation.

    PubMed

    Diaz, P; Chowell, G; Ceja, G; D'Auria, T C; Lloyd, R C; Castillo-Chavez, C

    2005-01-01

    Scorpionism is an endemic public health problem in Mexico [Hoffmann, C.C., 1936. La distribucion geografica de los alacranes peligrosos en la Republica Mexicana. Bol. Inst. Hygiene Mex. 2, 321; Hoffmann, C.C., Nieto, D.R., 1939. Segunda contribucion al conocimiento de los alacranes mexicanos. Anal. Inst. Biol. 10, 83-92; Mazzoti, L., Bravo-Becherelle, M.A., 1963. Scorpionism in the Mexican Republic. In: Keegan, H.L., McFarlane, W.V. (Eds.), Venomous and Poissonous Animals and Noxious Plants of the Pacific Area. Pergamon Press, London, pp. 119-131; Monroy-Velasco, J., 1961. Alacranes venenosos de Mexico. Rev. Mex. Cien. Med. Biol., Mex. 1, 1-23; Diaz-Najera, A., 1975. Listas y datos de distribucion geografica de los alacranes de Mexico. Rev. Inv. Salud. Publica. (Mex.) 35, 1; Velasco-Castrejon, O., Lara-Aguilera, R., Alatorre, H., 1976. Aspectos epidemiologicos y clinicos de la picadura de alacran en una area hiperendemica. Rev. Inv. Salud Publica. (Mex.) 36, 93-103; Dehesa-Davila, M., Possani, L.D., 1994. Scorpionism and serotherapy in Mexico. Toxicon 32 (9), 1015-1018]. In this prospective study, we assess cardiovascular disorders in children via electrocardiographic (ECG) recordings following envenomation by scorpion species Centruroides limpidus tecomanus found in the state of Colima, Mexico. We analyzed 113 cases between the ages of 5 and 14 years. Among the most frequent symptoms presented included local pain (99.1%) and paresthesia (75.2%), pruritus (36.3%), sialorrhoea (35.4%), and nystagmus (24.8%). Cardiovascular disorders were observed in 39.8% of cases, 71% of which were rhythm abnormalities. We find a significant association between the frequency of ECG alterations and age, whereby 8-9-year-old children are more likely to experience ECG alterations when compared with other tested age groups.

  18. Humicolous buthoid scorpions: a new genus and species from French Guiana.

    PubMed

    Lourenço, Wilson R

    2003-12-01

    A new genus and species of humicolous buthid scorpion are described on the basis of a single specimen collected in French Guyana. New considerations on the taxonomy and morphology of some micro-buthoid humicolous scorpions are proposed, mainly based on the study by scanning electron microscopy of the peg-shaped sensillae of the pectines.

  19. The circadian rhythm of locomotory activity in a Neotropical forest scorpion, Opisthacanthus sp. (Scorpionidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cloudsley-Thompson, J. L.; Constantinou, C.

    1985-03-01

    Opisthacanthus sp. from Panama resembles tropical forest scorpions from other zoogeographical regions in being comparatively inactive and showing some movement in light. Its circadian rhythm is not clear cut. It has a dirty appearance and a repugnatorial odour, a phenomenon not previously recorded in scorpions.

  20. [Scorpion poisonous stings in the population of Khouribga (Morocco)].

    PubMed

    Soulaymani-Bencheikh, R; Soulaymani, A; Semlali, I; Tamim, O K; Zemrour, E; Eloufir, R; Mokhtari, A

    2005-04-01

    Poisonous stings caused by scorpion constitute a public health problem in Morocco because of their frequency severity and socio-economic consequences that they generate. The province of Khouribga surveyed for this study is situated in a zone of high incidence and high lethality caused by scorpion stings in Morocco. In order to analyze the epidemiological profile and the poisoning risk factors, we are presenting the results of a past study conducted from April to December 2001. It consisted in making an exhaustive follow up from admission to release of all patients stung by scorpion. These patients consulted a sanitary structure (dispensary health centre or hospital) in the province of Khouribga, Morocco. Within a total of 1212 cases of stings, 63% of them occurred at night (between 06 pm and 06 am) particularly during July and August. Youngsters under fifteen represented 36% of these cases. 3.4% of the people who got stung presented typical poisoning and envenomation. The delay expected from sting to transfer to a medical structure was 1.85 +/- 0.11 hours for the patients who recovered against 2.67 +/- 0.11 for those who did not recover. To be noticed as well that 1.3% of the subjects who got stung die. Variance analysis indicates that the type of sanitary structures receiving patients, admission classes, and age of patients influence significantly the recovery rate of people who are stung.

  1. Three new antimicrobial peptides from the scorpion Pandinus imperator.

    PubMed

    Zeng, Xian-Chun; Zhou, Lingli; Shi, Wanxia; Luo, Xuesong; Zhang, Lei; Nie, Yao; Wang, Jinwei; Wu, Shifen; Cao, Bin; Cao, Hanjun

    2013-07-01

    Three novel cysteine-free venom peptides, which were referred to as Pantinin-1, Pantinin-2 and Pantinin-3, respectively, have been identified from the scorpion Pandinus imperator by cDNA cloning strategy. The precursor of each peptide consists of a signal peptide, a mature peptide with no disulfide bridges, and an acidic propeptide with a typical processing signal. Each of the three peptides is an α-helical, cationic and amphipathic molecule with 13 or 14 amino acid residues. Their amino acid sequences are homologous to those of some 13-mer antimicrobial peptides isolated from scorpions. Antimicrobial assay showed that all the three peptides possess relatively strong activities against Gram-positive bacteria and a fungus, but have very weak antimicrobial activities against Gram-negative bacteria. Toxicity assay showed that the three peptides exhibit very low or mild hemolytic activities against human red blood cells. It is interesting to see that Pantinin-3 is able to potently inhibit the growth of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) S13, a pathogen that can cause a number of human infections; this suggests that Pantinin-3 has great potential to be applied in the treatment of VRE infections. Our findings gain new insights into the structure/function relationships of the small linear cationic antimicrobial peptides from scorpions, and provide new templates for designing of antimicrobial agents targeting antibiotic-resistant pathogenic bacteria.

  2. Insights into Antimicrobial Peptides from Spiders and Scorpions

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Xiuqing; Wang, Guangshun

    2015-01-01

    The venoms of spiders and scorpions contain a variety of chemical compounds. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) from these organisms were first discovered in the 1990s. As of May 2015, there were 42 spider’s and 63 scorpion’s AMPs in the Antimicrobial Peptide Database (http://aps.unmc.edu/AP). These peptides have demonstrated broad or narrow-spectrum activities against bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. In addition, they can be toxic to cancer cells, insects and erythrocytes. To provide insight into such an activity spectrum, this article discusses the discovery, classification, structure and activity relationships, bioinformatics analysis, and potential applications of spider and scorpion AMPs. Our analysis reveals that, in the case of linear peptides, spiders use both glycine-rich and helical peptide models for defense, whereas scorpions use two distinct helical peptide models with different amino acid compositions to exert the observed antimicrobial activities and hemolytic toxicity. Our structural bioinformatics study improves the knowledge in the field and can be used to design more selective peptides to combat tumors, parasites, and viruses. PMID:27165405

  3. Two recombinant depressant scorpion neurotoxins differentially affecting mammalian sodium channels.

    PubMed

    Yuan, Yuzhe; Luo, Lan; Peigneur, Steve; Tytgat, Jan; Zhu, Shunyi

    2010-07-01

    The scorpion depressant toxins are a group of evolutionarily conserved polypeptides targeting sodium channels, which show preferential ability to induce flaccid paralysis in insects, making them attractive candidates for the construction of transgenic plants or viral vectors to control pests. In this study, two new depressant toxin-like peptides (BmKITc and BmKITc2) differing only at position 52 (Lys for Thr) were produced in Escherichia coli. Circular dichroism analysis indicated that these two recombinant peptides display a typical structural feature similar to native scorpion toxins. They both cause a maintained current component at the last phase of inactivation of the insect sodium channel DmNav1/tipE expressed in Xenopus oocytes and interestingly, they do not produce a beta effect despite of their primary structure as beta-toxins. Furthermore, an inhibitory effect with BmKITc but not with BmKITc2 was observed on TTX-R sodium currents in rat DRG neurons. We hypothesize that such differential potency highlights a crucial role of lysine 52 in channel selectivity. Our results therefore indicate that, in spite of the general idea, not all scorpion depressant toxins interact with mammalian and/or insect sodium channels in the same manner.

  4. Male and female meiosis in the mountain scorpion Zabius fuscus (Scorpiones, Buthidae): heterochromatin, rDNA and TTAGG telomeric repeats.

    PubMed

    Adilardi, Renzo Sebastián; Ojanguren-Affilastro, Andrés Alejandro; Mattoni, Camilo Iván; Mola, Liliana María

    2015-08-01

    All cytogenetically studied scorpions present male achiasmatic meiosis and lack heteromorphic sex chromosomes. In contrast, information about female meiosis in scorpions is scarce due to the difficulty of finding meiotic cells. The genus Zabius includes three described species and no chromosome studies have been performed on it until now. We analyzed the constitutive heterochromatin distribution, NORs and telomeric sequences in mitosis and meiosis of males and females of different populations of Zabius fuscus. All specimens presented 2n = 18 holokinetic chromosomes that gradually decreased in size. Male meiosis presented nine bivalents and a polymorphism for one reciprocal translocation in one population. Telomeric signals were detected at every terminal region, confirming also the presence of a (TTAGG) n motif in Buthidae. Constitutive heterochromatin was found in three chromosome pairs at a terminal region; moreover, NORs were embedded in the heterochromatic region of the largest pair. Chromosome size and landmarks allowed us to propose the chromosomes involved in the rearrangement. In four females, cells at different prophase I stages were analyzed. We describe a diffuse stage and the presence of ring-shaped bivalents. We discuss the possible origin of these bivalents in the framework of chiasmatic or achiasmatic female meiosis. These results contribute to increase the scarce evidence of female meiosis in scorpions and raise new questions about its mechanism.

  5. Recombinant expression, functional characterization of two scorpion venom toxins with three disulfide bridges from the Chinese scorpion Buthus martensii Karsch.

    PubMed

    Lin, ShengGuo; Wang, XueLin; Hu, XueYao; Zhao, YongShan; Zhao, MingYi; Zhang, JingHai; Cui, Yong

    2017-01-17

    Scorpion venom contains a large variety of biologically active peptides. However, most of these peptides have not been identified and characterized. Peptides with three disulfide bridges, existing in the scorpion venom, have not been studied in detail and have been poorly characterized until now. Here, we report the recombinant expression and functional characterization of two kinds of venom peptides (BmKBTx and BmNaL-3SS2) with three disulfide bridges. This study adopted an effective E. coli system. The genes for BmKBTx and BmNaL-3SS2 were obtained by the Polymerase Chain Reaction method and finally cloned to the pSYPU-1b vector. After expression and purification, the two recombinant proteins underwent an analgesic activity assay in mice and whole-cell patch-clamp recording of hNav1.7-CHO cell lines. Functional tests showed that BmKBTx and BmNaL-3SS2 have analgesic activity in mice and can interact with the hNav1.7 subtype of the voltage-gated sodium channel (VGSC). Scorpion venom is rich in bioactive proteins, but most of their functions are unknown to us. This study has increased our knowledge of these novel disulfide-bridged peptides (DBPs) and their biological activities.

  6. Humiculous scorpions: on the genera Ananteris Thorell, 1891 and Microananteris Lourenço, 2004 (Scorpiones: Buthidae), with the description of a new species from French Guiana.

    PubMed

    Lourenço, Wilson R

    2012-08-01

    A new species of humicolous buthid scorpion is described on the basis of a single male specimen collected in a rainforest in French Guiana. The collection was performed by extraction with the use of Winkler methods. New considerations about the ecology and biogeography of micro-scorpions of the 'Ananteris group' (sensu subfamily Ananterinae Pocock, 1900), are proposed in relation to their possible evolution from endogeous to epygean environments.

  7. Enhancement of long-lasting immunoprotective effect against Androctonus australis hector envenomation using safe antigens: Comparative role of MF59 and Alum adjuvants.

    PubMed

    Nouri, Abdelmounaim; Laraba-Djebari, Fatima

    2015-10-26

    Envenomation is a public health problem in many regions of the world. The only available treatment is the serotherapy that has limited efficiency due to the delay of its administration. The goal of this study is to provide a new and more efficient alternative to this treatment. A comparative study of the effects of two adjuvants in their ability to enhance the efficiency of the detoxified and safe antigens to produce a long lasting immunoprotection is undertaken using Aluminum Hydroxide adjuvant (Alum) or the water-in-oil MF59 adjuvant mixed with Androctonus australis hector (Aah) detoxified venom, and compare their effects on the immune system. Immunization schedule was performed with two groups of rabbits, which were injected with attenuated venom and Alum or MF59 adjuvant preparations, once a month during three months. Blood samples were collected each week for cell count, evaluation of myeloperoxidase (MPO) and eosinoperoxydase (EPO) activities and antibody titer. After four months from the last immunization, rabbits were challenged with increased doses of native Aah venom. Results showed that MF59 effect was immediate in the first 24h post-immunization by activating the recruitment of lymphocytes, monocytes and neutrophils, while Alum adjuvant effect seems to be delayed, and appeared in the second week after immunization. An important cell infiltration was observed with Alum preparation, due to its specific local depot effect. However, immunized animals with MF59 preparation challenged with the native venom showed a protective effect against its toxicity until 6 LD50 compared to those immunized with Alum preparation which are only protected at 4 LD50. One week after challenge, only immunized animals with Alum preparation present an increase in cell infiltration, MPO and EPO activities. These results are correlated with the ability of MF59 adjuvant to induce a potent immunoprotective effect against Aah venom compared to Alum adjuvant.

  8. Sex Differences in Defensive Behavior and Venom of The Striped Bark Scorpion Centruroides vittatus (Scorpiones: Buthidae).

    PubMed

    Miller, D W; Jones, A D; Goldston, J S; Rowe, M P; Rowe, A H

    2016-11-01

    Studies of venom variability have advanced from describing the mechanisms of action and relative potency of medically important toxins to understanding the ecological and evolutionary causes of the variability itself. While most studies have focused on differences in venoms among taxa, populations, or age-classes, there may be intersexual effects as well. Striped bark scorpions (Centruroides vittatus) provide a good model for examining sex differences in venom composition and efficacy, as this species exhibits dramatic sexual dimorphism in both size and defensive behavior; when threatened by an enemy, larger, slower females stand and fight while smaller, fleeter males prefer to run. We here add evidence suggesting that male and female C. vittatus indeed have different defensive propensities; when threatened via an electrical stimulus, females were more likely to sting than were males. We reasoned that intersexual differences in defensive phenotypes would select for venoms with different functions in the two sexes; female venoms should be effective at predator deterrence, whereas male venoms, less utilized defensively, might be better suited to capturing prey or courting females. This rationale led to our predictions that females would inject more venom and/or possess more painful venom than males. We were wrong. While females do inject more venom than males in a defensive sting, females are also larger; when adjusted for body size, male and female C. vittatus commit equal masses of venom in a sting to a potential enemy. Additionally, house mice (Mus musculus) find an injection of male venom more irritating than an equal amount of female venom, likely because male venom contains more of the toxins that induce pain. Taken together, our results suggest that identifying the ultimate causes of venom variability will, as we move beyond adaptive storytelling, be hard-won.

  9. Scorpion Toxin, BmP01, Induces Pain by Targeting TRPV1 Channel.

    PubMed

    Hakim, Md Abdul; Jiang, Wenbin; Luo, Lei; Li, Bowen; Yang, Shilong; Song, Yuzhu; Lai, Ren

    2015-09-14

    The intense pain induced by scorpion sting is a frequent clinical manifestation. To date, there is no established protocol with significant efficacy to alleviate the pain induced by scorpion envenomation. One of the important reasons is that, little information on pain-inducing compound from scorpion venoms is available. Here, a pain-inducing peptide (BmP01) has been identified and characterized from the venoms of scorpion (Mesobuthus martensii). In an animal model, intraplantar injection of BmP01 in mouse hind paw showed significant acute pain in wild type (WT) mice but not in TRPV1 knock-out (TRPV1 KO) mice during 30 min recording. BmP01 evoked currents in WT dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons but had no effect on DRG neurons of TRPV1 KO mice. Furthermore, OPEN ACCESS Toxins 2015, 7 3672 BmP01 evoked currents on TRPV1-expressed HEK293T cells, but not on HEK293T cells without TRPV1. These results suggest that (1) BmP01 is one of the pain-inducing agents in scorpion venoms; and (2) BmP01 induces pain by acting on TRPV1. To our knowledge, this is the first report about a scorpion toxin that produces pain by targeting TRPV1. Identification of a pain-inducing compound may facilitate treating pain induced by scorpion envenomation.

  10. Camelid antivenom development and potential in vivo neutralization of Hottentotta saulcyi scorpion venom.

    PubMed

    Darvish, Maryam; Ebrahimi, Soltan Ahmad; Shahbazzadeh, Delavar; Bagheri, Kamran-Pooshang; Behdani, Mahdi; Shokrgozar, Mohammad Ali

    2016-04-01

    Scorpion envenoming is a serious health problem which can cause a variety of clinical toxic effects. Of the many scorpion species native to Iran, Hottentotta saulcyi is important because its venom can produce toxic effects in man. Nowadays, antivenom derived from hyper immune horses is the only effective treatment for sever scorpion stings. Current limitations of immunotherapy urgently require an efficient alternative with high safety, target affinity and more promising venom neutralizing capability. Recently, heavy chain-only antibodies (HC-Abs) found naturally in camelid serum met the above mentioned advantages. In this study, immuno-reactivities of polyclonal antibodies were tested after successful immunization of camel using H. saulcyi scorpion crude venom. The lethal potency of scorpion venom in C57BL/6 mice injected intraperitoneally was determined to be 2.7 mg/kg. These results were followed by the efficient neutralization of lethal activity of H. saulcyi scorpion venom by injection of antivenom and purified IgG fractions into mice intraperitonelly or intravenously, respectively. HC-Ab camelid antivenom could be considered as a useful serotherapeutics instead of present treatment for scorpion envenomation.

  11. Scorpion Toxin, BmP01, Induces Pain by Targeting TRPV1 Channel

    PubMed Central

    Hakim, Md Abdul; Jiang, Wenbin; Luo, Lei; Li, Bowen; Yang, Shilong; Song, Yuzhu; Lai, Ren

    2015-01-01

    The intense pain induced by scorpion sting is a frequent clinical manifestation. To date, there is no established protocol with significant efficacy to alleviate the pain induced by scorpion envenomation. One of the important reasons is that, little information on pain-inducing compound from scorpion venoms is available. Here, a pain-inducing peptide (BmP01) has been identified and characterized from the venoms of scorpion (Mesobuthus martensii). In an animal model, intraplantar injection of BmP01 in mouse hind paw showed significant acute pain in wild type (WT) mice but not in TRPV1 knock-out (TRPV1 KO) mice during 30 min recording. BmP01 evoked currents in WT dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons but had no effect on DRG neurons of TRPV1 KO mice. Furthermore, BmP01 evoked currents on TRPV1-expressed HEK293T cells, but not on HEK293T cells without TRPV1. These results suggest that (1) BmP01 is one of the pain-inducing agents in scorpion venoms; and (2) BmP01 induces pain by acting on TRPV1. To our knowledge, this is the first report about a scorpion toxin that produces pain by targeting TRPV1. Identification of a pain-inducing compound may facilitate treating pain induced by scorpion envenomation. PMID:26389953

  12. Homology of the Lateral Eyes of Scorpiones: A Six-Ocellus Model

    PubMed Central

    Loria, Stephanie F.; Prendini, Lorenzo

    2014-01-01

    Scorpions possess two types of visual organs, the median and lateral eyes. Both eyes consist of simple ocelli with biconvex lenses that differ in structure and function. There is little variation in the number of median ocelli across the order. Except for a few troglomorphic species in which the median ocelli are absent, all scorpions possess a single pair. In contrast, the number of pairs of lateral ocelli varies from zero to five across Scorpiones and may vary within species. No attempt has been made to homologize lateral ocelli across the order, and their utility in scorpion systematics has been questioned, due to the variation in number. A recent study examined the number of lateral ocelli among various Asian Buthidae C.L. Koch, 1837 and proposed a “five-eye model” for the family. This model has not been examined more broadly within Buthidae, however, nor compared with the patterns of variation observed among other scorpion families. An eyespot, referred to as an accessory lateral eye, situated ventral or posteroventral to the lateral ocelli, has also been reported in some scorpions. Analysis of its structure suggests it serves a nonvisual function. We present the first comparative study of variation in the lateral ocelli across the order Scorpiones, based on examination of a broad range of exemplar species, representing all families, 160 genera (78%), 196 species (9%), and up to 12 individuals per species. We propose a six-ocellus model for Recent scorpions with four accessory ocelli observed in various taxa, homologize the individual ocelli, and correct erroneous counts in the recent literature. We also investigate the presence of the eyespot across scorpions and discover that it is more widespread than previously recognized. Future work should investigate the genetic and developmental mechanisms underlying the formation of the lateral ocelli to test the hypotheses proposed here. PMID:25470485

  13. Homology of the lateral eyes of scorpiones: a six-ocellus model.

    PubMed

    Loria, Stephanie F; Prendini, Lorenzo

    2014-01-01

    Scorpions possess two types of visual organs, the median and lateral eyes. Both eyes consist of simple ocelli with biconvex lenses that differ in structure and function. There is little variation in the number of median ocelli across the order. Except for a few troglomorphic species in which the median ocelli are absent, all scorpions possess a single pair. In contrast, the number of pairs of lateral ocelli varies from zero to five across Scorpiones and may vary within species. No attempt has been made to homologize lateral ocelli across the order, and their utility in scorpion systematics has been questioned, due to the variation in number. A recent study examined the number of lateral ocelli among various Asian Buthidae C.L. Koch, 1837 and proposed a "five-eye model" for the family. This model has not been examined more broadly within Buthidae, however, nor compared with the patterns of variation observed among other scorpion families. An eyespot, referred to as an accessory lateral eye, situated ventral or posteroventral to the lateral ocelli, has also been reported in some scorpions. Analysis of its structure suggests it serves a nonvisual function. We present the first comparative study of variation in the lateral ocelli across the order Scorpiones, based on examination of a broad range of exemplar species, representing all families, 160 genera (78%), 196 species (9%), and up to 12 individuals per species. We propose a six-ocellus model for Recent scorpions with four accessory ocelli observed in various taxa, homologize the individual ocelli, and correct erroneous counts in the recent literature. We also investigate the presence of the eyespot across scorpions and discover that it is more widespread than previously recognized. Future work should investigate the genetic and developmental mechanisms underlying the formation of the lateral ocelli to test the hypotheses proposed here.

  14. Hemprich's long-eared bat (Otonycteris hemprichii) as a predator of scorpions: whispering echolocation, passive gleaning and prey selection.

    PubMed

    Holderied, Marc; Korine, Carmi; Moritz, Thorsten

    2011-05-01

    Over 70% of the droppings of the gleaning bat Otonycteris hemprichii can contain scorpion fragments. Yet, some scorpions found in its desert habitat possess venom of the highest known toxicity, rendering them a very dangerous prey. In this study, we describe how O. hemprichii catches and handles scorpions, quantify its flight and echolocation behaviour in the field, investigate what sensory modality it uses to detect scorpions, and test whether it selects scorpions according to their size or toxicity. We confirmed that O. hemprichi is a whispering bat (approx. 80 dB peSPL) with short, multi-harmonic calls. In a flight room we also confirmed that O. hemprichii detects scorpions by their walking noises. Amplitudes of such noises were measured and they reach the flying bat at or below the level of echoes of the loess substrate. Bats dropped straight onto moving scorpions and were stung frequently even straight in their face. Stings did not change the bats' behaviour and caused no signs of poisoning. Scorpions were eaten including poison gland and stinger. Bats showed no preference neither for any of the scorpion species nor their size suggesting they are generalist predators with regard to scorpions.

  15. [Report of the 4th International Conference on Envenomations by Snakebites and Scorpion Stings in Africa, Dakar, April 25-29, 2011].

    PubMed

    Chippaux, J-P; Diouf, A; Massougbodji, A; Stock, R P; Kane, O; Dièye, A M; Lam Faye, A; Mbaye Sène, M; Parra, H-J

    2012-08-01

    The authors present a summary of the proceedings and the recommendations of the Fourth International Conference on Envenomations by Snakebites and Scorpion Stings in Africa, held from 25 to 29 April 2011 in Dakar. After a two-day workshop for Senegalese health personnel on the most relevant aspects of the management of envenomations, about 270 participants met to share their experiences in the field. Nearly a hundred oral and poster presentations were made on the epidemiology of snakebites and scorpion stings in Africa, the composition and action of venoms and the manufacture and use of antivenoms. The last day was devoted to an institutional debate involving experts, representatives of national health authorities and concerned professionals (physicians, pharmacists, nurses and traditional healers) as well as members of the pharmaceutical industry to discuss and elaborate a set of recommendations. It was agreed that it is necessary to improve knowledge of the epidemiological situation by case reporting. Quality control of antivenoms and procedures for their registration at the level of national health authorities should aim at improving the distribution of safe and effective antivenoms in peripheral health centers for the better assessment of victims. It was also recommended that adequate training should be provided for health personnel in all aspects of medical management of envenomations. Equitable distribution of funding and the establishment of a network of African experts were also discussed in the conference.

  16. Genetic and morphological analyses indicate that the Australian endemic scorpion Urodacus yaschenkoi (Scorpiones: Urodacidae) is a species complex

    PubMed Central

    Luna-Ramirez, Karen; Miller, Adam D.

    2017-01-01

    Background Australian scorpions have received far less attention from researchers than their overseas counterparts. Here we provide the first insight into the molecular variation and evolutionary history of the endemic Australian scorpion Urodacus yaschenkoi. Also known as the inland robust scorpion, it is widely distributed throughout arid zones of the continent and is emerging as a model organism in biomedical research due to the chemical nature of its venom. Methods We employed Bayesian Inference (BI) methods for the phylogenetic reconstructions and divergence dating among lineages, using unique haplotype sequences from two mitochondrial loci (COXI, 16S) and one nuclear locus (28S). We also implemented two DNA taxonomy approaches (GMYC and PTP/dPTP) to evaluate the presence of cryptic species. Linear Discriminant Analysis was used to test whether the linear combination of 21 variables (ratios of morphological measurements) can predict individual’s membership to a putative species. Results Genetic and morphological data suggest that U. yaschenkoi is a species complex. High statistical support for the monophyly of several divergent lineages was found both at the mitochondrial loci and at a nuclear locus. The extent of mitochondrial divergence between these lineages exceeds estimates of interspecific divergence reported for other scorpion groups. The GMYC model and the PTP/bPTP approach identified major lineages and several sub-lineages as putative species. Ratios of several traits that approximate body shape had a strong predictive power (83–100%) in discriminating two major molecular lineages. A time-calibrated phylogeny dates the early divergence at the onset of continental-wide aridification in late Miocene and Pliocene, with finer-scale phylogeographic patterns emerging during the Pleistocene. This structuring dynamics is congruent with the diversification history of other fauna of the Australian arid zones. Discussion Our results indicate that the

  17. Scorpion sting epidemiology in Montes Municipality of the State of Sucre, Venezuela: geographic distribution.

    PubMed

    De Sousa, L; Bonoli, S; Quiroga, M; Parrilla, P

    1996-01-01

    Scorpion stings were surveyed in the Montes Municipality of the State of Sucre, Venezuela, aiming to extend the information on these poisonous accidents by characterizing their geographic distribution. From 1980 to 1990, 184 cases of scorpion stings were recorded with an incidence rate of 38.6 cases per 10,000 inhabitants. The locality of San Fernando presented the highest incidence (68.3/1000) of poisonous accidents. The highest percentages of severe cases were recorded in the towns of Arenas (27%), San Lorenzo (21%), and Cocollar (19%), which are located at the foot of the Turimiquire Mountains. This region is a dispersion area of scorpions of the Tityus genus. Our results show that this region of the State of Sucre is endemic for scorpion stings which are an important public health problem.

  18. A new mid-Silurian aquatic scorpion-one step closer to land?

    PubMed

    Waddington, Janet; Rudkin, David M; Dunlop, Jason A

    2015-01-01

    One of the oldest known fossil scorpions, a new species from the mid-Silurian Eramosa Formation (430 myr) of Ontario, Canada, exhibits several surprising features. The depositional environment and associated biota indicate a marine habitat; however, the leg morphology of this scorpion, which has a short tarsus in common with all Recent scorpions, suggests that a key adaptation for terrestrial locomotion, the ability to support its weight on a subterminal 'foot', appeared remarkably early in the scorpion fossil record. Specimens are preserved intact and undisturbed in a splayed posture typical of moults rather than carcasses. We postulate that these animals were aquatic, but occasionally ventured into extremely shallow water, or onto a transient subaerially exposed surface while moulting, before returning to deeper water. Shed exuviae were preserved in situ by rapid overgrowth of bacterial biofilm.

  19. Venom Gland Transcriptomic and Proteomic Analyses of the Enigmatic Scorpion Superstitionia donensis (Scorpiones: Superstitioniidae), with Insights on the Evolution of Its Venom Components.

    PubMed

    Santibáñez-López, Carlos E; Cid-Uribe, Jimena I; Batista, Cesar V F; Ortiz, Ernesto; Possani, Lourival D

    2016-12-09

    Venom gland transcriptomic and proteomic analyses have improved our knowledge on the diversity of the heterogeneous components present in scorpion venoms. However, most of these studies have focused on species from the family Buthidae. To gain insights into the molecular diversity of the venom components of scorpions belonging to the family Superstitioniidae, one of the neglected scorpion families, we performed a transcriptomic and proteomic analyses for the species Superstitionia donensis. The total mRNA extracted from the venom glands of two specimens was subjected to massive sequencing by the Illumina protocol, and a total of 219,073 transcripts were generated. We annotated 135 transcripts putatively coding for peptides with identity to known venom components available from different protein databases. Fresh venom collected by electrostimulation was analyzed by LC-MS/MS allowing the identification of 26 distinct components with sequences matching counterparts from the transcriptomic analysis. In addition, the phylogenetic affinities of the found putative calcins, scorpines, La1-like peptides and potassium channel κ toxins were analyzed. The first three components are often reported as ubiquitous in the venom of different families of scorpions. Our results suggest that, at least calcins and scorpines, could be used as molecular markers in phylogenetic studies of scorpion venoms.

  20. Venom Gland Transcriptomic and Proteomic Analyses of the Enigmatic Scorpion Superstitionia donensis (Scorpiones: Superstitioniidae), with Insights on the Evolution of Its Venom Components

    PubMed Central

    Santibáñez-López, Carlos E.; Cid-Uribe, Jimena I.; Batista, Cesar V. F.; Ortiz, Ernesto; Possani, Lourival D.

    2016-01-01

    Venom gland transcriptomic and proteomic analyses have improved our knowledge on the diversity of the heterogeneous components present in scorpion venoms. However, most of these studies have focused on species from the family Buthidae. To gain insights into the molecular diversity of the venom components of scorpions belonging to the family Superstitioniidae, one of the neglected scorpion families, we performed a transcriptomic and proteomic analyses for the species Superstitionia donensis. The total mRNA extracted from the venom glands of two specimens was subjected to massive sequencing by the Illumina protocol, and a total of 219,073 transcripts were generated. We annotated 135 transcripts putatively coding for peptides with identity to known venom components available from different protein databases. Fresh venom collected by electrostimulation was analyzed by LC-MS/MS allowing the identification of 26 distinct components with sequences matching counterparts from the transcriptomic analysis. In addition, the phylogenetic affinities of the found putative calcins, scorpines, La1-like peptides and potassium channel κ toxins were analyzed. The first three components are often reported as ubiquitous in the venom of different families of scorpions. Our results suggest that, at least calcins and scorpines, could be used as molecular markers in phylogenetic studies of scorpion venoms. PMID:27941686

  1. Binding of beta-scorpion toxin: a physicochemical study.

    PubMed

    Jover, E; Bablito, J; Couraud, F

    1984-03-13

    The binding to rat brain synaptosomes of a beta-scorpion toxin, i.e., toxin II of Centruroides suffusus suffusus (Css II), was studied as a function of pH, temperature, and concentration of some monovalent and divalent cations. At 10 degrees C and pH 6.0, the specific binding of 125I-labeled Css II corresponds to a single class of noninteracting high-affinity binding sites (KD = 0.18 nM) with a capacity (4.2 pmol/mg of protein) that is almost identical with that generally accepted for saxitoxin. The equilibrium dissociation constant of beta-scorpion toxin is pH independent, but the maximum binding capacity is reduced with increasing pH. Li+, guanidinium, Ca2+, Mg2+, and Mn2+ modified the apparent KD of the 125I-labeled Css II toxin. The equilibrium dissociation constant varies markedly with the temperature. The van't Hoff plot of the data is curvilinear, corresponding to a standard free-energy change associated with an entropy-driven process. The association rate constant also varies considerably with the temperature whereas the Arrhenius plot is linear between 1 and 30 degrees C. The energy of activation determined from these data is 17.6 kcal/mol. These results support the hypothesis that a cluster of nonpolar amino acid residues present on one face of the molecule is involved in the toxin-receptor interaction.

  2. Prey-sensing and orientational behaviors of sand scorpions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brownell, Philip

    2000-03-01

    Sand scorpions use exquisitely sensitive vibrational and chemosensory systems to locate prey and identify prospective mates active on the sand surface. Prey location is determined by input to a static array of 8 vibration-sensitive receptors, each responding as phase-locked accelerometers to compressional and surface waves conducted through sand. Angular orientation of the target is determined from passing surface (Rayleigh) waves, target distance possibly from the time delay between arrival of compressional and surface waves. For localization and identification of prospective mates, male scorpions use sexually dimorphic chemosensory appendages, the pectines, which are swept over a static stimulus field (chemical trail deposited on sand). These organs support a 2D array of closely-spaced (freq = 100/mm) sensilla containing more than 10^6 neurons, all projecting with great topographic precision to the central nervous system. Movement of this sensory array over a static stimulus field creates timing within the sensory signal. The potential importance of timing as a means of increasing sensitivity and selectivity of sensory response in two distinctly different modes is discussed.

  3. Ecology of the Scorpion, Microtityus jaumei in Sierra de Canasta, Cuba

    PubMed Central

    Cala-Riquelme, Franklyn; Colombo, Marco

    2011-01-01

    An assessment of the population dynamics of Microtityus jaumei Armas (Scorpiones: Buthidae) on the slopes south of Sierra de Canasta, Guantánamo Province, Cuba show an increase in activity over the year (≤ 0.05). The activity peak is related to the reproductive period from June to November. The abundance of scorpions was significantly related to density of the canopy and thickness of the substrate. PMID:21870972

  4. Comparative venom gland transcriptome analysis of the scorpion Lychas mucronatus reveals intraspecific toxic gene diversity and new venomous components

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Lychas mucronatus is one scorpion species widely distributed in Southeast Asia and southern China. Anything is hardly known about its venom components, despite the fact that it can often cause human accidents. In this work, we performed a venomous gland transcriptome analysis by constructing and screening the venom gland cDNA library of the scorpion Lychas mucronatus from Yunnan province and compared it with the previous results of Hainan-sourced Lychas mucronatus. Results A total of sixteen known types of venom peptides and proteins are obtained from the venom gland cDNA library of Yunnan-sourced Lychas mucronatus, which greatly increase the number of currently reported scorpion venom peptides. Interestingly, we also identified nineteen atypical types of venom molecules seldom reported in scorpion species. Surprisingly, the comparative transcriptome analysis of Yunnan-sourced Lychas mucronatus and Hainan-sourced Lychas mucronatus indicated that enormous diversity and vastly abundant difference could be found in venom peptides and proteins between populations of the scorpion Lychas mucronatus from different geographical regions. Conclusions This work characterizes a large number of venom molecules never identified in scorpion species. This result provides a comparative analysis of venom transcriptomes of the scorpion Lychas mucronatus from different geographical regions, which thoroughly reveals the fact that the venom peptides and proteins of the same scorpion species from different geographical regions are highly diversified and scorpion evolves to adapt a new environment by altering the primary structure and abundance of venom peptides and proteins. PMID:20663230

  5. Protease inhibitor in scorpion (Mesobuthus eupeus) venom prolongs the biological activities of the crude venom.

    PubMed

    Ma, Hakim; Xiao-Peng, Tang; Yang, Shi-Long; Lu, Qiu-Min; Lai, Ren

    2016-08-01

    It is hypothesized that protease inhibitors play an essential role in survival of venomous animals through protecting peptide/protein toxins from degradation by proteases in their prey or predators. However, the biological function of protease inhibitors in scorpion venoms remains unknown. In the present study, a trypsin inhibitor was purified and characterized from the venom of scorpion Mesobuthus eupeus, which enhanced the biological activities of crude venom components in mice when injected in combination with crude venom. This protease inhibitor, named MeKTT-1, belonged to Kunitz-type toxins subfamily. Native MeKTT-1 selectively inhibited trypsin with a Kivalue of 130 nmol·L(-1). Furthermore, MeKTT-1 was shown to be a thermo-stable peptide. In animal behavioral tests, MeKTT-1 prolonged the pain behavior induced by scorpion crude venom, suggesting that protease inhibitors in scorpion venom inhibited proteases and protect the functionally important peptide/protein toxins from degradation, consequently keeping them active longer. In conclusion, this was the first experimental evidence about the natural existence of serine protease inhibitor in the venom of scorpion Mesobuthus eupeus, which preserved the activity of venom components, suggests that scorpions may use protease inhibitors for survival.

  6. Broadening the neutralizing capacity of a family of antibody fragments against different toxins from Mexican scorpions.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Rodríguez, Everardo Remi; Olamendi-Portugal, Timoteo; Serrano-Posada, Hugo; Arredondo-López, Jonathan Noé; Gómez-Ramírez, Ilse; Fernández-Taboada, Guillermo; Possani, Lourival D; Anguiano-Vega, Gerardo Alfonso; Riaño-Umbarila, Lidia; Becerril, Baltazar

    2016-09-01

    New approaches aimed at neutralizing the primary toxic components present in scorpion venoms, represent a promising alternative to the use of antivenoms of equine origin in humans. New potential therapeutics developed by these approaches correspond to neutralizing antibody fragments obtained by selection and maturation processes from libraries of human origin. The high sequence identity shared among scorpion toxins is associated with an important level of cross reactivity exhibited by these antibody fragments. We have exploited the cross reactivity showed by single chain variable antibody fragments (scFvs) of human origin to re-direct the neutralizing capacity toward various other scorpion toxins. As expected, during these evolving processes several variants derived from a parental scFv exhibited the capacity to simultaneously recognize and neutralize different toxins from Centruroides scorpion venoms. A sequence analyses of the cross reacting scFvs revealed that specific mutations are responsible for broadening their neutralizing capacity. In this work, we generated a set of new scFvs that resulted from the combinatorial insertion of these point mutations. These scFvs are potential candidates to be part of a novel recombinant antivenom of human origin that could confer protection against scorpion stings. A remarkable property of one of these new scFvs (ER-5) is its capacity to neutralize at least three different toxins and its complementary capacity to neutralize the whole venom from Centruroides suffusus in combination with a second scFv (LR), which binds to a different epitope shared by Centruroides scorpion toxins.

  7. Electrocardiologic and echocardiographic features of patients exposed to scorpion bite.

    PubMed

    Alan, Sait; Ulgen, Mehmet S; Soker, Murat; Geyik, Faruk; Karabulut, Aziz; Toprak, Nizamettin

    2004-01-01

    The purpose of this study is to examine clinical progress and hemodynamic and electrocardiologic features (QT depression and heart rate variability [HRV]) of patients exposed to a scorpion bite. Seventeen patients bitten by scorpions, and, as a control group, 15 healthy subjects were included in the study. Standard electrocardiograph (ECG) records, 24-hour Holter-ECG, and Doppler echocardiographic examinations were performed. Holter ECG indicated sinus tachycardia, sinus bradycardia, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, first-degree and second-degree atrioventricular block not requiring treatment, early atrial beats, and early ventricular beats in the patients at frequencies of 82%, 12%, 35%, 12%, 8%, 70%, and 47%, respectively. HRV parameters that reflected parasympathetic activity (SD 35+/-13-43+/-16, RMS-SD: 20+/-9-30+/-12, high frequency: 7.8+/-2-4.3+/-3, p<0.05) were significantly lower (p<0.05). Low frequency, which especially showed sympathetic activity (LF: 11+/-13-11+/-23, p>0.05), was similar in both groups. In addition, the LF/HF ratio, which reflected sympathovagal balance, was significantly increased in the patient group (1.5+/-1-3.0+/-2, p=0.005). Corrected QT and QT dispersion values were not significantly different with respect to the control (p>0.05). In the patient group compared to the control, a significant decrease was determined in the proportion of mitral E velocity to mitral A velocity (mEv/mAv), diastolic filling period (DFP), and left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), while a significant increase was noticed in pulmonary artery pressure (PAP) (mEv/mAv: 0.9+/-0.4-1.7+/-0.6, DFP: 362+/-8.5-425+/-89, LVEF: 53.1+/-6.7-68.6+/-5.8, PAP: 38.1+/-13-27.2+/-6, p<0.05). Scorpion bite leads to serious cardiovascular disorders, associated with decreased HRV, decreased systolic and diastolic functions, increased arrhythmic events, and hemodynamic disturbance with sympathetic and parasympathetic balance disturbance.

  8. Evolution stings: the origin and diversification of scorpion toxin peptide scaffolds.

    PubMed

    Sunagar, Kartik; Undheim, Eivind A B; Chan, Angelo H C; Koludarov, Ivan; Muñoz-Gómez, Sergio A; Antunes, Agostinho; Fry, Bryan G

    2013-12-13

    The episodic nature of natural selection and the accumulation of extreme sequence divergence in venom-encoding genes over long periods of evolutionary time can obscure the signature of positive Darwinian selection. Recognition of the true biocomplexity is further hampered by the limited taxon selection, with easy to obtain or medically important species typically being the subject of intense venom research, relative to the actual taxonomical diversity in nature. This holds true for scorpions, which are one of the most ancient terrestrial venomous animal lineages. The family Buthidae that includes all the medically significant species has been intensely investigated around the globe, while almost completely ignoring the remaining non-buthid families. Australian scorpion lineages, for instance, have been completely neglected, with only a single scorpion species (Urodacus yaschenkoi) having its venom transcriptome sequenced. Hence, the lack of venom composition and toxin sequence information from an entire continent's worth of scorpions has impeded our understanding of the molecular evolution of scorpion venom. The molecular origin, phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary histories of most scorpion toxin scaffolds remain enigmatic. In this study, we have sequenced venom gland transcriptomes of a wide taxonomical diversity of scorpions from Australia, including buthid and non-buthid representatives. Using state-of-art molecular evolutionary analyses, we show that a majority of CSα/β toxin scaffolds have experienced episodic influence of positive selection, while most non-CSα/β linear toxins evolve under the extreme influence of negative selection. For the first time, we have unraveled the molecular origin of the major scorpion toxin scaffolds, such as scorpion venom single von Willebrand factor C-domain peptides (SV-SVC), inhibitor cystine knot (ICK), disulphide-directed beta-hairpin (DDH), bradykinin potentiating peptides (BPP), linear non-disulphide bridged

  9. Severity of Scorpion Stings in the Western Brazilian Amazon: A Case-Control Study

    PubMed Central

    Queiroz, Amanda M.; Sampaio, Vanderson S.; Mendonça, Iran; Fé, Nelson F.; Sachett, Jacqueline; Ferreira, Luiz Carlos L.; Feitosa, Esaú; Wen, Fan Hui; Lacerda, Marcus; Monteiro, Wuelton

    2015-01-01

    Background Scorpion stings are a major public health problem in Brazil, with an increasing number of registered cases every year. Affecting mostly vulnerable populations, the phenomenon is not well described and is considered a neglected disease. In Brazil, the use of anti-venom formulations is provided free of charge. The associate scorpion sting case is subject to compulsory reporting. This paper describes the epidemiology and identifies factors associated with severity of scorpions stings in the state of Amazonas, in the Western Brazilian Amazon. Methodology/Principal Findings This study included all cases of scorpion stings in the state of Amazonas reported to the Brazilian Diseases Surveillance System from January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2014. A case-control study was conducted to identify factors associated with scorpions sting severity. A total of 2,120 cases were reported during this period. The mean incidence rate in the Amazonas was 7.6 per 100,000 inhabitants/year. Scorpion stings showed a large spatial distribution in the state and represent a potential occupational health problem for rural populations. There was a positive correlation between the absolute number of cases and the altimetric river levels in the Central (p<0.001; Rs = 0.479 linear) and Southwest (p = 0.032; linear Rs = 0.261) regions of the state. Cases were mostly classified as mild (68.6%), followed by moderate (26.8%), and severe (4.6%). The overall lethality rate was 0.3%. Lethality rate among children ≤10 years was 1.3%. Age <10 years [OR = 2.58 (95%CI = 1.47–4.55; p = 0.001)], stings occurring in the rural area [OR = 1.97 (95%CI = 1.18–3.29; p = 0.033) and in the South region of the state [OR = 1.85 (95%CI = 1.17–2.93; p = 0.008)] were independently associated with the risk of developing severity. Conclusions/Significance Scorpion stings show an extensive distribution in the Western Brazilian Amazon threatening especially rural populations, children ≤10 in particular. Thus

  10. Two bioactive compounds from the Chinese scorpion Buthusmartensii Karsch.

    PubMed

    Gao, Jiayu; Yin, Weiping; Gao, Ting; Deng, Ruixue; Li, Xin

    2014-01-01

    Two compounds, 3β-acetoxyl,2,14,22-trihydroxy,19-hydroxymethyl,9α,5β,14β-card-20(22)enolide (1) and 1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-6-hydroxy1-5-pyrimidinecarbox-aldehyde (2), were isolated from arthropods in scorpion, Buthus martensii Karsch, by medium pressure liquid chromatography with silica gel as stationary phase and RP-HPLC analysis technology. The structures were elucidated on the basis of NMR spectroscopic analysis and HR-ESI-MS determination. It was found that (1) is a novel compound and both compounds showed inhibitory activities against the Gram-positive bacteria Bacillus subtilis (minimum inhibitory concentrations = 15 μg/mL), with diameter of inhibition zone at ϕ = 6.0 mm (compound 1) and ϕ = 9.0 mm (compound 2), respectively.

  11. The insecticidal potential of scorpion beta-toxins.

    PubMed

    Gurevitz, Michael; Karbat, Izhar; Cohen, Lior; Ilan, Nitza; Kahn, Roy; Turkov, Michael; Stankiewicz, Maria; Stühmer, Walter; Dong, Ke; Gordon, Dalia

    2007-03-15

    Voltage-gated sodium channels are a major target for toxins and insecticides due to their central role in excitability, but due to the conservation of these channels in Animalia most insecticides do not distinguish between those of insects and mammals, thereby imposing risks to humans and livestock. Evidently, as long as modern agriculture depends heavily on the use of insecticides there is a great need for new substances capable of differentiating between sodium channel subtypes. Such substances exist in venomous animals, but ways for their exploitation have not yet been developed due to problems associated with manufacturing, degradation, and delivery to the target channels. Engineering of plants for expression of anti-insect toxins or use of natural vectors that express toxins near their target site (e.g. baculoviruses) are still problematic and raise public concern. In this problematic reality a rational approach might be to learn from nature how to design highly selective anti-insect compounds preferably in the form of peptidomimetics. This is a complex task that requires the elucidation of the face of interaction between insect-selective toxins and their sodium channel receptor sites. This review delineates current progress in: (i) elucidation of the bioactive surfaces of scorpion beta-toxins, especially the excitatory and depressant groups, which show high preference for insects and bind insect sodium channels with high affinity; (ii) studies of the mode of interaction of scorpion beta-toxins with receptor site-4 on voltage-gated sodium channels; and (iii) clarification of channel elements that constitute receptor site-4. This information may be useful in future attempts to mimic the bioactive surface of the toxins for the design of anti-insect selective peptidomimetics.

  12. Scorpion Potassium Channel-blocking Defensin Highlights a Functional Link with Neurotoxin.

    PubMed

    Meng, Lanxia; Xie, Zili; Zhang, Qian; Li, Yang; Yang, Fan; Chen, Zongyun; Li, Wenxin; Cao, Zhijian; Wu, Yingliang

    2016-03-25

    The structural similarity between defensins and scorpion neurotoxins suggests that they might have evolved from a common ancestor. However, there is no direct experimental evidence demonstrating a functional link between scorpion neurotoxins and defensins. The scorpion defensin BmKDfsin4 from Mesobuthus martensiiKarsch contains 37 amino acid residues and a conserved cystine-stabilized α/β structural fold. The recombinant BmKDfsin4, a classical defensin, has been found to have inhibitory activity against Gram-positive bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, and Micrococcus luteusas well as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus Interestingly, electrophysiological experiments showed that BmKDfsin4,like scorpion potassium channel neurotoxins, could effectively inhibit Kv1.1, Kv1.2, and Kv1.3 channel currents, and its IC50value for the Kv1.3 channel was 510.2 nm Similar to the structure-function relationships of classical scorpion potassium channel-blocking toxins, basic residues (Lys-13 and Arg-19) of BmKDfsin4 play critical roles in peptide-Kv1.3 channel interactions. Furthermore, mutagenesis and electrophysiological experiments demonstrated that the channel extracellular pore region is the binding site of BmKDfsin4, indicating that BmKDfsin4 adopts the same mechanism for blocking potassium channel currents as classical scorpion toxins. Taken together, our work identifies scorpion BmKDfsin4 as the first invertebrate defensin to block potassium channels. These findings not only demonstrate that defensins from invertebrate animals are a novel type of potassium channel blockers but also provide evidence of a functional link between defensins and neurotoxins.

  13. Scorpion Potassium Channel-blocking Defensin Highlights a Functional Link with Neurotoxin*

    PubMed Central

    Meng, Lanxia; Xie, Zili; Zhang, Qian; Li, Yang; Yang, Fan; Chen, Zongyun; Li, Wenxin; Cao, Zhijian; Wu, Yingliang

    2016-01-01

    The structural similarity between defensins and scorpion neurotoxins suggests that they might have evolved from a common ancestor. However, there is no direct experimental evidence demonstrating a functional link between scorpion neurotoxins and defensins. The scorpion defensin BmKDfsin4 from Mesobuthus martensii Karsch contains 37 amino acid residues and a conserved cystine-stabilized α/β structural fold. The recombinant BmKDfsin4, a classical defensin, has been found to have inhibitory activity against Gram-positive bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, and Micrococcus luteus as well as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Interestingly, electrophysiological experiments showed that BmKDfsin4,like scorpion potassium channel neurotoxins, could effectively inhibit Kv1.1, Kv1.2, and Kv1.3 channel currents, and its IC50 value for the Kv1.3 channel was 510.2 nm. Similar to the structure-function relationships of classical scorpion potassium channel-blocking toxins, basic residues (Lys-13 and Arg-19) of BmKDfsin4 play critical roles in peptide-Kv1.3 channel interactions. Furthermore, mutagenesis and electrophysiological experiments demonstrated that the channel extracellular pore region is the binding site of BmKDfsin4, indicating that BmKDfsin4adopts the same mechanism for blocking potassium channel currents as classical scorpion toxins. Taken together, our work identifies scorpion BmKDfsin4 as the first invertebrate defensin to block potassium channels. These findings not only demonstrate that defensins from invertebrate animals are a novel type of potassium channel blockers but also provide evidence of a functional link between defensins and neurotoxins. PMID:26817841

  14. Reliable Refuge: Two Sky Island Scorpion Species Select Larger, Thermally Stable Retreat Sites.

    PubMed

    Becker, Jamie E; Brown, Christopher A

    2016-01-01

    Sky island scorpions shelter under rocks and other surface debris, but, as with other scorpions, it is unclear whether these species select retreat sites randomly. Furthermore, little is known about the thermal preferences of scorpions, and no research has been done to identify whether reproductive condition might influence retreat site selection. The objectives were to (1) identify physical or thermal characteristics for retreat sites occupied by two sky island scorpions (Vaejovis cashi Graham 2007 and V. electrum Hughes 2011) and those not occupied; (2) determine whether retreat site selection differs between the two study species; and (3) identify whether thermal selection differs between species and between gravid and non-gravid females of the same species. Within each scorpion's habitat, maximum dimensions of rocks along a transect line were measured and compared to occupied rocks to determine whether retreat site selection occurred randomly. Temperature loggers were placed under a subset of occupied and unoccupied rocks for 48 hours to compare the thermal characteristics of these rocks. Thermal gradient trials were conducted before parturition and after dispersal of young in order to identify whether gravidity influences thermal preference. Vaejovis cashi and V. electrum both selected larger retreat sites that had more stable thermal profiles. Neither species appeared to have thermal preferences influenced by reproductive condition. However, while thermal selection did not differ among non-gravid individuals, gravid V. electrum selected warmer temperatures than its gravid congener. Sky island scorpions appear to select large retreat sites to maintain thermal stability, although biotic factors (e.g., competition) could also be involved in this choice. Future studies should focus on identifying the various biotic or abiotic factors that could influence retreat site selection in scorpions, as well as determining whether reproductive condition affects thermal

  15. Une nouvelle famille de scorpions du Crétacé inférieur du Brésil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Carvalho, Maria da Gloria P.; Lourenço, Wilson R.

    2001-06-01

    A new family, new genus and species of fossil scorpions are described from the Early Cretaceous of Brazil, Santana formation, Crato area in the state of Ceará. These fossils can be classified together with extant families within the Scorpionoidea. This suggests that these modern scorpions belong to lineages present at least for 110 Myr.

  16. The Mediterranean scorpion Mesobuthus gibbosus (Scorpiones, Buthidae): transcriptome analysis and organization of the genome encoding chlorotoxin-like peptides

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Transcrof toxin genes of scorpion species have been published. Up to this moment, no information on the gene characterization of M. gibbosus is available. Results This study provides the first insight into gene expression in venom glands from M. gibbosus scorpion. A cDNA library was generated from the venom glands and subsequently analyzed (301 clones). Sequences from 177 high-quality ESTs were grouped as 48 Mgib sequences, of those 48 sequences, 40 (29 “singletons” and 11 “contigs”) correspond with one or more ESTs. We identified putative precursor sequences and were grouped them in different categories (39 unique transcripts, one with alternative reading frames), resulting in the identification of 12 new toxin-like and 5 antimicrobial precursors (transcripts). The analysis of the gene families revealed several new components categorized among various toxin families with effect on ion channels. Sequence analysis of a new KTx precursor provides evidence to validate a new KTx subfamily (α-KTx 27.x). A second part of this work involves the genomic organization of three Meg-chlorotoxin-like genes (ClTxs). Genomic DNA sequence reveals close similarities (presence of one same-phase intron) with the sole genomic organization of chlorotoxins ever reported (from M. martensii). Conclusions Transcriptome analysis is a powerful strategy that provides complete information of the gene expression and molecular diversity of the venom glands (telson). In this work, we generated the first catalogue of the gene expression and genomic organization of toxins from M. gibbosus. Our result represents a relevant contribution to the knowledge of toxin transcripts and complementary information related with other cell function proteins and venom peptide transcripts. The genomic organization of the chlorotoxin genes may help to understand the diversity of this gene family. PMID:24746279

  17. Scorpions from the Island of Côn Son (Poulo Condore), Vietnam and description of a new species of Chaerilus Simon, 1877 (Scorpiones, Chaerilidae).

    PubMed

    Lourenço, Wilson R

    2011-10-01

    The scorpion fauna of the Island of Côn Son (Poulo Condore), Vietnam is briefly discussed and a new species, Chaerilus phami sp. n. is described. The new species is morphologically distinct from all the other species of Chaerilus described from the mainland in Vietnam.

  18. Scorpion poisoning in the Acosta and Caripe Counties of Monagas State, Venezuela. part 1: characterization of some epidemiological aspects.

    PubMed

    De Sousa L; Parrilla; Tillero; Valdiviezo; Ledezma; Jorquera; Quiroga

    1997-01-01

    Scorpion poisoning was surveyed in Acosta and Caripe counties, located in the Turimiquire subregion of Monagas State, Venezuela, aiming to expand information on stings by characterizing some epidemiological aspects. From 1987 to 1993, 298 cases of scorpion stings were recorded in Acosta and Caripe counties. Acosta had 212 cases, with an annual incidence rate of 18.3 (cases per 10,000 inhabitants) and a period median incidence rate of 128 . The scorpion poisoning index is 4.18 times greater in Acosta than in Caripe, confirming the former as a hyperendemic zone for this type of injury, with a phenomenon of cyclical temporal fluctuations and an upward trend. This area is infested with scorpions of the genus Tityus. Our results show that the region surveyed in Monagas State is endemic for scorpion stings, posing a major public health problem.

  19. Pathophysiology of dilatation of pupils due to scorpion and snake envenomation and its therapeutic value: Clinical observations

    PubMed Central

    Bawaskar, Himmatrao S; Bawaskar, Parag H; Bawaskar, Pramodini H

    2017-01-01

    Dilated nonreacting pupils are routinely taken as a sign of irreversible brain damage. Alpha-receptor stimulation (scorpion sting) and presynaptic acetylcholine receptor blocker (krait bite) may result in dilation of pupils without involvement of the brain. This study was aimed to clinically evaluate the response of pupils in scorpion sting and krait bite. Victims of scorpion sting and krait bite were chosen from Raigad district. Scorpion sting and krait bite cases were admitted to hospital and were clinically evaluated in detail regarding neurological manifestations. Both cases had nonreacting dilation of pupils, complete neurological recovery accompanied with reverse of pupillary size and its response to light. In scorpion sting and krait bite poisoning, dilated nonreacting pupils are not the signs of irreversible brain damage. PMID:28300747

  20. Epidemiological aspect of scorpion sting in Bandar Abbas, Iran, during 2009–2011

    PubMed Central

    Moosavy, Seyed Hamid; Shahi, Mehran; Rafinejad, Javad; Zare, Shahram; Madani, Abdoulhossain; Navidpour, Shahrokh

    2016-01-01

    Introduction People in tropical and semi-tropical areas are in danger of scorpion sting, and this can be a serious problem for them. Mortality due to scorpion sting in the tropical and semi-tropical areas of Iran is about 75%, and this makes scorpion sting in these areas a serious medical problem. Because of this problem, our aim was to assess the epidemiological aspects of scorpion sting in Bandar Abbas, Iran, during 2009–2011. Methods In this cross-sectional retrospective study, epidemiologic data of 698 scorpion sting cases, who were referred to the Shahid Mohamadi Hospital of Bandar Abbas in Hormozgan Province collected from 2009 until 2011. The data included demographic and individual information, such as age, gender, geographic location, bite site, when the incident occurred, and anti-venom consumption. The required data were extracted from the patients’ recorded information in the Hospital, and we recorded data in a special checklist and imported the data into the computer for statistical analysis using of SPSS software, version 21.0. Descriptive statistics, including mean, standard deviation, frequency, and percentage, were used for data analysis. Results Two hundred and sixty-one (37.4%) of the cases were urban and 437(62.6%) were rural. Males comprised 50.1% of the cases, and women comprised 49.9% (p >0.05). Twenty-five point two percent of scorpion sting cases occurred among people in the 21 to 30 age group, and there were very few cases among people in the 51 to 60 age range (p<0.05). Most of cases were recorded in April and October, and the fewest cases were recorded in July and January (p<0.05); also 32.2% of scorpion sting cases occurred after midnight and in the early morning hours. Conclusion Our survey showed that there was a high incidence of scorpion stings in rural areas, among 21–30 age group, among housekeepers, and among students. These results indicate the need for public education programs and better sanitation services in the rural

  1. [Scorpion envenomation treated in the Infectious and Tropical Diseases at the Donka National Hospital, Guinea].

    PubMed

    Sako, F B; Bangoura, E F; Traoré, F A; Soumah, M M; Tounkara, T M; Djessanglar, R; Baldé, H; Baldé, O

    2014-12-01

    A retrospective descriptive study was conducted from 1(st) October 2010 to 30 November 2012 on the records of patients admitted for scorpion envenomation in the Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases at the Donka National Hospital. The objective of this study is to describe the epidemiological profile and clinical characteristics of scorpion envenomation in Maritime Guinea, from scorpion stings recently covered in this service. We collected 75 cases of scorpion envenomation. The median age was 21.5 with interquartile 8 and 20 and sex ratio was 1.29. The upper limbs were involved in 55% of cases, followed by the lower limbs (35%), trunk (6%), head and neck (4%). We observed 63% of patients with local signs, 30% mild and general clinical signs of 7% severe systemic symptoms. All patients received an analgesic and a heterologous antitoxin, associated with an antibiotic (87% of patients), a corticosteroid (72%), diazepam (13%) and furosemide (34.6%). The incidence of scorpion envenomation is not negligible despite underreporting of cases, most often treated in traditional medicine.

  2. [National strategy in the battle against scorpion stings and envenomations. Application and evaluation].

    PubMed

    Soulaymani Bencheikh, R; Faraj, Z; Semlali, I; Ouammi, L; Badri, M

    2003-11-01

    Scorpion stings represent the first cause of poisoning with an incidence of 30 to 50% of all declared cases in the Centre Anti Poison of Morocco (CAPM). Aware of this increasing problem, the CAPM paid special attention to this pathology. Thanks to its retrospective and prospective studies, the scorpion species mapping has been determined as well as the demographic features of stung patients, the nature and the chronology of clinical events in scorpion envenimation, and the epidemiological, clinical and therapeutical factors of severity. On this basis, the CAPM worked out a national strategy to struggle against scorpion stings whose aim was to decrease the morbidity and mortality caused by stings of scorpion as well as to rationalise economic expenses. The components of this strategy were based on the training of the medical and paramedical staff, on information, education, communication involving different sectors, on identification of needs and on follow-up and assessment. A nationwide campaign was implemented to change the population and health-care staff's behaviour regarding this pathology. Its evaluation permitted to improve the compilation of cases with census of 14104 cases, to reduce lethality rate and to rationalise expenses while banishing some medicines and avoiding useless hospitalization.

  3. Pulmonary edema following scorpion envenomation: mechanisms, clinical manifestations, diagnosis and treatment.

    PubMed

    Bahloul, Mabrouk; Chaari, Anis; Dammak, Hassen; Samet, Mohamed; Chtara, Kamilia; Chelly, Hedi; Ben Hamida, Chokri; Kallel, Hatem; Bouaziz, Mounir

    2013-01-10

    Scorpion envenomation is common in tropical and subtropical regions. Cardio-respiratory manifestations, mainly cardiogenic shock and pulmonary edema, are the leading causes of death after scorpion envenomation. The mechanism of pulmonary edema remains unclear and contradictory conclusions were published. However, most publications confirm that pulmonary edema has been attributed to acute left ventricular failure. Cardiac failure can result from massive release of catecholamines, myocardial damage induced by the venom or myocardial ischemia. Factors usually associated with the diagnosis of pulmonary edema were young age, tachypnea, agitation, sweating, or the presence of high plasma protein concentrations. Treatment of scorpion envenomation has two components: antivenom administration and supportive care. The latter mainly targets hemodynamic impairment and cardiogenic pulmonary edema. In Latin America, and India, the use of Prazosin is recommended for treatment of pulmonary edema because pulmonary edema is associated with arterial hypertension. However, in North Africa, scorpion leads to cardiac failure with systolic dysfunction with normal vascular resistance and dobutamine was recommended. Dobutamine infusion should be used as soon as we have enough evidence suggesting the presence of pulmonary edema, since it has been demonstrated that scorpion envenomation can result in pulmonary edema secondary to acute left ventricular failure. In severe cases, mechanical ventilation can be required.

  4. Evolutionary morphology of the hemolymph vascular system in scorpions: a character analysis.

    PubMed

    Klußmann-Fricke, B-J; Prendini, L; Wirkner, C S

    2012-11-01

    Phylogenetically informative characters from the internal anatomy of scorpions were first reported more than 150 years ago, but the subject received little attention after the mid-1920s. Recent investigations, using traditional dissection, illustration and histological sectioning, microscopy, and innovative new methods for investigating complex soft tissue anatomy identified a new wealth of variation. Additionally, these investigations confirmed the phylogenetic significance of previously identified structures. Building on earlier work we present a more detailed description of the hemolymph vascular system (HVS) in scorpions, based on comparison of the vascular structures of the heart and the branching pattern of the prosomal arteries among 45 exemplar species representing most of the major scorpion lineages. Using corrosion-casting, MicroCT in combination with computer-aided 3D-reconstruction, and scanning electron microscopy, we conceptualize a series of phylogenetically informative characters for the anterior aorta system and characters of the heart and associated structures (e.g. arrangement of the ostia) of scorpions. Furthermore, we optimize the possible evolution of these new characters on a previous hypothesis of scorpion phylogeny, and discuss alternative character state transformations, their evolutionary consequences, and possible underlying evolutionary mechanisms acting on the HVS.

  5. Phylogenomic resolution of scorpions reveals multilevel discordance with morphological phylogenetic signal.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Prashant P; Fernández, Rosa; Esposito, Lauren A; González-Santillán, Edmundo; Monod, Lionel

    2015-04-07

    Scorpions represent an iconic lineage of arthropods, historically renowned for their unique bauplan, ancient fossil record and venom potency. Yet, higher level relationships of scorpions, based exclusively on morphology, remain virtually untested, and no multilocus molecular phylogeny has been deployed heretofore towards assessing the basal tree topology. We applied a phylogenomic assessment to resolve scorpion phylogeny, for the first time, to our knowledge, sampling extensive molecular sequence data from all superfamilies and examining basal relationships with up to 5025 genes. Analyses of supermatrices as well as species tree approaches converged upon a robust basal topology of scorpions that is entirely at odds with traditional systematics and controverts previous understanding of scorpion evolutionary history. All analyses unanimously support a single origin of katoikogenic development, a form of parental investment wherein embryos are nurtured by direct connections to the parent's digestive system. Based on the phylogeny obtained herein, we propose the following systematic emendations: Caraboctonidae is transferred to Chactoidea new superfamilial assignment: ; superfamily Bothriuroidea revalidated: is resurrected and Bothriuridae transferred therein; and Chaerilida and Pseudochactida are synonymized with Buthida new parvordinal synonymies: .

  6. Scorpion katoikogenic ovariuterus - Much more alike to apoikogenic type than it seemed to be.

    PubMed

    Jędrzejowska, Izabela; Szymusiak, Kamil; Mazurkiewicz-Kania, Marta; Garbiec, Arnold

    2016-09-01

    Scorpions are viviparous matrotrophic arthropods. Both, fertilization and embryonic development occur in the female gonad called ovariuterus. Two distinct reproductive patterns are recognized among scorpions: apoikogenic and katoikogenic. In the ovariuterus of apoikogenic scorpions growing oocytes protrude from the ovarian wall and continue previtellogenic and vitellogenic growth on the gonad surface being accompanied by the follicular cells that cover the oocyte surface, and, in most families, the stalk cells that join the oocyte with the ovariuterus wall. In the katoikogenic ovariuterus the oocytes grow in outpocketings of the ovarian wall called diverticula. The aim of our study was to show the development and structure of the diverticula in two katoikogenic scorpions from the family Scorpionidae: Ophistothalmus boehmei and Heterometrus spinifer. We show that the somatic components of each diverticulum develop from the two epithelial layers of the ovariuterine wall. Before fertilization, the wall of the mature diverticula consists of two distinctive epithelial layers: an internal and an external one. Our observations reveal that the epithelial cells of the internal layer of the diverticulum show striking morphological resemblance to the follicular and stalk cells that accompany the growing oocytes in some apoikogenic scorpions. The external epithelial layer of the katoikogenic diverticulum seems to have no equivalents in the apoikogenic type. Functions of the somatic cells of the diverticulum are discussed.

  7. Predation among armored arachnids: Bothriurus bonariensis (Scorpions, Bothriuridae) versus four species of harvestmen (Harvestmen, Gonyleptidae).

    PubMed

    Albín, Andrea; Toscano-Gadea, Carlos A

    2015-12-01

    Natural selection shapes prey-predator relationships and their behavioral adaptations, which seek to maximize capture success in the predator and avoidance in the prey. We tested the ability of adults of the scorpion Bothriurus bonariensis (Bothriuridae) to prey on synchronous and sympatric adults harvestmen of Acanthopachylus aculeatus, Discocyrtus prospicuus, Parampheres bimaculatus and Pachyloides thorellii (Gonyleptidae). In 72.5% of the cases B. bonariensis tried to prey on the harvestmen. The most successful captures occurred in the trials against A. aculeatus and D. prospicuus. In all the successful attacks the scorpions stung the prey between the chelicerae and consumed them, starting by the anterior portion of their bodies. The harvestmen used different defensive strategies such as fleeing before or after contact with the predator, exudating of chemical substances or staying still at the scorpion's touch. When scorpions contacted the chemical substances secreted by the harvestmen, they immediately rubbed the affected appendix against the substrate. However, exudating of chemical substances did not prevent, in any case, predation on the harvestmen. This is the first study showing the ability of scorpions to prey on different species of harvestmen, as well as the capture and defensive behaviors used by the predator and the prey.

  8. Scorpions regulate their energy metabolism towards increased carbohydrate oxidation in response to dehydration.

    PubMed

    Kalra, Bhawna; Gefen, Eran

    2012-08-01

    Scorpions successfully inhabit some of the most arid habitats on earth. During exposure to desiccating stress water is mobilized from the scorpion hepatopancreas to replenish the hemolymph and retain hydration and osmotic stability. Carbohydrate catabolism is advantageous under these conditions as it results in high metabolic water production rate, as well as the release of glycogen-bound water. Hypothesizing that metabolic fuel utilization in scorpions is regulated in order to boost body water management under stressful conditions we used a comparative approach, studying energy metabolism during prolonged desiccation in four species varying in resistance performance. We used respirometry for calculating respiratory gas exchange ratios, indicative of metabolic fuel utilization, and measured metabolic fuel contents in the scorpion hepatopancreas. We found that hydrated scorpions used a mixture of metabolic fuels (respiratory exchange rates, RER~0.9), but a shift towards carbohydrate catabolism was common during prolonged desiccation stress. Furthermore, the timing of metabolic shift to exclusive carbohydrate oxidation (RER not different from 1.0) was correlated with desiccation resistance of the respective studied species, suggesting triggering by alterations to hemolymph homeostasis.

  9. Forecasting and prediction of scorpion sting cases in Biskra province, Algeria, using a seasonal autoregressive integrated moving average model

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    OBJECTIVES The aims of this study were to highlight some epidemiological aspects of scorpion envenomations, to analyse and interpret the available data for Biskra province, Algeria, and to develop a forecasting model for scorpion sting cases in Biskra province, which records the highest number of scorpion stings in Algeria. METHODS In addition to analysing the epidemiological profile of scorpion stings that occurred throughout the year 2013, we used the Box-Jenkins approach to fit a seasonal autoregressive integrated moving average (SARIMA) model to the monthly recorded scorpion sting cases in Biskra from 2000 to 2012. RESULTS The epidemiological analysis revealed that scorpion stings were reported continuously throughout the year, with peaks in the summer months. The most affected age group was 15 to 49 years old, with a male predominance. The most prone human body areas were the upper and lower limbs. The majority of cases (95.9%) were classified as mild envenomations. The time series analysis showed that a (5,1,0)×(0,1,1)12 SARIMA model offered the best fit to the scorpion sting surveillance data. This model was used to predict scorpion sting cases for the year 2013, and the fitted data showed considerable agreement with the actual data. CONCLUSIONS SARIMA models are useful for monitoring scorpion sting cases, and provide an estimate of the variability to be expected in future scorpion sting cases. This knowledge is helpful in predicting whether an unusual situation is developing or not, and could therefore assist decision-makers in strengthening the province’s prevention and control measures and in initiating rapid response measures. PMID:27866407

  10. Watch Out for Your Neighbor: Climbing onto Shrubs Is Related to Risk of Cannibalism in the Scorpion Buthus cf. occitanus

    PubMed Central

    Urbano-Tenorio, Fernando

    2016-01-01

    The distribution and behavior of foraging animals usually imply a balance between resource availability and predation risk. In some predators such as scorpions, cannibalism constitutes an important mortality factor determining their ecology and behavior. Climbing on vegetation by scorpions has been related both to prey availability and to predation (cannibalism) risk. We tested different hypotheses proposed to explain climbing on vegetation by scorpions. We analyzed shrub climbing in Buthus cf. occitanus with regard to the following: a) better suitability of prey size for scorpions foraging on shrubs than on the ground, b) selection of shrub species with higher prey load, c) seasonal variations in prey availability on shrubs, and d) whether or not cannibalism risk on the ground increases the frequency of shrub climbing. Prey availability on shrubs was compared by estimating prey abundance in sticky traps placed in shrubs. A prey sample from shrubs was measured to compare prey size. Scorpions were sampled in six plots (50 m x 10 m) to estimate the proportion of individuals climbing on shrubs. Size difference and distance between individuals and their closest scorpion neighbor were measured to assess cannibalism risk. The results showed that mean prey size was two-fold larger on the ground. Selection of particular shrub species was not related to prey availability. Seasonal variations in the number of scorpions on shrubs were related to the number of active scorpions, but not with fluctuations in prey availability. Size differences between a scorpion and its nearest neighbor were positively related with a higher probability for a scorpion to climb onto a shrub when at a disadvantage, but distance was not significantly related. These results do not support hypotheses explaining shrub climbing based on resource availability. By contrast, our results provide evidence that shrub climbing is related to cannibalism risk. PMID:27655347

  11. Clinico-epidemiology of stings and envenoming of Hottentotta tamulus (Scorpiones: Buthidae), the Indian red scorpion from Jaffna Peninsula in northern Sri Lanka.

    PubMed

    Kularatne, Senanayake A M; Dinamithra, Nandana P; Sivansuthan, Sivapalan; Weerakoon, Kosala G A D; Thillaimpalam, Bhanu; Kalyanasundram, Vithiya; Ranawana, Kithsiri B

    2015-01-01

    In recent years, stings of a lethal scorpion species were recorded from Jaffna Peninsula in the northern dry zone of Sri Lanka. This species was identified as Hottentotta tamulus (Scorpiones: Buthidae) which is the Indian red scorpion commonly found in Maharashtra, India. The Teaching Hospital, Jaffna recorded 84 H. tamulus stings over a year in 2012 and of them, 23 cases provided offending scorpions (proven cases). Three localities in Jaffna were recorded as hotspots of scorpion stings namely Palali, Achchuvali and Karainagar. Of the proven cases, 13 (57%) and 10 (43%) were males and females respectively and had a mean age of 30 years (SD ± 20 years). Among them, 5 (22%) were children below 12 years. In 13 (57%) patients stings occurred inside their houses including two children (40%). Six (26%) stings occurred at night when the victims were in sleep. Median time taken to arrive at the hospital from the time of stinging was 58 min (range 8-550 min). Signs of over activation of autonomic nervous system predominated the clinical picture-tachycardia in 14 (61%), high blood pressure in 11 (48%), excessive sweating in 9 (39%), excessive salivation in 5 (22%), hypotension in 4 (17%) and piloerection in 3 (13%). Children showed higher predilection to develop tachycardia - 4 (80%) and excessive salivation - 3 (60%). Priapism was not observed and 17 (74%) patients have developed intense pain at the site of sting. The commonest ECG change was tachycardia (73%) and occasional T wave inversion. Prazosin as a treatment was given to 22 (96%) patients. All patients made recovery and 13 (57%) patients left the hospital within two days. In future, there is a potential risk of spreading this species to elsewhere in the country and may disturb the ecological balance.

  12. African Aesthetics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Abiodun, Rowland

    2001-01-01

    No single traditional discipline can adequately supply answers to the many unresolved questions in African art history. Because of the aesthetic, cultural, historical, and, not infrequently, political biases, already built into the conception and development of Western art history, the discipline of art history as defined and practiced in the West…

  13. African Pentecostalism

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Garrard, David J.

    2009-01-01

    The diversity of African Pentecostalism, its early colonial and missionary history and its current characteristics are described and analysed. Reference is made to methods of training and forms of leadership, and suggestions are made about the reasons for its growth and persistence. (Contains 19 notes.)

  14. Study of biomechanical, anatomical, and physiological properties of scorpion stingers for developing biomimetic materials.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Zi-Long; Shu, Tao; Feng, Xi-Qiao

    2016-01-01

    Through natural selection, many animal organs have evolved superior mechanical properties and elegant hierarchical structures adaptive to their multiple biological functions. We combine experiments and theory to investigate the composition-structure-property-function relations of scorpion stingers. Their hierarchical structures and functionally gradient mechanical properties were revealed. Slow motion analysis of the penetration process of a scorpion stinger was performed to examine the refined survival skills of scorpions. An experiment-based mechanics model of the stinger was proposed, the results of which revealed an optimized range of penetration angle in an insertion event. Both theoretical and numerical results are in good agreement with our experimental measurements. The analysis method and physical insights of this work are potentially important for investigating a general class of sharp-edge biological materials, e.g., cattle horns, spider fangs, cat claws, and plant thorns.

  15. A novel class of antimicrobial peptides from the scorpion Heterometrus spinifer.

    PubMed

    Nie, Yao; Zeng, Xian-Chun; Yang, Ye; Luo, Feng; Luo, Xuesong; Wu, Shifen; Zhang, Lei; Zhou, Jianping

    2012-12-01

    The venom peptides from the scorpion Heterometrus spinifer have been poorly characterized so far. Here, we identified a novel class of antimicrobial peptides from the venom gland of H. spinifer, which were referred to as HsAp, HsAp2, HsAp3 and HsAp4, respectively. Each of the four peptides consists of 29 amino acid residues, and is cationic and weakly amphipathic. They display no significant homology to any other known peptides, and thus represent a new family of venom peptides from scorpions. Antimicrobial assay showed that HsAp is able to inhibit the growth of both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria with the MIC values of 11.8-51.2 μM. HsAp is also able to inhibit the growth of the tested fungus. Genomic analysis indicated that the genes of all the four peptides are intronless. Our studies expand the families of antimicrobial peptides from scorpions.

  16. A theory of vibrational prey localization in two dimensions: the sand scorpion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Hemmen, J. Leo

    2000-03-01

    Sand scorpions, and many other arachnids, find their prey at night by localizing the source of mechanical waves produced by prey movements. Substrate vibrations propagating through sand evoke stimulus-locked action potentials from slit sensilla on the scorpion's eight `feet' (tarsi). We present a neuronal model to account for stimulus angle determination in a two-dimensional plane using a population of second-order neurons, each receiving excitatory input from one tarsus and inhibition from a triad opposite to it. This input opens a time window whose width determines the firing probability of each of the second-order neurons. The population then `votes' for the direction. Stochastic resonance is realized through tuning the balance between excitation and inhibition. The agreement with behavioral experiments on sand scorpions is excellent.

  17. Molecular Diversity and Functional Evolution of Scorpion Potassium Channel Toxins*

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Shunyi; Peigneur, Steve; Gao, Bin; Luo, Lan; Jin, Di; Zhao, Yong; Tytgat, Jan

    2011-01-01

    Scorpion toxins affecting K+ channels (KTxs) represent important pharmacological tools and potential drug candidates. Here, we report molecular characterization of seven new KTxs in the scorpion Mesobuthus eupeus by cDNA cloning combined with biochemical approaches. Comparative modeling supports that all these KTxs share a conserved cysteine-stabilized α-helix/β-sheet structural motif despite the differences in protein sequence and size. We investigated functional diversification of two orthologous α-KTxs (MeuTXKα1 from M. eupeus and BmP01 from Mesobuthus martensii) by comparing their K+ channel-blocking activities. Pharmacologically, MeuTXKα1 selectively blocked Kv1.3 channel with nanomolar affinity (IC50, 2.36 ± 0.9 nm), whereas only 35% of Kv1.1 currents were inhibited at 3 μm concentration, showing more than 1271-fold selectivity for Kv1.3 over Kv1.1. This peptide displayed a weak effect on Drosophila Shaker channel and no activity on Kv1.2, Kv1.4, Kv1.5, Kv1.6, and human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG) K+ channels. Although BmB01 and MeuTXKα1 have a similar channel spectrum, their affinity and selectivity for these channels largely varies. In comparison with MeuTXKα1, BmP01 only exhibits a submicromolar affinity (IC50, 133.72 ± 10.98 nm) for Kv1.3, showing 57-fold less activity than MeuTXKα1. Moreover, it lacks the ability to distinguish between Kv1.1 and Kv1.3. We also found that MeuTXKα1 inhibited the proliferation of activated T cells induced by phorbol myristate acetate and ionomycin at micromolar concentrations. Our results demonstrate that accelerated evolution drives affinity variations of orthologous α-KTxs on Kv channels and indicate that MeuTXKα1 is a promising candidate to develop an immune modulation agent for human autoimmune diseases. PMID:20889474

  18. Similar burrow architecture of three arid-zone scorpion species implies similar ecological function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adams, Amanda M.; Marais, Eugene; Turner, J. Scott; Prendini, Lorenzo; Pinshow, Berry

    2016-08-01

    Many animals reside in burrows that may serve as refuges from predators and adverse environmental conditions. Burrow design varies widely among and within taxa, and these structures are adaptive, fulfilling physiological (and other) functions. We examined the burrow architecture of three scorpion species of the family Scorpionidae: Scorpio palmatus from the Negev desert, Israel; Opistophthalmus setifrons, from the Central Highlands, Namibia; and Opistophthalmus wahlbergii from the Kalahari desert, Namibia. We hypothesized that burrow structure maintains temperature and soil moisture conditions optimal for the behavior and physiology of the scorpion. Casts of burrows, poured in situ with molten aluminum, were scanned in 3D to quantify burrow structure. Three architectural features were common to the burrows of all species: (1) a horizontal platform near the ground surface, long enough to accommodate the scorpion, located just below the entrance, 2-5 cm under the surface, which may provide a safe place where the scorpion can monitor the presence of potential prey, predators, and mates and where the scorpion warms up before foraging; (2) at least two bends that might deter incursion by predators and may reduce convective ventilation, thereby maintaining relatively high humidity and low temperature; and (3) an enlarged terminal chamber to a depth at which temperatures are almost constant (±2-4 °C). These common features among the burrows of three different species suggest that they are important for regulating the physical environment of their inhabitants and that burrows are part of scorpions' "extended physiology" ( sensu Turner, Physiol Biochem Zool 74:798-822, 2000).

  19. Similar burrow architecture of three arid-zone scorpion species implies similar ecological function.

    PubMed

    Adams, Amanda M; Marais, Eugene; Turner, J Scott; Prendini, Lorenzo; Pinshow, Berry

    2016-08-01

    Many animals reside in burrows that may serve as refuges from predators and adverse environmental conditions. Burrow design varies widely among and within taxa, and these structures are adaptive, fulfilling physiological (and other) functions. We examined the burrow architecture of three scorpion species of the family Scorpionidae: Scorpio palmatus from the Negev desert, Israel; Opistophthalmus setifrons, from the Central Highlands, Namibia; and Opistophthalmus wahlbergii from the Kalahari desert, Namibia. We hypothesized that burrow structure maintains temperature and soil moisture conditions optimal for the behavior and physiology of the scorpion. Casts of burrows, poured in situ with molten aluminum, were scanned in 3D to quantify burrow structure. Three architectural features were common to the burrows of all species: (1) a horizontal platform near the ground surface, long enough to accommodate the scorpion, located just below the entrance, 2-5 cm under the surface, which may provide a safe place where the scorpion can monitor the presence of potential prey, predators, and mates and where the scorpion warms up before foraging; (2) at least two bends that might deter incursion by predators and may reduce convective ventilation, thereby maintaining relatively high humidity and low temperature; and (3) an enlarged terminal chamber to a depth at which temperatures are almost constant (±2-4 °C). These common features among the burrows of three different species suggest that they are important for regulating the physical environment of their inhabitants and that burrows are part of scorpions' "extended physiology" (sensu Turner, Physiol Biochem Zool 74:798-822, 2000).

  20. Partial transcriptomic profiling of toxins from the venom gland of the scorpion Parabuthus stridulus.

    PubMed

    Mille, Bea G; Peigneur, Steve; Diego-García, Elia; Predel, Reinhard; Tytgat, Jan

    2014-06-01

    Since it is an apocrine secretion, scorpion venom is a complex mixture that contains a variety of low-molecular-weight basic proteins (neurotoxins), mucus, salts, as well as a large number of other constituents. Diversity of scorpion venom peptides exists also at the transcript level. Two kinds of venom peptides are typically considered: the neurotoxins and the antimicrobial peptides. We constructed a cDNA library and carried an EST (Expressed Sequence Tag) approach to overview the different peptides in the transcriptome of the telson from Parabuthus stridulus. P. stridulus are psammophilous and highly venomous scorpions endemic to Namibia (Prendini 2004) with medical relevance because of important human envenomation occurrence. We obtained 111 ESTs, 20% of them corresponding to cellular process transcripts, 7% to hypothetical proteins and 17% were sequences without good matches, but the majority of ESTs, 56%, corresponds to transcripts encoding for different venom components, including voltage-gated sodium, potassium and calcium channel toxins, antimicrobial peptides and other venom and cell proteins. To the best of our knowledge this report contains the first transcriptome analysis of genes transcribed by the venomous gland of the scorpion species P. stridulus, belonging to the family of medically important Buthidae scorpions. One hundred and eleven ESTs were analyzed, showing an important number of genes that encode for products similar to known scorpion venom components. In total, 17 unique and novel sequences were indentified. The identification and characterization of these compounds will be a good source of novel pharmacological tools for studying ion channels and the understanding of the physiological effects of toxins in P. stridulus envenomations at a molecular level.

  1. Neutralizing capacity of murine sera induced by different antigens of scorpion venom.

    PubMed

    Calderon-Aranda, E S; Hozbor, D; Possani, L D

    1993-03-01

    Approximately 700 people die in Mexico each year from scorpion stings. The only useful therapy available is antiserum obtained from horses immunized with macerates of venomous gland from scorpions of the genus Centruroides. We report the results of experiments conducted with mice and rats in order to evaluate the relevant components of the venom from Centruroides noxius in the induction of a protective response against scorpion envenomation, either in vivo or in vitro. Gland macerates of whole telsons (stinger), soluble venom extracted by electrical stimulation, toxic fractions from gel filtration on Sephadex G-50 and highly purified toxin 2 from this scorpion venom were all used to produce hyperimmune mice and rats, which were challenged in vivo with the equivalent of the lethal dose 50% (LD50) of soluble venom, or their sera were prepared for in vitro neutralization experiments using non-immunized animals. The maximum neutralizing capacity (100%) was obtained when soluble venom was used as antigen, while purified toxin 2 produces 80% survival in vivo. The neutralizing capacity of murine antisera evaluated in vitro was: sera antifraction II > antitoxin 2 > antitotal venom > anti-gland macerates of whole telsons. Two additional aspects were further investigated in the present work. One is the demonstration by immunoblotting that proteins corresponding to the electrophoretic mobility of toxins known to block sodium channels are highly immunodominant in this venom. Second, there is a strong cross-reactivity of antisera produced with Centruroides noxius when assayed against venoms from other dangerous species of Centruroides scorpions from Mexico, but not against the Israeli scorpion Leiurus quinquestriatus. Finally, the immunodominance of toxic fractions in the immune response was observed either with immunization using Freund's adjuvant or by means of adsorption to nitrocellulose membranes. This latter vehicle was shown to be an excellent detoxifying agent, without

  2. The effect of model choice on phylogenetic inference using mitochondrial sequence data: lessons from the scorpions.

    PubMed

    Jones, Martin; Gantenbein, Benjamin; Fet, Victor; Blaxter, Mark

    2007-05-01

    Chelicerates are a diverse group of arthropods, with around 65,000 described species occupying a wide range of habitats. Many phylogenies describing the relationships between the various chelicerate orders have been proposed. While some relationships are widely accepted, others remain contentious. To increase the taxonomic sampling of species available for phylogenetic study based on mitochondrial genomes we produced the nearly complete sequence of the mitochondrial genome of the scorpion Mesobuthus gibbosus. Mitochondrial gene order in M. gibbosus largely mirrors that in Limulus polyphemus but tRNA secondary structures are truncated. A recent analysis argued that independent reversal of mitochondrial genome strand-bias in several groups of arthropods, including spiders and scorpions, could compromise phylogenetic reconstruction and proposed an evolutionary model that excludes mutational events caused by strand-bias (Neutral Transitions Excluded, NTE). An arthropod dataset of six mitochondrial genes, when analyzed under NTE, yields strong support for scorpions as sister taxon to the rest of Chelicerata. We investigated the robustness of this result by exploring the effect of adding additional chelicerate genes and taxa and comparing the phylogenies obtained under different models. We find evidence that (1) placement of scorpions arising at the base of the Chelicerata is an artifact of model mis-specification and scorpions are strongly supported as basal arachnids and (2) an expanded chelicerate dataset finds support for several proposed interordinal relationships (ticks plus mites [Acari] and spiders plus whip spiders plus whip scorpions [Araneae+Pedipalpi]). Mitochondrial sequence data are subject to systematic bias that is positively misleading for evolutionary inference and thus extreme methodological care must be taken when using them to infer phylogenies.

  3. Reliable Refuge: Two Sky Island Scorpion Species Select Larger, Thermally Stable Retreat Sites

    PubMed Central

    Becker, Jamie E.; Brown, Christopher A.

    2016-01-01

    Sky island scorpions shelter under rocks and other surface debris, but, as with other scorpions, it is unclear whether these species select retreat sites randomly. Furthermore, little is known about the thermal preferences of scorpions, and no research has been done to identify whether reproductive condition might influence retreat site selection. The objectives were to (1) identify physical or thermal characteristics for retreat sites occupied by two sky island scorpions (Vaejovis cashi Graham 2007 and V. electrum Hughes 2011) and those not occupied; (2) determine whether retreat site selection differs between the two study species; and (3) identify whether thermal selection differs between species and between gravid and non-gravid females of the same species. Within each scorpion’s habitat, maximum dimensions of rocks along a transect line were measured and compared to occupied rocks to determine whether retreat site selection occurred randomly. Temperature loggers were placed under a subset of occupied and unoccupied rocks for 48 hours to compare the thermal characteristics of these rocks. Thermal gradient trials were conducted before parturition and after dispersal of young in order to identify whether gravidity influences thermal preference. Vaejovis cashi and V. electrum both selected larger retreat sites that had more stable thermal profiles. Neither species appeared to have thermal preferences influenced by reproductive condition. However, while thermal selection did not differ among non-gravid individuals, gravid V. electrum selected warmer temperatures than its gravid congener. Sky island scorpions appear to select large retreat sites to maintain thermal stability, although biotic factors (e.g., competition) could also be involved in this choice. Future studies should focus on identifying the various biotic or abiotic factors that could influence retreat site selection in scorpions, as well as determining whether reproductive condition affects thermal

  4. How does the scorpion Euscorpius flavicaudis (Deg.) manage to survive in Britain?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cloudsley-Thompson, J. L.; Constantinou, C.

    1983-06-01

    Field observations at Sheerness suggest that E. flavicaudis is night-active: it fluoresces strongly in ultra-violet light. Aktograph experiments demonstrated a marked circadian rhythm of noctural locomotory activity whose free-running period in constant light is 24.7 h. In darkness, the free-running period is variable. The rate of transpiration is not unduly low compared with that of other scorpions, as might have been expected were E. flavicaudis day-active. It is argued that the survival of this species in southern England does not involve any special physiological adjustments since most if not all species of scorpions are able to withstand freezing temperatures.

  5. Intraspecific variation in the Egyptian scorpion Scorpio maurus palmatus venom collected from different biotopes.

    PubMed

    Abdel-Rahman, Mohamed A; Omran, Mohamed Alaa A; Abdel-Nabi, Ismail M; Ueda, Hitoshi; McVean, Alistair

    2009-03-01

    The present study was conducted to explore the following hypotheses: (i) do scorpions (Scorpio maurus palmatus) from different biotopes exhibit intraspecific diversity in their venom? (ii) if so, is this variation associated with ecological or genetic factors, geographical distance, and/or multiple interrelated parameters? To address these questions, scorpions were collected from four geographically isolated localities in Egypt. Three of these locations are from mutually isolated pockets in the arid biotope of Southern Sinai (Wadi Sahab, El-Agramia and Rahaba plains). The fourth population was sampled from the semiarid biotope of Western Mediterranean Costal Desert (WMCD). Using reducing gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), we have shown biotope-specific variation in the expression of peptides from scorpions collected from these distinct areas. WMCD sourced venom samples contain higher molecular weight protein components (219, 200, 170, 139, 116 kDa) than Southern Sinai scorpion venom samples. The Southern Sinai venom is characterized by the presence of 11 protein bands (93-0.58 kDa) that are not mirrored in the individual venom samples of WMCD. Bands of 33 and 3.4 kDa were characteristics of all individual venom samples of the scorpion populations. Even within Southern Sinai area, Sahab venom contains five fractions that are not detected in both El-Agramia and Rahaba venom samples. Moreover, male and female venom analysis revealed some sex-related proteomic similarities and differences between scorpion populations. Female venom appears to be more complicated than the male venom. Female venom samples showed bands of 219, 200, 77.5, 55.5, 45, 39, 37, 24 and 16 kDa which were absent in the male venom. The random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) technique was used to estimate the genetic distance between the four scorpion populations. The RAPD data confirmed the genetic diversity at molecular level among the sampled populations. More than 77 RAPD bands (ranging in size

  6. African-American Biography.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Martin, Ron

    1995-01-01

    Suggests sources of information for African American History Month for library media specialists who work with students in grades four through eight. Gale Research's "African-American Reference Library," which includes "African-America Biography,""African-American Chronology," and "African-American Almanac,"…

  7. Peptides from the scorpion Vaejovis punctatus with broad antimicrobial activity.

    PubMed

    Ramírez-Carreto, Santos; Jiménez-Vargas, Juana María; Rivas-Santiago, Bruno; Corzo, Gerardo; Possani, Lourival D; Becerril, Baltazar; Ortiz, Ernesto

    2015-11-01

    The antimicrobial potential of two new non-disulfide bound peptides, named VpAmp1.0 (LPFFLLSLIPSAISAIKKI, amidated) and VpAmp2.0 (FWGFLGKLAMKAVPSLIGGNKSSSK) is here reported. These are 19- and 25-aminoacid-long peptides with +2 and +4 net charges, respectively. Their sequences correspond to the predicted mature regions from longer precursors, putatively encoded by cDNAs derived from the venom glands of the Mexican scorpion Vaejovis punctatus. Both peptides were chemically synthesized and assayed against a variety of microorganisms, including pathogenic strains from clinical isolates and strains resistant to conventional antibiotics. Two shorter variants, named VpAmp1.1 (FFLLSLIPSAISAIKKI, amidated) and VpAmp2.1 (FWGFLGKLAMKAVPSLIGGNKK), were also synthesized and tested. The antimicrobial assays revealed that the four synthetic peptides effectively inhibit the growth of both Gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus agalactiaea) and Gram-negative (Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) bacteria, with MICs in the range of 2.5-24.0 μM; yeasts (Candida albicans and Candida glabrata) with MICs of 3.1-50.0 μM; and two clinically isolated strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis-including a multi-drug resistant one- with MICs in the range of 4.8-30.5 μM. A comparison between the activities of the original peptides and their derivatives gives insight into the structural/functional role of their distinctive residues.

  8. Kalium: a database of potassium channel toxins from scorpion venom

    PubMed Central

    Kuzmenkov, Alexey I.; Krylov, Nikolay A.; Chugunov, Anton O.; Grishin, Eugene V.; Vassilevski, Alexander A.

    2016-01-01

    Kalium (http://kaliumdb.org/) is a manually curated database that accumulates data on potassium channel toxins purified from scorpion venom (KTx). This database is an open-access resource, and provides easy access to pages of other databases of interest, such as UniProt, PDB, NCBI Taxonomy Browser, and PubMed. General achievements of Kalium are a strict and easy regulation of KTx classification based on the unified nomenclature supported by researchers in the field, removal of peptides with partial sequence and entries supported by transcriptomic information only, classification of β-family toxins, and addition of a novel λ-family. Molecules presented in the database can be processed by the Clustal Omega server using a one-click option. Molecular masses of mature peptides are calculated and available activity data are compiled for all KTx. We believe that Kalium is not only of high interest to professional toxinologists, but also of general utility to the scientific community. Database URL: http://kaliumdb.org/ PMID:27087309

  9. African Trypanosomiasis

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-06-01

    infection by protozoan hemo- flagellates of the Trypanosoma brucei complex, 2 subspe- cies of which cause disease in humans: Trypanosoma bru- cei gambiense...public release; distribution unlimited 13. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES See also ADA545141. Chapter 3 from e-book, Topics on the Pathology of Protozoan and...the brief ferry crossing. 2 3 • Topics on The paThology of proTozoan and invasive arThropod diseases Three severe epidemics of African trypanosomiasis

  10. Amino acid sequence of TsTX-V, an alpha-toxin from Tityus serrulatus scorpion venom, and its effect on K+ permeability of beta-cells from isolated rat islets of Langerhans.

    PubMed

    Marangoni, S; Toyama, M H; Arantes, E C; Giglio, J R; da Silva, C A; Carneiro, E M; Gonçalves, A A; Oliveira, B

    1995-04-13

    Highly purified Tityustoxin V (TsTX-V), an alpha-toxin isolated from the venom of the Brazilian scorpion Tityus serrulatus, was obtained by ion exchange chromatography on carboxymethylcellulose-52. It was shown to be homogeneous by reverse phase high performance liquid chromatography, N-terminal sequencing (first 39 residues) of the reduced and alkylated protein and by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis in the presence of sodium dodecylsulfate and tricine. Following enzymatic digestion, the complete amino acid sequence (64 residues) was determined. The sequence showed higher homology with the toxins from the venoms of the North African than with those of the North and South American scorpions. Using the rate of 86Rb+ release from depolarized rat pancreatic beta-cells as a measure of K+ permeability changes, TsTX-V (5.6 micrograms/ml) was found to increase by 2.0-2.4-fold the rate of marker outflow in the presence of 8.3 mM glucose. This effect was persistent and slowly reversible, showing similarity to that induced by 100 microM veratridine, an agent that increases the open period of Na+ channels, delaying their inactivation. It is suggested that, by extending the depolarized period, TsTX-V indirectly affects beta-cell voltage-dependent K+ channels, thus increasing K+ permeability.

  11. A double role of sperm in scorpions: the mating plug of Euscorpius italicus (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) consists of sperm.

    PubMed

    Althaus, Sarah; Jacob, Alain; Graber, Werner; Hofer, Deborah; Nentwig, Wolfgang; Kropf, Christian

    2010-04-01

    Mating plugs occluding the female gonopore after mating are a widespread phenomenon. In scorpions, two main types of mating plugs are found: sclerotized mating plugs being parts of the spermatophore that break off during mating, and gel-like mating plugs being gelatinous fluids that harden in the female genital tract. In this study, the gel-like mating plug of Euscorpius italicus was investigated with respect to its composition, fine structure, and changes over time. Sperm forms the major component of the mating plug, a phenomenon previously unknown in arachnids. Three parts of the mating plug can be distinguished. The part facing the outside of the female (outer part) contains sperm packages containing inactive spermatozoa. In this state, sperm is transferred. In the median part, the sperm packages get uncoiled to single spermatozoa. In the inner part, free sperm is embedded in a large amount of secretions. Fresh mating plugs are soft gelatinous, later they harden from outside toward inside. This process is completed after 3-5 days. Sperm from artificially triggered spermatophores could be activated by immersion in insect Ringer's solution indicating that the fluid condition in the females' genital tract or females' secretions causes sperm activation. Because of the male origin of the mating plug, it has likely evolved under sperm competition or sexual conflict. As females refused to remate irrespective of the presence or absence of a mating plug, females may have changed their mating behavior in the course of evolution from polyandry to monandry.

  12. Surveying on the biologic behaviors of Hemiscorpius lepturus Peters 1861, scorpion in laboratory (Khuzestan, Iran) (Scorpions: Hemiscorpiidae).

    PubMed

    Dehghani, Rouhullah; Khamehchian, Tahereh; Miranzadeh, Mohammad Bagher

    2007-09-15

    This descriptive research was conducted so as to find and distinguish the sex of H. lepturus based on 107 dead specimens in the 70% ethyl alcohol and exact decision on their species using a criterion considering all morphological parameters and by the use of stereo microscope. Their biologic behaviors, 50 H. lepturus specimens which were fed and kept alive in capped bottles were studies while their way of shedding and number of newly-born young were also investigated under laboratory conditions in the process. The research revealed that in 107 H. lepturus specimens, 27 specimens (23%) were male and 80 ones (77%) were female. The results gained from 50 scorpions kept in the laboratory showed that only 10 cases (20%) had shed. Duration of emergence varies in each young from 10-20 min and delivery lasts approximately for 4-6 h. The average number of the young born was 24.3 in each delivery. It was concluded that the time of delivery and shedding in H lepturus is definitely fixed during the year and the number ofpectine denticles and length of the tail can be used to differentiate male and female H. lepturus.

  13. Moving pieces in a taxonomic puzzle: venom 2D-LC/MS and data clustering analyses to infer phylogenetic relationships in some scorpions from the Buthidae family (Scorpiones).

    PubMed

    Nascimento, Danielle G; Rates, Breno; Santos, Daniel M; Verano-Braga, Thiago; Barbosa-Silva, Adriano; Dutra, Alexandre A A; Biondi, Ilka; Martin-Eauclaire, Marie France; De Lima, Maria Elena; Pimenta, Adriano M C

    2006-05-01

    The Buthidae is the most clinically important scorpion family, with over 500 species distributed worldwide. Taxonomical positions and phylogenetic relationships concerning the representative genera and species of this family have been mostly inferred based upon comparisons between morphological characters. Yet, some authors have performed such inferences by comparing some structural properties of a few selected molecules found in the venoms from these scorpions. Here, we propose a novel methodology pipeline designed to address these issues. We have analyzed the whole venoms from some species that exemplify peculiar cases in the Buthidae family (Tityus stigmurus, Tityus serrulatus, Tityus bahiensis, Leiurus quinquestriatus quinquestriatus and Leiurus quinquestriatus hebraeus), by means of a proteomic approach using a 2D-LC/MS technique. The molecules found in these venoms were clustered according to their physicochemical properties (molecular mass and hydrophobicity), by using the machine learning-based Weka software. The clusters assessment, along with the number of molecules found in a given cluster for each scorpion, which assigns for the venom and structural family complexities, respectively, was used to generate a phenetic correlation tree for positioning these species. Our results were in accordance with the classical taxonomy viewpoint, which places T. serrulatus and T. stigmurus as very close species, T. bahiensis as a less related species in the Tityus genus and L. q. quinquestriatus and L. q. hebraeus with small differences within the same species (L. quinquestriatus). Therefore, we believe that this is a well-suited method to determine venom complexities that reflect the scorpions' evolutionary history, which can be crucial to reconstruct their phylogeny through the molecular evolution of their venoms.

  14. [The epidemiological situation of scorpion stings in the Beni Mellal province].

    PubMed

    Charrab, Nezha; Soulaymani, Rachida; Mokhtari, Abdelrhani; Semlali, Ilham; El Oufir, Rhizlane; Soulaymani, Abdelmajid

    2009-01-01

    The objective of this work is to analyse and interpret data from patients bitten by scorpions in a province of Morocco in order to reduce morbidity and mortality caused by scorpion venom. A study was conducted of 901 cases of poisoning among 6959 cases of scorpion stings recorded between January 2002 and December 2006 from bites recorded in Beni Mellal. The results show that poisoning strongly coincides with the summer period, especially in July and August. All age groups are affected by this disease with an average age of 17.28 +/- 17.91 years. For the time post injection, 35.2% were able to check in under an hour. On the other hand, 70.9% reach a health facility with symptoms (class II) and 29.1% with signs of distress (Class III). Finally, the evolution of patients is mostly positive in 94.7% of cases, and the case fatality rate from scorpion sting poisoning is 3.88%.

  15. Serum production against Tityus serrulatus scorpion venom using cross-linked chitosan nanoparticles as immunoadjuvant.

    PubMed

    Rocha Soares, Karla S; Cardozo Fonseca, José L; Oliveira Bitencourt, Mariana A; Santos, Kátia S C R; Silva, Arnóbio A; Fernandes-Pedrosa, Matheus F

    2012-12-15

    Several species of scorpions are known to cause accidents which can lead to death, most of them belonging to the genus Tityus. Tityus serrulatus is considered the most dangerous scorpion in South America. In Brazil, T. serrulatus is responsible for serious accidents, including deaths, which occur mainly with children and elderly people. Anti-scorpion sera are routinely produced by various institutions, and suitable technologies have been investigated for encapsulation and release recombinant or native proteins capable of inducing antibody production. In this context, biocompatible and biodegradable polymers, such as chitosan, have been employed for this purpose. This study aimed to obtain a protein release system for the peptides or proteins from T. serrulatus, based on cross-linked chitosan nanoparticles (CN) in order to generate a new model of immunization in animals, and consequently a potentially novel polyclonal serum, namely an anti-T. serrulatus venom. CN were successfully obtained by ionic gelation using the polyanion tripolyphosphate (TPP), which demonstrated a suitable particle size of about 200 nm, with maximum encapsulation efficiency (100%) and enhanced antigen-specific antibody titers of 72%. The serum production data revealed that CN were equipotent to aluminum hydroxide, the traditional adjuvant for immunization. This study demonstrates that chitosan nanoparticles are a promising and safe system for peptide/protein delivery for T. serrulatus scorpion.

  16. Venom proteomic and venomous glands transcriptomic analysis of the Egyptian scorpion Scorpio maurus palmatus (Arachnida: Scorpionidae).

    PubMed

    Abdel-Rahman, Mohamed A; Quintero-Hernandez, Veronica; Possani, Lourival D

    2013-11-01

    Proteomic analysis of the scorpion venom Scorpio maurus palmatus was performed using reverse-phase HPLC separation followed by mass spectrometry determination. Sixty five components were identified with molecular masses varying from 413 to 14,009 Da. The high percentage of peptides (41.5%) was from 3 to 5 KDa which may represent linear antimicrobial peptides and KScTxs. Also, 155 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were analyzed through construction the cDNA library prepared from a pair of venomous gland. About 77% of the ESTs correspond to toxin-like peptides and proteins with definite open reading frames. The cDNA sequencing results also show the presence of sequences whose putative products have sequence similarity with antimicrobial peptides (24%), insecticidal toxins, β-NaScTxs, κ-KScTxs, α-KScTxs, calcines and La1-like peptides. Also, we have obtained 23 atypical types of venom molecules not recorded in other scorpion species. Moreover, 9% of the total ESTs revealed significant similarities with proteins involved in the cellular processes of these scorpion venomous glands. This is the first set of molecular masses and transcripts described from this species, in which various venom molecules have been identified. They belong to either known or unassigned types of scorpion venom peptides and proteins, and provide valuable information for evolutionary analysis and venomics.

  17. Genome-wide analysis of homeobox genes from Mesobuthus martensii reveals Hox gene duplication in scorpions.

    PubMed

    Di, Zhiyong; Yu, Yao; Wu, Yingliang; Hao, Pei; He, Yawen; Zhao, Huabin; Li, Yixue; Zhao, Guoping; Li, Xuan; Li, Wenxin; Cao, Zhijian

    2015-06-01

    Homeobox genes belong to a large gene group, which encodes the famous DNA-binding homeodomain that plays a key role in development and cellular differentiation during embryogenesis in animals. Here, one hundred forty-nine homeobox genes were identified from the Asian scorpion, Mesobuthus martensii (Chelicerata: Arachnida: Scorpiones: Buthidae) based on our newly assembled genome sequence with approximately 248 × coverage. The identified homeobox genes were categorized into eight classes including 82 families: 67 ANTP class genes, 33 PRD genes, 11 LIM genes, five POU genes, six SINE genes, 14 TALE genes, five CUT genes, two ZF genes and six unclassified genes. Transcriptome data confirmed that more than half of the genes were expressed in adults. The homeobox gene diversity of the eight classes is similar to the previously analyzed Mandibulata arthropods. Interestingly, it is hypothesized that the scorpion M. martensii may have two Hox clusters. The first complete genome-wide analysis of homeobox genes in Chelicerata not only reveals the repertoire of scorpion, arachnid and chelicerate homeobox genes, but also shows some insights into the evolution of arthropod homeobox genes.

  18. A new species of Auyantepuia González-Sponga, 1978 (Scorpiones, Chactidae) from French Guiana

    PubMed Central

    Ythier, Eric

    2015-01-01

    Abstract A new species of scorpion belonging to the genus Auyantepuia González-Sponga, 1978 (family Chactidae Pocock, 1893) is described on the basis of three specimens collected in a rainforest formation located in Saut Sabbat, South of Mana, French Guiana. This is the tenth species of the Guiano-Amazonian genus Auyantepuia, and the fifth reported from French Guiana. PMID:26798247

  19. Highly diastereoselective nucleophilic addition to myrtenal. Straightforward synthesis of an enantiopure scorpionate ligand.

    PubMed

    Otero, Antonio; Fernandez-Baeza, Juan; Antiñolo, Antonio; Tejeda, Juan; Lara-Sanchez, Agustín; Sanchez-Barba, Luis F; Sanchez-Molina, Margarita; Franco, Sonia; López-Solera, Maria I; Rodríguez, Ana M

    2007-10-15

    The work described here represents the first example in which an efficient and highly diastereoselective nucleophilic 1,2-addition of an organolithium reagent has been performed on a carbonylic prostereogenic center to give an enantiopure scorpionate ligand in only one step.

  20. Peripheral and central effects of intracerebroventricular microinjection of Hottentotta gentili (Pallary, 1924) (Scorpiones, Buthidae) venom.

    PubMed

    El Hidan, Moulay Abdelmonaim; Touloun, Oulaid; El Hiba, Omar; Laadraoui, Jawad; Ferehan, Hind; Boumezzough, Ali

    2016-03-01

    Central effects of scorpion venom toxins have been neglected, due both to the common belief that scorpion venoms act by targeting peripheral organs and also to the misunderstanding that these peptides do not cross the brain-blood barrier (BBB). Determining whether scorpion neurotoxicity is restricted to peripheral actions or whether a central mechanism may be partly responsible for systemic manifestations could be crucial in clinical therapy trends. The present study therefore aims to assess histopathological damages in some organs (heart, kidney, liver, and lungs) and the related biochemical impairments, together with a neurobehavioral investigation following an intracerebroventricular (i.c.v) micro-injection of Hottentotta gentili (Scorpiones, Buthidae) venom (0.47 μg/kg). I.c.v. injection of venom produced focal fragmentation of myocardial fibers, while lungs showed rupture of the alveolar structure. Concurrently, there was a significant rise in the serum enzymes levels of ASAT, ALAT, CPK and LDH. Meanwhile, we observed behavioral alterations such as a hypoactivity, and in addition the venom seems to have a marked anxiogenic-like effect. The present investigation has brought new experimental evidence of a peripheral impact of central administration of H. gentili venom, such impact was manifested by physiological and behavioral disturbances, the last of these appearing to reflect profound neuro-modulatory action of H. gentili venom.

  1. Antitoxin activity of plants used in Mexican traditional medicine against scorpion poisoning.

    PubMed

    Jiménez-Ferrer, J E; Pérez-Terán, Y Y; Román-Ramos, R; Tortoriello, J

    2005-01-01

    Scorpions, especially in urban areas of tropical and subtropical regions, present a common risk of poisoning. In Mexico, scorpion envenomation is considered a public health problem. Despite the frequency of scorpion sting cases, there are to date no uniform criteria for their treatment. In Mexican traditional medicine, different plant species have been widely used as a remedy for treating scorpion poisoning. The aim of this work was to evaluate the effect of Bouvardia ternifolia, Aristolochia elegans and Vitex mollis extracts on Centruroides limpidus limpidus venom lethality in mice, and to determine their antagonist activity on guinea pig ileum. The hexane and methanol extract from B. ternifolia modified the LD50 of C. limpidus limpidus venom from 0.750 +/- 0.08 to 1.64 +/- 0.19 and 1.16 +/- 0.14 mg/kg, respectively. The extracts of A. elegans produced lower antitoxic activity, while extracts of V. mollis did not show any protection. On in vitro test, addition of B. ternifolia and A. elegans extracts strongly inhibited, in a concentration-dependent manner, the ileum contractions induced by venom. In general, the results demonstrated the effectiveness of these two plant species in modifying the lethality of C. limpidus limpidus venom in mice.

  2. Solution structure of BTK-2, a novel hK(v)1.1 inhibiting scorpion toxin, from the eastern Indian scorpion Mesobuthus tamulus.

    PubMed

    Kumar, G Senthil; Upadhyay, Sanjeev; Mathew, M K; Sarma, Siddhartha P

    2011-04-01

    The three dimensional structure of a 32 residue three disulfide scorpion toxin, BTK-2, from the Indian red scorpion Mesobuthus tamulus has been determined using isotope edited solution NMR methods. Samples for structural and electrophysiological studies were prepared using recombinant DNA methods. Electrophysiological studies show that the peptide is active against hK(v)1.1 channels. The structure of BTK-2 was determined using 373 distance restraints from NOE data, 66 dihedral angle restraints from NOE, chemical shift and scalar coupling data, 6 constraints based on disulfide linkages and 8 constraints based on hydrogen bonds. The root mean square deviation (r.m.s.d) about the averaged co-ordinates of the backbone (N, C(α), C') and all heavy atoms are 0.81 ± 0.23Å and 1.51 ± 0.29Å respectively. The backbone dihedral angles (ϕ and ψ) for all residues occupy the favorable and allowed regions of the Ramachandran map. The three dimensional structure of BTK-2 is composed of three well defined secondary structural regions that constitute the α-β-β structural motif. Comparisons between the structure of BTK-2 and other closely related scorpion toxins pointed towards distinct differences in surface properties that provide insights into the structure-function relationships among this important class of voltage-gated potassium channel inhibiting peptides.

  3. Lithium, titanium, and zirconium complexes with novel amidinate scorpionate ligands.

    PubMed

    Otero, Antonio; Fernandez-Baeza, Juan; Antiñolo, Antonio; Tejeda, Juan; Lara-Sanchez, Agustín; Sanchez-Barba, Luis F; López-Solera, Isabel; Rodríguez, Ana M

    2007-03-05

    The reaction of bis(3,5-dimethylpyrazol-1-yl)methane (bdmpzm) with BunLi and carbodiimide derivatives, namely, N,N'-diisopropyl, dicyclohexyl, and 1-tert-butyl-3-ethyl carbodiimides, enables the preparation of new heteroscorpionate ligands in the form of the lithium derivatives [Li(NNN)(THF)] (NNN = pbpamd (1) (pbpamd = N,N'-diisopropylbis(3,5-dimethylpyrazol-1-yl)acetamidinate); cbpamd (2) (cbpamd = N,N'-dicyclohexylbis(3,5-dimethylpyrazol-1-yl)acetamidinate); and tbpamd (3) (tbpamd = N-ethyl-N'-tert-butylbis(3,5-dimethylpyrazol-1-yl)acetamidinate)), although a similar process with N,N'-dimethylcarbodiimide gave the dinuclear complex [Li(bpzii)(THF)]2 (4) (bpzii = N-(dimethylamino)-N'-[(dimethylamino)bis(3,5-dimethylpyrazol-1-yl)methylimino]imino). When this last reaction was carried out in an air atmosphere, the cluster complex [Li8(mu4-O)2(mu4-OH)2(mu4-pz)2(kappa2-bpziLi)2(bpzCN)2(THF)4] (5) (bpziLi = dimethylaminobis(3,5-dimethylpyrazol-1-yl)methyliminolithium, bpzCN = bis(3,5-dimethylpyrazol-1-yl)acetonitrile) was isolated and characterized by X-ray analysis. Finally, when the same process was carried out in the presence of water the amidine-scorpionate (bpzan) (6) (bpzan = N,N-dimethylbis(3,5-dimethylpyrazol-1-yl)acetamidine) was obtained. Compounds 1 and 3 reacted with [TiCl4(THF)2] or [ZrCl4] to give complexes of stoichiometry [MCl3((kappa3-NNN))] (M = Ti, Zr) (7-10). The structures of the different compounds were determined by spectroscopic methods and, in addition, the X-ray crystal structures of 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 were also established.

  4. Infective endocarditis and septic pulmonary embolism following scorpion sting envenoming in an 11-year-old child.

    PubMed

    Prakash, Vellasamy; Krishnamurthy, Sriram; Mahadevan, Subramanian; Bethou, Adhisivam; Deepak Barathi, S

    2014-05-01

    Scorpion sting is one of the common paediatric toxicological problems encountered in southern India. This rural emergency often results in an autonomic storm causing peripheral circulatory failure and/or congestive cardiac failure, leading to pulmonary oedema. A rare case of scorpion sting envenoming in an 11-year-old boy that led to local cellulitis, dyspnoea and congestive heart failure is presented. This was followed by a persistent high-grade fever which lasted for more than 2 weeks and was complicated by fatal Staphylococcus aureus infective endocarditis and septic pulmonary embolism. Although infective endocarditis has been reported occasionally in adults following scorpion sting, this is the first case of infective endocarditis in a native valve in a child following scorpion sting. The literature is reviewed and the mechanisms for this association are discussed.

  5. Production of Recombinant Alpha Neurotoxin of Scorpion Venom Mesobuthus eupeus and Analysis of its Immunogenicity

    PubMed Central

    Eskandari, Ghafar; Jolodar, Abbas; Seyfiabad Shapouri, Masoud Reza; Bahmainmehr, Ardeshir; Navidpour, Shahrokh

    2014-01-01

    Background: Scorpion venom is important and rich source of peptides, most of which have been widely used as pharmacological tools for unraveling structure-function relationship of various ion channels. Naturally occurring toxins can be also considered as lead compounds in the development of novel drugs. Objectives: In this context, the scorpion-derived peptide neurotoxins specific to sodium channels have shown promise as potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of various human diseases. Materials and Methods: A cDNA library from the extracted RNA was constructed using RT-PCR and semi-nested RT-PCR. DNA sequencing followed by phylogenetic analysis was applied to screen the cDNA library clones. For molecular characterization of the BMK gene we used cloning and recombinant protein expression techniques based on E.coli systems. Then we performed mice immunization and Western blot and Immunodot analyses. Results: A novel BMK neurotoxin has been cloned, expressed and characterized from the Iranian scorpion M. eupeus venom. We analyzed the recombinant BMK by immunoblotting with treated antiserum. The result showed that mice antiserum can react also with scorpion crude venom, so is able to recognize native BMK toxin. Conclusion: The newly produced recombinant protein BMK revealed to be immunogenic. Moreover, anti-BMK antibodies produced in mice were able to recognize both the recombinant BMK neurotoxin and the one in M. eupeus crude venome. Taken together, the molecular characterization and recombinant production of the Iranian scorpion M. eupeus venom component can serve as a new probe for further studies of sodium channels function and physiology. This provides a promising perspective for the future design of selective drugs, as well as for research of antivenom production. PMID:24719721

  6. A single-point mutation enhances dual functionality of a scorpion toxin.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xueli; Gao, Bin; Zhu, Shunyi

    2016-01-01

    Scorpion venom represents a tremendous, hitherto partially explored peptide library that has been proven to be useful not only for understanding ion channels but also for drug design. MeuTXKα3 is a functionally unknown scorpion toxin-like peptide. Here we describe new transcripts of this gene arising from alternative polyadenylation and its biological function as well as a mutant with a single-point substitution at site 30. Native-like MeuTXKα3 and its mutant were produced in Escherichia coli and their toxic function against Drosophila Shaker K(+) channel and its mammalian counterparts (rKv1.1-rKv1.3) were assayed by two-electrode voltage clamp technique. The results show that MeuTXKα3 is a weak toxin with a wide-spectrum of activity on both Drosophila and mammalian K(+) channels. The substitution of a proline at site 30 by an asparagine, an evolutionarily conserved functional residue in the scorpion α-KTx family, led to an increased activity on rKv1.2 and rKv1.3 but a decreased activity on the Shaker channel without changing the potency on rKv1.1, suggesting a key role of this site in species selectivity of scorpion toxins. MeuTXKα3 was also active on a variety of bacteria with lethal concentrations ranging from 4.66 to 52.01μM and the mutant even had stronger activity on some of these bacterial species. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on a bi-functional short-chain peptide in the lesser Asian scorpion venom. Further extensive mutations of MeuTXKα3 at site 30 could help improve its K(+) channel-blocking and antibacterial functions.

  7. Functional evolution of scorpion venom peptides with an inhibitor cystine knot fold.

    PubMed

    Gao, Bin; Harvey, Peta J; Craik, David J; Ronjat, Michel; De Waard, Michel; Zhu, Shunyi

    2013-06-27

    The ICK (inhibitor cystine knot) defines a large superfamily of polypeptides with high structural stability and functional diversity. Here, we describe a new scorpion venom-derived K+ channel toxin (named λ-MeuKTx-1) with an ICK fold through gene cloning, chemical synthesis, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Ca2+ release measurements and electrophysiological recordings. λ-MeuKTx-1 was found to adopt an ICK fold that contains a three-strand anti-parallel β-sheet and a 310-helix. Functionally, this peptide selectively inhibits the Drosophila Shaker K+ channel but is not capable of activating skeletal-type Ca2+ release channels/ryanodine receptors, which is remarkably different from the previously known scorpion venom ICK peptides. The removal of two C-terminal residues of λ-MeuKTx-1 led to the loss of the inhibitory activity on the channel, whereas the C-terminal amidation resulted in the emergence of activity on four mammalian K+ channels accompanied by the loss of activity on the Shaker channel. A combination of structural and pharmacological data allows the recognition of three putative functional sites involved in channel blockade of λ-MeuKTx-1. The presence of a functional dyad in λ-MeuKTx-1 supports functional convergence among scorpion venom peptides with different folds. Furthermore, similarities in precursor organization, exon-intron structure, 3D-fold and function suggest that scorpion venom ICK-type K+ channel inhibitors and Ca2+ release channel activators share a common ancestor and their divergence occurs after speciation between buthidae and non-buthids. The structural and functional characterizations of the first scorpion venom ICK toxin with K+ channel-blocking activity sheds light on functionally divergent and convergent evolution of this conserved scaffold of ancient origin.

  8. Investigating the chemical profile of regenerated scorpion (Parabuthus transvaalicus) venom in relation to metabolic cost and toxicity.

    PubMed

    Nisani, Zia; Boskovic, Danilo S; Dunbar, Stephen G; Kelln, Wayne; Hayes, William K

    2012-09-01

    We investigated the biochemical profile of regenerated venom of the scorpion Parabuthus transvaalicus in relation to its metabolic cost and toxicity. Using a closed-system respirometer, we compared oxygen consumption between milked and unmilked scorpions to determine the metabolic costs associated with the first 192 h of subsequent venom synthesis. Milked scorpions had a substantially (21%) higher mean metabolic rate than unmilked scorpions, with the largest increases in oxygen consumption occurring at approximately 120 h, 162 h, and 186 h post-milking. Lethality tests in crickets indicated that toxicity of the regenerated venom returned to normal levels within 4 d after milking. However, the chemical profile of the regenerated venom, as evaluated by FPLC and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry, suggested that regeneration of different venom components was asynchronous. Some peptides regenerated quickly, particularly those associated with the scorpion's "prevenom," whereas others required much or all of this time period for regeneration. This asynchrony could explain the different spikes detected in oxygen consumption of milked scorpions as various peptides and other venom components were resynthesized. These observations confirm the relatively high metabolic cost of venom regeneration and suggest that greater venom complexity can be associated with higher costs of venom production.

  9. African Outreach Workshop 1974.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schmidt, Nancy J.

    This report discusses the 1974 African Outreach Workshop planned and coordinated by the African Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Its major aim was to assist teachers in developing curriculum units on African using materials available in their local community. A second aim was for the African Studies Program to…

  10. Africans in America.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hart, Ayanna; Spangler, Earl

    This book introduces African-American history and culture to children. The first Africans in America came from many different regions and cultures, but became united in this country by being black, African, and slaves. Once in America, Africans began a long struggle for freedom which still continues. Slavery, the Civil War, emancipation, and the…

  11. Digestive amylase of a primitive animal, the scorpion: purification and biochemical characterization.

    PubMed

    Louati, Hanen; Zouari, Nacim; Fendri, Ahmed; Gargouri, Youssef

    2010-04-01

    Scorpion, one of the most ancient invertebrates was chosen, as a model of a primitive animal, to purify and characterize an amylase located in the hepatopancreas. The scorpion digestive amylase (SDA) was purified. Pure SDA was obtained after heat treatment followed by ammonium sulfate fractionation and three steps of chromatography. The pure amylase is not glycosylated and has a molecular mass of 59,101 Da determined by MALDI-TOF MS analysis. The maximal amylase activity was measured at pH 7.0 and 50 degrees C, in the presence of Ca2+ and using potato starch as substrate. The enzyme was able to hydrolyze also, glycogen and amylose. The 23 NH2-terminal amino acid SDA residues were sequenced. The sequence obtained is similar to those of mammalian and avian pancreatic amylases. Nevertheless, polyclonal antibodies directed against SDA failed to recognize classical digestive amylases like the porcine pancreatic one.

  12. Does scorpion bite lead to development of resistance to the effect of local anaesthetics?

    PubMed

    Panditrao, Minnu Mridul; Panditrao, Mridul Madhav; Khan, Mohd Irfan; Yadav, Nikhil

    2012-11-01

    A patient posted for vaginal hysterectomy was administered subarachnoid block, which failed, so was repeated in one space above. The block failed again, after waiting for 30 min. Patient gave a history of scorpion bite twice, once at the age of 17 years on her right foot and again about 8 months back. Thereafter, balanced general anaesthesia was given. On eighth post-operative day, after explaining about her possible special condition (?Resistance to local anaesthetic agents), the patient was given left median, ulnar and radial nerve blocks at the wrist and local infiltration near the anatomical snuff box. There was neither sensory nor motor block. The scorpion venom is known to affect the pumping mechanism of sodium channels in the nerve fibres, which are involved in the mechanism of action of local anaesthetic drugs, it may be responsible for the development of 'resistance' to the action of local anaesthetic agents.

  13. A K⁺ channel blocking peptide from the Cuban scorpion Rhopalurus garridoi.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Ravelo, Rodolfo; Restano-Cassulini, Rita; Zamudio, Fernando Z; Coronas, Fredy I V; Espinosa-López, Georgina; Possani, Lourival D

    2014-03-01

    A proteomic analysis of the venom obtained from the Cuban scorpion Rhopalurus garridoi was performed. Venom was obtained by electrical stimulation, separated by high performance liquid chromatography, and the molecular masses of their 50 protein components were identified by mass spectrometry. A peptide of 3940 Da molecular mass was obtained in pure form and its primary structure determined. It contains 37 amino acid residues, including three disulfide bridges. Electrophysiological experiments showed that this peptide is capable of blocking reversibly K(+)-channels hKv1.1 with a Kd close to 1 μM, but is not effective against hKv1.4, hERG1 and EAG currents, at the same concentration. This is the first protein component ever isolated from this species of scorpion and was assigned the systematic number α-KTx 2.14.

  14. The Scorpion Toxin Tf2 from Tityus fasciolatus Promotes Nav1.3 Opening.

    PubMed

    Camargos, Thalita S; Bosmans, Frank; Rego, Solange C; Mourão, Caroline B F; Schwartz, Elisabeth F

    2015-01-01

    We identified Tf2, the first β-scorpion toxin from the venom of the Brazilian scorpion Tityus fasciolatus. Tf2 is identical to Tb2-II found in Tityus bahiensis. We found that Tf2 selectively activates human (h)Nav1.3, a neuronal voltage-gated sodium (Nav) subtype implicated in epilepsy and nociception. Tf2 shifts hNav1.3 activation voltage to more negative values, thereby opening the channel at resting membrane potentials. Seven other tested mammalian Nav channels (Nav1.1-1.2; Nav1.4-1.8) expressed in Xenopus oocytes are insensitive upon application of 1 μM Tf2. Therefore, the identification of Tf2 represents a unique addition to the repertoire of animal toxins that can be used to investigate Nav channel function.

  15. The use of synthetic peptides can be a misleading approach to generate vaccines against scorpion toxins.

    PubMed

    Calderon-Aranda, E S; Olamendi-Portugal, T; Possani, L D

    1995-09-01

    Seven peptides corresponding to the amino acid sequence of toxin 2 from the scorpion Centruroides noxius were chemically synthesized, purified and assayed in mice for their putative neutralizing properties against scorpion toxins. All the peptides were immunogenic and some produced neutralizing antibodies, as verified by injecting the antisera with toxin into naive animals. However, direct challenge of pre-immunized mice (with the longest synthetic peptides of 27 and 57 amino acid residues) revealed an unexpected sensitization phenomena: the animals did not resist injection of one LD50 of purified toxin 2 (5% survival), but pre-immunization of mice with native toxin protected 100% of the animals. These findings suggest that vaccine preparations with synthetic peptides corresponding to the amino acid sequence of certain toxins should be analyzed cautiously.

  16. The Scorpion Toxin Tf2 from Tityus fasciolatus Promotes Nav1.3 Opening

    PubMed Central

    Camargos, Thalita S.; Bosmans, Frank; Rego, Solange C.; Mourão, Caroline B. F.; Schwartz, Elisabeth F.

    2015-01-01

    We identified Tf2, the first β-scorpion toxin from the venom of the Brazilian scorpion Tityus fasciolatus. Tf2 is identical to Tb2-II found in Tityus bahiensis. We found that Tf2 selectively activates human (h)Nav1.3, a neuronal voltage-gated sodium (Nav) subtype implicated in epilepsy and nociception. Tf2 shifts hNav1.3 activation voltage to more negative values, thereby opening the channel at resting membrane potentials. Seven other tested mammalian Nav channels (Nav1.1-1.2; Nav1.4-1.8) expressed in Xenopus oocytes are insensitive upon application of 1 μM Tf2. Therefore, the identification of Tf2 represents a unique addition to the repertoire of animal toxins that can be used to investigate Nav channel function. PMID:26083731

  17. Preparation of a polyvalent antivenom against various Mexican scorpion Centruroides species.

    PubMed

    Garcia y Perez, G; Martin, M F; Rochat, H

    1988-01-01

    Antisera were obtained from rabbits injected with four different immunogens from the Mexican scorpion Centruroides suffusus suffusus i.e. the crude venom, a telson extract, a toxic fraction obtained from this telson extract by gel filtration and the same toxic fraction subjected to acetylation. The neutralizing capacity of these antisera are compared: it appears that a telson extract can be used instead of the crude venom to produce an efficient antiserum. The immunological properties of ground telsons obtained from three other species of the Mexican scorpion Centruroides (Centruroides noxius, Centruroides limpidus limpidus, Centruroides limpidus tecomanus) are studied with the antisera raised against Centruroides suffusus suffusus immunogens: an almost total cross-neutralization is observed.

  18. Scorpion Venom Heat-Resistant Peptide Protects Transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans from β-Amyloid Toxicity

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Xiao-Gang; Wang, Xi; Zhou, Ting-Ting; Wu, Xue-Fei; Peng, Yan; Zhang, Wan-Qin; Li, Shao; Zhao, Jie

    2016-01-01

    Scorpion venom heat-resistant peptide (SVHRP) is a component purified from Buthus martensii Karsch scorpion venom. Our previous studies found SVHRP could enhance neurogenesis and inhibit microglia-mediated neuroinflammation in vivo. Here, we use the transgenic CL4176, CL2006, and CL2355 strains of Caenorhabditis elegans which express the human Aβ1-42 to investigate the effects and the possible mechanisms of SVHRP mediated protection against Aβ toxicity in vivo. The results showed that SVHRP-fed worms displayed remarkably decreased paralysis, less abundant toxic Aβ oligomers, reduced Aβ plaque deposition with respect to untreated animals. SVHRP also suppressed neuronal Aβ expression-induced defects in chemotaxis behavior and attenuated levels of ROS in the transgenic C. elegans. Taken together, these results suggest SVHRP could protect against Aβ-induced toxicity in C. elegans. Further studies need to be conducted in murine models and humans to analyze the effectiveness of the peptide. PMID:27507947

  19. Neural network mechanism for the orientation behavior of sand scorpions towards prey.

    PubMed

    Kim, DaeEun

    2006-07-01

    Sand scorpions use their tactile sense organs on their legs to capture their prey. They are able to localize their prey by processing vibration signals generated by the prey movement. The central nervous system receives stimulus-locked neuron firings of the sense organs on their eight legs. It is believed that eight receptor neurons in the brain interact with each other with triad inhibitions and then a voting contribution of the receptor neurons is calculated to obtain the resource direction. This letter presents a neuronal model of the voting procedure to locate prey. The neural network consists of a sinusoidal array of neurons for the resource vector, and it has been tested on the orientation data of scorpions.

  20. Bacterial endosymbiont infections in 'living fossils': a case study of North American vaejovid scorpions.

    PubMed

    Bryson, Robert W

    2014-07-01

    Bacterial endosymbionts are common among arthropods, and maternally inherited forms can affect the reproductive and behavioural traits of their arthropod hosts. The prevalence of bacterial endosymbionts and their role in scorpion evolution have rarely been investigated. In this study, 61 samples from 40 species of scorpion in the family Vaejovidae were screened for the presence of the bacterial endosymbionts Cardinium, Rickettsia, Spiroplasma and Wolbachia. No samples were infected by these bacteria. However, one primer pair specifically designed to amplify Rickettsia amplified nontarget genes of other taxa. Similar off-target amplification using another endosymbiont-specific primer was also found during preliminary screenings. Results caution against the overreliance on previously published screening primers to detect bacterial endosymbionts in host taxa and suggest that primer specificity may be higher in primers targeting nuclear rather than mitochondrial genes.

  1. Odontobuthus tirgari sp. nov. (Scorpiones, Buthidae) from the eastern region of the Iranian Plateau .

    PubMed

    Mirshamsi, Omid; Azghadi, Sara; Navidpour, Shahrokh; Aliabadian, Mansour; Kovařík, František

    2013-10-29

    A new species of scorpions in the genus Odontobuthus (Scorpiones, Buthidae) is described from Khorasan Province, Iran. Currently, Odontobuthus includes two species in Iran, Odontobuthus doriae Thorell, 1876, which is restricted to high elevations of the central Iranian Plateau and Odontobuthus bidentatus Lourenço & Pezier, 2002 from the Zagros Mountains. The results of morphological comparisons, univariate and multivariate statistical analyses and phylogenetic analysis of COI sequence data clearly confirm a deep split between populations from the eastern Iranian Plateau and O. bidentatus Lourenço & Pezier, 2002 and O. doriae Thorell, 1876. Therefore, according to comparative morphological and molecular analyses, a new species, Odontobuthus tigari sp. nov. (♀♂) was described from eastern Iran. This addition represents the third species of this genus from Iran.

  2. A novel human recombinant antibody fragment capable of neutralizing Mexican scorpion toxins.

    PubMed

    Riaño-Umbarila, Lidia; Olamendi-Portugal, Timoteo; Morelos-Juárez, Citlalli; Gurrola, Georgina B; Possani, Lourival D; Becerril, Baltazar

    2013-12-15

    Using phage display and directed evolution, our group has progressed in the construction of a second family of human single chain variable fragments (scFv) which bind to scorpion toxins dangerous to mammals. It was observed that scFv C1 only bound initially to toxin Cn2, which constitutes 6.8% of whole venom from the scorpion Centruroides noxius Hoffman. Only a few amino acid changes were necessary to extend its recognition to other similar toxins and without affecting the recognition for its primary antigen (Cn2 toxin). One variant of scFv C1 (scFv 202F) was selected after two cycles of directed evolution against Cll1 toxin, the second major toxic component from the venom of the Mexican scorpion Centruroides limpidus limpidus Karsh (0.5% of the whole venom). scFv 202F is also capable of recognizing Cn2 toxin. Despite not having the highest affinity for toxins Cll1 (KD = 25.1 × 10(-9) M) or Cn2 (KD = 8.1 × 10(-9) M), this antibody fragment neutralized one LD50 of each one of these toxins. Additionally, scFv 202F moderately recognized Cll2 toxin which constitutes 1.5% of the venom from C. limpidus. Based on our previous experience, we consider that these results are promising; consequently, we continue working on generating new optimized variants from scFv C1 that could be part of a recombinant scorpion anti-venom from human origin, that might reach the market in the near future.

  3. BjalphaIT: a novel scorpion alpha-toxin selective for insects--unique pharmacological tool.

    PubMed

    Arnon, Tal; Potikha, Tamara; Sher, Daniel; Elazar, Menashe; Mao, Wenfu; Tal, Tzachy; Bosmans, Frank; Tytgat, Jan; Ben-Arie, Nissim; Zlotkin, Eliahu

    2005-03-01

    Long-chain neurotoxins derived from the venom of the Buthidae scorpions, which affect voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs) can be subdivided according to their toxicity to insects into insect-selective excitatory and depressant toxins (beta-toxins) and the alpha-like toxins which affect both mammals and insects. In the present study by the aid of reverse-phase HPLC column chromatography, RT-PCR, cloning and various toxicity assays, a new insect selective toxin designated as BjalphaIT was isolated from the venom of the Judean Black Scorpion (Buthotus judaicus), and its full primary sequence was determined: MNYLVVICFALLLMTVVESGRDAYIADNLNCAYTCGSNSYCNTECTKNGAVSGYCQWLGKYGNACWCINLPDKVPIRIPGACR (leader sequence is underlined). Despite its lack of toxicity to mammals and potent toxicity to insects, BjalphaIT reveals an amino acid sequence and an inferred spatial arrangement that is characteristic of the well-known scorpion alpha-toxins highly toxic to mammals. BjalphaITs sharp distinction between insects and mammals was also revealed by its effect on sodium conductance of two cloned neuronal VGSCs heterloguously expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes and assayed with the two-electrode voltage-clamp technique. BjalphaIT completely inhibits the inactivation process of the insect para/tipE VGSC at a concentration of 100 nM, in contrast to the rat brain Na(v)1.2/beta1 which is resistant to the toxin. The above categorical distinction between mammal and insect VGSCs exhibited by BjalphaIT enables its employment in the clarification of the molecular basis of the animal group specificity of scorpion venom derived neurotoxic polypeptides and voltage-gated sodium channels.

  4. Screening of plants acting against Heterometrus laoticus scorpion venom activity on fibroblast cell lysis.

    PubMed

    Uawonggul, Nunthawun; Chaveerach, Arunrat; Thammasirirak, Sompong; Arkaravichien, Tarinee; Chuachan, Chattong; Daduang, Sakda

    2006-01-16

    The aqueous extracts of 64 plant species, listed as animal- or insect-bite antidotes in old Thai drug recipes were screened for their activity against fibroblast cell lysis after Heterometrus laoticus scorpion venom treatment. The venom was preincubated with plant extract for 30 min and furthered treated to confluent fibroblast cells for 30 min. More than 40% efficiency (test/control) was obtained from cell treatment with venom preincubated with extracts of Andrographis paniculata Nees (Acanthaceae), Barringtonia acutangula (L.) Gaertn. (Lecythidaceae), Calamus sp. (Palmae), Clinacanthus nutans Lindau (Acanthaceae), Euphorbia neriifolia L. (Euphorbiaceae), Ipomoea aquatica Forssk (Convolvulaceae), Mesua ferrea L. (Guttiferae), Passiflora laurifolia L. (Passifloraceae), Plectranthus amboinicus (Lour.) Spreng. (Labiatae), Ricinus communis L. (Euphorbiaceae), Rumex sp. (Polygonaceae) and Sapindus rarak DC. (Sapindaceae), indicating that they had a tendency to be scorpion venom antidotes. However, only Andrographis paniculata and Barringtonia acutangula extracts provided around 50% viable cells from extract treatments without venom preincubation. These two plant extracts are expected to be scorpion venom antidotes with low cytotoxicity.

  5. BmKn-2 scorpion venom peptide for killing oral cancer cells by apoptosis.

    PubMed

    Tong-ngam, Pirut; Roytrakul, Sittiruk; Sritanaudomchai, Hathaitip

    2015-01-01

    Scorpion venom peptides recently have attracted attention as alternative chemotherapeutic agents that may overcome the limitations of current drugs, providing specific cytotoxicity for cancer cells with an ability to bypass multidrug-resistance mechanisms, additive effects in combination therapy and safety. In the present study, BmKn-2 scorpion venom peptide and its derivatives were chosen for assessment of anticancer activities. BmKn-2 was identified as the most effective against human oral squamous cells carcinoma cell line (HSC-4) by screening assays with an IC50 value of 29 μg/ml. The BmKn-2 peptide killed HSC-4 cells through induction of apoptosis, as confirmed by phase contrast microscopy and RT-PCR techniques. Typical morphological features of apoptosis including cell shrinkage and rounding characteristics were observed in treated HSC-4 cells. The results were further confirmed by increased expression of pro-apoptotic genes such as caspase-3, -7, and -9 but decrease mRNA level of anti-apoptotic BCL-2 in BmKn-2 treated cells, as determined by RT-PCR assay. In summary, the BmKn-2 scorpion venom peptide demonstrates specific membrane binding, growth inhibition and apoptogenic activity against human oral cancer cells.

  6. New Fossil Scorpion from the Chiapas Amber Lagerstätte

    PubMed Central

    Riquelme, Francisco; Villegas-Guzmán, Gabriel; González-Santillán, Edmundo; Córdova-Tabares, Víctor; Francke, Oscar F.; Piedra-Jiménez, Dulce; Estrada-Ruiz, Emilio; Luna-Castro, Bibiano

    2015-01-01

    A new species of scorpion is described based on a rare entire adult male preserved in a cloudy amber from Miocene rocks in the Chiapas Highlands, south of Mexico. The amber-bearing beds in Chiapas constitute a Conservation Lagerstätte with outstanding organic preservation inside plant resin. The new species is diagnosed as having putative characters that largely correspond with the genus Tityus Koch, 1836 (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Accordingly, it is now referred to as Tityus apozonalli sp. nov. Its previously unclear phylogenetic relationship among fossil taxa of the family Buthidae from both Dominican and Mexican amber is also examined herein. Preliminarily results indicate a basal condition of T. apozonalli regarding to Tityus geratus Santiago-Blay and Poinar, 1988, Tityus (Brazilotityus) hartkorni Lourenço, 2009, and Tityus azari Lourenço, 2013 from Dominican amber, as was Tityus (Brazilotityus) knodeli Lourenço, 2014 from Mexican amber. Its close relationships with extant Neotropic Tityus-like subclades such as ‘Tityus clathratus’ and the subgenus Tityus (Archaeotityus) are also discussed. This new taxon adds to the knowledge of New World scorpions from the Miocene that are rarely found trapped in amber. PMID:26244974

  7. Copper and silver complexes bearing flexible hybrid scorpionate ligand mpBm.

    PubMed

    Owen, Gareth R; Gould, P Hugh; Moore, Alexandra; Dyson, Gavin; Haddow, Mairi F; Hamilton, Alex

    2013-08-21

    The addition of flexible scorpionate ligand, [mpBm]⁻{i.e. HB(mt)2(mp), where mt = methyl-2-mercaptoimidazole and mp = 2-mercaptopyridine} to group eleven centres is reported for the first time. The coordination of this hybrid ligand to copper(I) and silver(I) centres in the presence of triphenylphosphine and trialkylphosphine co-ligands has been investigated. The trialkylphosphines coordinates to both copper and silver centres while the less basic triarylphosphine only successfully coordinates to the copper centre. Structural characterisation of [Cu{HB(mt)₂(mp)}(PPh₃)], [Cu{HB(mt)₂(mp)}(PCy₃)] and [Ag{HB(mt)₂(mp)}(PCy₃)] confirm κ³-SSH coordination modes for ligand where one of the mt 'arms' and the mp 'arm' of the scorpionate ligand are coordinated to the metal centre. The second mt 'arm' remains uncoordinated in all three complexes. A comparison has been made with the parent sulfur based scorpionate ligand, [Tm]⁻{HB(mt)₃}.

  8. Venom-spraying behavior of the scorpion Parabuthus transvaalicus (Arachnida: Buthidae).

    PubMed

    Nisani, Zia; Hayes, William K

    2015-06-01

    Many animals use chemical squirting or spraying behavior as a defensive response. Some members of the scorpion genus Parabuthus (family Buthidae) can spray their venom. We examined the stimulus control and characteristics of venom spraying by Parabuthus transvaalicus to better understand the behavioral context for its use. Venom spraying occurred mostly, but not always, when the metasoma (tail) was contacted (usually grasped by forceps), and was absent during stinging-like thrusts of the metasoma apart from contact. Scorpions were significantly more likely to spray when contact was also accompanied by airborne stimuli. Sprays happened almost instantaneously following grasping by forceps (median=0.23s) as a brief (0.07-0.30s, mean=0.18s), fine stream (<5° arc) that was not directed toward the stimulus source; however, rapid independent movements of the metasoma and/or telson (stinger) often created a more diffuse spray, increasing the possibility of venom contact with the sensitive eyes of potential scorpion predators. Successive venom sprays varied considerably in duration and velocity. Collectively, these results suggest that venom spraying might be useful as an antipredator function and can be modulated based on threat.

  9. Variability in venom volume, flow rate and duration in defensive stings of five scorpion species.

    PubMed

    van der Meijden, Arie; Coelho, Pedro; Rasko, Mykola

    2015-06-15

    Scorpions have been shown to control their venom usage in defensive encounters, depending on the perceived threat. Potentially, the venom amount that is injected could be controlled by reducing the flow speed, the flow duration, or both. We here investigated these variables by allowing scorpions to sting into an oil-filled chamber, and recording the accreting venom droplets with high-speed video. The size of the spherical droplets on the video can then be used to calculate their volume. We recorded defensive stings of 20 specimens representing 5 species. Significant differences in the flow rate and total expelled volume were found between species. These differences are likely due to differences in overall size between the species. Large variation in both venom flow speed and duration are described between stinging events of single individuals. Both venom flow rate and flow duration correlate highly with the total expelled volume, indicating that scorpions may control both variables in order to achieve a desired end volume of venom during a sting.

  10. Behavioral, histopathological and biochemical impairments observed in mice envenomed by the scorpion: Hottentota gentili (Pallary, 1924).

    PubMed

    El Hidan, Moulay Abdelmonaim; Touloun, Oulaid; El Hiba, Omar; Chait, Abderrahman; Eddine Hafid, Jamal; Boumezzough, Ali

    2015-09-01

    Hottentota gentili is a black scorpion which has been considered as dangerous specie by many authors. However there are no data regarding minimal lethal dose and effects of the scorpion venom till now. We therefore aimed, by the present investigation, to assess on the one hand, the LD50 of H. gentili venom by sublethal injection and the effects on some vital organs, by a histological and a biochemical tools. On the other hand, the possible neurobehavioral impairments, in Swiss mice, 3 h, 6 h and 12 h following envenomation. The LD50 of H. gentili scorpion venom was found to be 0.46 mg/kg by subcutaneous injection route. Venom produced focal fragmentation of myocardial fibers, while lungs showed rupture of the alveolar structure. Intestines showed selective histopathological changes. Concomitantly, there was a significant rise in the serum enzymes levels, as well as hyperkalemia and a high level of plasma albumine and creatine. Proteinuria was also observed. The observed behavioral effects were a hypoactivity in the both experiments 30 min and 3 h after injection. The envenomation produced an increased immobility time only 30 min and 3 h post injection in the tail suspension test (TST).

  11. The transcriptome recipe for the venom cocktail of Tityus bahiensis scorpion.

    PubMed

    de Oliveira, Ursula Castro; Candido, Denise Maria; Dorce, Valquíria Abrão Coronado; Junqueira-de-Azevedo, Inácio de Loiola Meirelles

    2015-03-01

    Scorpion venom is a mixture of peptides, including antimicrobial, bradykinin-potentiating and anionic peptides and small to medium proteins, such as ion channel toxins, metalloproteinases and phospholipases that together cause severe clinical manifestation. Tityus bahiensis is the second most medically important scorpion species in Brazil and it is widely distributed in the country with the exception of the North Region. Here we sequenced and analyzed the transcripts from the venom glands of T. bahiensis, aiming at identifying and annotating venom gland expressed genes. A total of 116,027 long reads were generated by pyrosequencing and assembled in 2891 isotigs. An annotation process identified transcripts by similarity to known toxins, revealing that putative venom components represent 7.4% of gene expression. The major toxins identified are potassium and sodium channel toxins, whereas metalloproteinases showed an unexpected high abundance. Phylogenetic analysis of deduced metalloproteinases from T. bahiensis and other scorpions revealed a pattern of ancient and intraspecific gene expansions. Other venom molecules identified include antimicrobial, anionic and bradykinin-potentiating peptides, besides several putative new venom components. This report provides the first attempt to massively identify the venom components of this species and constitutes one of the few transcriptomic efforts on the genus Tityus.

  12. Optimized scorpion polypeptide LMX: a pest control protein effective against rice leaf folder.

    PubMed

    Tianpei, Xiuzi; Zhu, Yingguo; Li, Shaoqing

    2014-01-01

    Lepidopteran insect pests are the main class of pests causing significant damage to crop plant yields. Insecticidal scorpion peptides exhibit toxicity specific for insects. Here, we report that a peptide LMX, optimized from the insect-specific scorpion neurotoxin LqhIT2, showed high levels of activity against rice leaf folder in vitro and in planta. Oral ingestion of LMX protein led to a significant decrease in feeding on rice leaves, repression of larval growth and development, delay in molting, and increase in larval lethality. Compared with LqhIT2 protein, the stability and insecticidal efficacy of LMX was better. Meanwhile, biochemical analysis showed that LMX protein ingestion dramatically decreased ecdysone content in rice leaf folder larvae, and down-regulated enzymatic activities of the detoxification system (α-naphthyl acetate esterase and glutathione S-transferase), the digestive system (tryptase and chymotrypsin), and the antioxidant system (catalase). These changes were tightly correlated with the dosage of LMX protein. Transgene analysis showed that the rate of leaf damage, and the number of damaged tillers and leaves in the transgenic line were greatly reduced relative to wild type plants and empty vector plants. Based on these observations, we propose that the insect-specific scorpion neurotoxin peptide LMX is an attractive and effective alternative molecule for the protection of rice from rice leaf folder.

  13. Optimized Scorpion Polypeptide LMX: A Pest Control Protein Effective against Rice Leaf Folder

    PubMed Central

    Tianpei, Xiuzi; Zhu, Yingguo; Li, Shaoqing

    2014-01-01

    Lepidopteran insect pests are the main class of pests causing significant damage to crop plant yields. Insecticidal scorpion peptides exhibit toxicity specific for insects. Here, we report that a peptide LMX, optimized from the insect-specific scorpion neurotoxin LqhIT2, showed high levels of activity against rice leaf folder in vitro and in planta. Oral ingestion of LMX protein led to a significant decrease in feeding on rice leaves, repression of larval growth and development, delay in molting, and increase in larval lethality. Compared with LqhIT2 protein, the stability and insecticidal efficacy of LMX was better. Meanwhile, biochemical analysis showed that LMX protein ingestion dramatically decreased ecdysone content in rice leaf folder larvae, and down-regulated enzymatic activities of the detoxification system (α-naphthyl acetate esterase and glutathione S-transferase), the digestive system (tryptase and chymotrypsin), and the antioxidant system (catalase). These changes were tightly correlated with the dosage of LMX protein. Transgene analysis showed that the rate of leaf damage, and the number of damaged tillers and leaves in the transgenic line were greatly reduced relative to wild type plants and empty vector plants. Based on these observations, we propose that the insect-specific scorpion neurotoxin peptide LMX is an attractive and effective alternative molecule for the protection of rice from rice leaf folder. PMID:24964088

  14. Voltage-gated sodium channel modulation by scorpion α-toxins

    PubMed Central

    Bosmans, Frank; Tytgat, Jan

    2007-01-01

    Voltage-gated Na+ channels are integral membrane proteins that function as a gateway for a selective permeation of sodium ions across biological membranes. In this way, they are crucial players for the generation of action potentials in excitable cells. Voltage-gated Na+ channels are encoded by at least nine genes in mammals. The different isoforms have remarkably similar functional properties, but small changes in function and pharmacology are biologically well-defined, as underscored by mutations that cause several diseases and by modulation of a myriad of compounds respectively. This review will stress on the modulation of voltage-gated Na+ channels by scorpion alpha-toxins. Nature has designed these two classes of molecules as if they were predestined to each other: an inevitable ‘encounter’ between a voltage-gated Na+ channel isoform and an alpha-toxin from scorpion venom indeed results in a dramatically changed Na+ current phenotype with clear-cut consequences on electrical excitability and sometimes life or death. This fascinating aspect justifies an overview on scorpion venoms, their alpha-toxins and the Na+ channel targets they are built for, as well as on the molecular determinants that govern the selectivity and affinity of this ‘inseparable duo’. PMID:17087986

  15. Purification and chemical and biological characterizations of seven toxins from the Mexican scorpion, Centruroides suffusus suffusus.

    PubMed

    Martin, M F; Garcia y Perez, L G; el Ayeb, M; Kopeyan, C; Bechis, G; Jover, E; Rochat, H

    1987-04-05

    Seven polypeptides highly toxic to mice were isolated from the venom of the scorpion, Centruroides suffusus suffusus (Css), and their chemical and toxic properties were characterized. It was shown that the most active toxins by intracerebroventricular injection are less active when injected subcutaneously. The complete amino acid sequence (66 residues) of toxin II (Css II) has been determined. The C-terminal end is amidated as found for most other scorpion toxins. Css II is a beta-type toxin, previously used to define the binding site for activation of the sodium channel. Using rat brain synaptosomes, we demonstrated that all Css toxins compete with 125I-Css II to bind to site 4 and should be considered as beta-scorpion toxins. Specific binding parameters for Css VI, one of the most active toxins, were determined: KD = 100 pM; capacity in binding sites, 2.2 pmol of toxin/mg of synaptosomal protein. Css VI was shown to inhibit gamma-aminobutyric acid uptake by synaptosomes: K 0.5 = 100 pM, which agrees with its KD. Competition experiments between the seven Css toxins and 125I-Css II for antiserum raised against Css II demonstrated that all these toxins have common antigenic properties.

  16. Species Delimitation and Morphological Divergence in the Scorpion Centruroides vittatus (Say, 1821): Insights from Phylogeography

    PubMed Central

    Yamashita, Tsunemi; Rhoads, Douglas D.

    2013-01-01

    Scorpion systematics and taxonomy have recently shown a need for revision, partially due to insights from molecular techniques. Scorpion taxonomy has been difficult with morphological characters as disagreement exists among researchers with character choice for adequate species delimitation in taxonomic studies. Within the family Buthidae, species identification and delimitation is particularly difficult due to the morphological similarity among species and extensive intraspecific morphological diversity. The genus Centruroides in the western hemisphere is a prime example of the difficulty in untangling the taxonomic complexity within buthid scorpions. In this paper, we present phylogeographic, Ecological Niche Modeling, and morphometric analyses to further understand how population diversification may have produced morphological diversity in Centruroides vittatus (Say, 1821). We show that C. vittatus populations in the Big Bend and Trans-Pecos region of Texas, USA are phylogeographically distinct and may predate the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). In addition, we suggest the extended isolation of Big Bend region populations may have created the C. vittatus variant once known as C. pantheriensis. PMID:23861878

  17. Location of 45S Ribosomal Genes in Mitotic and Meiotic Chromosomes of Buthid Scorpions.

    PubMed

    Mattos, Viviane Fagundes; Carvalho, Leonardo Sousa; Cella, Doralice Maria; Schneider, Marielle Cristina

    2014-09-01

    Buthid scorpions exhibit a high variability in diploid number within genera and even within species. Cytogenetically, Buthidae differs from other families of Scorpiones based on its low diploid numbers, holocentric chromosomes, and complex chromosomal chains, which form during meiosis. In this study, we analyzed the distribution of the 45S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) genes in the mitotic and meiotic chromosomes of seven buthid species belonging to the genera Rhopalurus and Tityus with the ultimate goal of elucidating the chromosome organization in these scorpions. The chromosome number ranged from 2n=6 to 2n=28. Despite the high variance in diploid number, all species examined carried their 45S rDNA sites in the terminal region of exactly two chromosomes. Analyses of meiotic cells revealed 45S rDNA clusters in the chromosomal chains of Rhopalurus agamemnon, Tityus bahiensis, Tityus confluens, and Tityus martinpaechi, or in bivalent-like configuration in Rhopalurus rochai, Tityus bahiensis, Tityus confluens, Tityus fasciolatus, and Tityus paraguayensis. In the species examined, the 45S rDNA sites colocalized with constitutive heterochromatin regions. In light of the high chromosome variability and maintenance of number and terminal position of 45S rDNA sites in buthids, the heterochromatin may act to conserve the integrity of the ribosomal genes.

  18. New Fossil Scorpion from the Chiapas Amber Lagerstätte.

    PubMed

    Riquelme, Francisco; Villegas-Guzmán, Gabriel; González-Santillán, Edmundo; Córdova-Tabares, Víctor; Francke, Oscar F; Piedra-Jiménez, Dulce; Estrada-Ruiz, Emilio; Luna-Castro, Bibiano

    2015-01-01

    A new species of scorpion is described based on a rare entire adult male preserved in a cloudy amber from Miocene rocks in the Chiapas Highlands, south of Mexico. The amber-bearing beds in Chiapas constitute a Conservation Lagerstätte with outstanding organic preservation inside plant resin. The new species is diagnosed as having putative characters that largely correspond with the genus Tityus Koch, 1836 (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Accordingly, it is now referred to as Tityus apozonalli sp. nov. Its previously unclear phylogenetic relationship among fossil taxa of the family Buthidae from both Dominican and Mexican amber is also examined herein. Preliminarily results indicate a basal condition of T. apozonalli regarding to Tityus geratus Santiago-Blay and Poinar, 1988, Tityus (Brazilotityus) hartkorni Lourenço, 2009, and Tityus azari Lourenço, 2013 from Dominican amber, as was Tityus (Brazilotityus) knodeli Lourenço, 2014 from Mexican amber. Its close relationships with extant Neotropic Tityus-like subclades such as 'Tityus clathratus' and the subgenus Tityus (Archaeotityus) are also discussed. This new taxon adds to the knowledge of New World scorpions from the Miocene that are rarely found trapped in amber.

  19. [Distribution of findings of scorpions in Buenos Aires city in the period 2001-2012 and their sanitary implications].

    PubMed

    Blanco, Guillermo; Laskowicz, Rodrigo D; Lanari, Laura C; Scarlato, Eduardo; Damin, Carlos; de Titto, Ernesto H; de Roodt, Adolfo R

    2016-02-01

    Scorpion stings and their associated mortality increased in the last years in Argentina, with a cumulative record of 73,617 cases and 30 deaths during the period 2001-2012, occurring almost all the deaths in pediatric patients. However, deaths due to severe envenoming by scorpion stings have not been recorded in Buenos Aires city and suburban regions, although the presence of scorpions in this city has been increasingly reported. We studied the temporal and geographical distribution of Tityus trivittatus findings in Buenos Aires city from the database of the Research and Development Area from the National Institute for Production of Biologics of the National Ministry of Health during the period 10/01/2001 to 31/12/2012 in order to correlate these findings with the distribution of health centers in the city. In this period 385 consults with identification of scorpions were recorded. Annual records showed a growing trend. Georeferenced data showed that findings appeared to increase in the surroundings of metro and train stations, mainly at the east of the city with expansion to the west. Although Toxicology services are geographically related to the zones with higher density of finding of scorpions, the accessibility to the centers with antivenom may hinder its application in the recommended time; some measures to avoid possible delays in the application of the treatment are suggested.

  20. Scorpionism in Ecuador: First report of severe and fatal envenoming cases from northern Manabí by Tityus asthenes Pocock.

    PubMed

    Borges, Adolfo; Morales, Melva; Loor, Wilmer; Delgado, Miguel

    2015-10-01

    The presence in rural areas of western Ecuador of scorpions in the genus Tityus capable of producing pediatric mortality is hereby evidenced. The medical significance of scorpions in Ecuador has been underestimated partly because of the clinically unimportant stings delivered by Centruroides margaritatus and Teuthraustes atramentarius, which have venom with low toxicity to vertebrates. Five intra-domiciliary cases of scorpion envenoming in victims aged between 1.9 and 16 years old, including one fatality, are reported from rural settings in forest areas of Chone (n = 2) and Flavio Alfaro (n = 3) counties, northern Manabí province, western Ecuador. Three cases were graded as Class II (moderate) and two in Class III (severe) envenoming. Manifestations showed characteristic autonomic nervous system hyper-stimulation and the fatality (a 1.9-year-old boy from Flavio Alfaro) was due to cardio-respiratory failure. Marked leukocytosis in four of the cases (21,800-31,800 cells/mm(3)), with notable neutrophilia (58-82%), suggests induction of a venom-mediated systemic inflammatory response-like syndrome. Specimens responsible for cases in Flavio Alfaro County, including the fatality, were classified as Tityus asthenes Pocock, accountable for severe scorpionism in Colombia. These findings demand implementation of control and therapeutic measures in affected areas in Ecuador, including evaluation of available scorpion antivenoms.

  1. African Americans and Glaucoma

    MedlinePlus

    ... Involved News About Us Donate In This Section African Americans and Glaucoma email Send this article to a ... glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in African Americans. Half of those with glaucoma don't know ...

  2. Black African Traditional Mathematics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Zaslavsky, Claudia

    1970-01-01

    Discusses the traditional number systems and the origin of the number names used by several African peoples living south of the Sahara. Also included are limitations in African mathematical development, and possible topics for research. (RP)

  3. Scorpion envenomation among children: clinical manifestations and outcome (analysis of 685 cases).

    PubMed

    Bahloul, Mabrouk; Chabchoub, Imen; Chaari, Anis; Chtara, Kamilia; Kallel, Hatem; Dammak, Hassen; Ksibi, Hichem; Chelly, Hedi; Rekik, Noureddine; Ben Hamida, Chokri; Bouaziz, Mounir

    2010-11-01

    Our objective was to characterize both epidemiologically and clinically manifestations after severe scorpion envenomation and to define simple factors indicative of poor prognosis in children. We performed a retrospective study over 13 years (1990-2002) in the medical intensive care unit (ICU) of a university hospital (Sfax-Tunisia). The diagnosis of scorpion envenomation was based on a history of scorpion sting. The medical records of 685 children aged less than 16 years who were admitted for a scorpion sting were analyzed. There were 558 patients (81.5%) in the grade III group (with cardiogenic shock and/or pulmonary edema or severe neurological manifestation [coma and/or convulsion]) and 127 patients (18.5%) in the grade II group (with systemic manifestations). In this study, 434 patients (63.4%) had a pulmonary edema, and 80 patients had a cardiogenic shock; neurological manifestations were observed in 580 patients (84.7%), 555 patients (81%) developed systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), and 552 patients (80.6%) developed multi-organ failure. By the end of the stay in the ICU, evolution was marked by the death in 61 patients (8.9%). A multivariate analysis found the following factors to be correlated with a poor outcome: coma with Glasgow coma score ≤ 8/15 (odds ratio [OR] = 1.3), pulmonary edema (OR = 2.3), and cardiogenic shock (OR = 1.7). In addition, a significant association was found between the development of SIRS and heart failure. Moreover, a temperature > 39°C was associated with the presence of pulmonary edema, with a sensitivity at 20.6%, a specificity at 94.4%, and a positive predictive value at 91.7%. Finally, blood sugar levels above 15 mmol/L were significantly associated with a heart failure. In children admitted for severe scorpion envenomation, coma with Glasgow coma score ≤ 8/15, pulmonary edema, and cardiogenic shock were associated with a poor outcome. The presence of SIRS, a temperature > 39°C, and blood sugar levels

  4. The African Connection

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Oguntoyinbo, Lekan

    2012-01-01

    From student and faculty exchanges to joint research projects, U.S. universities maintain a broad spectrum of collaborative relationships with African universities. It's unclear how many U.S. colleges and universities have partnerships with African universities. The African Studies Association, an organization of scholars, doesn't keep that kind…

  5. Functional and immuno-reactive characterization of a previously undescribed peptide from the venom of the scorpion Centruroides limpidus.

    PubMed

    Olamendi-Portugal, Timoteo; Restano-Cassulini, Rita; Riaño-Umbarila, Lidia; Becerril, Baltazar; Possani, Lourival D

    2017-01-01

    A previously undescribed toxic peptide named Cl13 was purified from the venom of the Mexican scorpion Centruroides limpidus. It contains 66 amino acid residues, including four disulfide bonds. The physiological effects assayed in 7 different subtypes of voltage gated Na(+)-channels, showed that it belongs to the β-scorpion toxin type. The most notorious effects were observed in subtypes Nav1.4, Nav1.5 and Nav1.6. Although having important sequence similarities with two other lethal toxins from this scorpion species (Cll1m and Cll2), the recently developed single chain antibody fragments (scFv) of human origin were not capable of protecting against Cl13. At the amino acid sequence level, in 3 stretches of peptide Cl13 (positions 7-9, 30-38 and 62-66) some differences with respect to other similar toxins are observed. Some of these differences coincide with contact points with the human antibody fragments.

  6. Dated phylogenetic studies of the southernmost American buthids (Scorpiones; Buthidae).

    PubMed

    Ojanguren-Affilastro, Andrés A; Adilardi, Renzo S; Mattoni, Camilo I; Ramírez, Martín J; Ceccarelli, F Sara

    2017-05-01

    A dated molecular phylogeny of the southernmost American species of the family Buthidae, based on two nuclear and two mitochondrial genes, is presented. Based on this study, analyzed species of the subgenus Tityus (Archaeotityus) are neither sister to the remaining species of the genus Tityus, nor are they closely related to the New World microbuthids with decreasing neobothriotaxy. Analyzed species of the subgenus Tityus do not form a monophyletic group. Based on ancestral area estimation analyses, known geoclimatic events of the region and comparisons to the diversification processes of other epigean groups from the area, a generalized hypothesis about the patterns of historical colonization processes of the family Buthidae in southern South America is presented. Furthermore, for the first time, a Paleogene-African ingression route for the colonization of America by the family Buthidae is proposed as a plausible hypothesis.

  7. Structure and function of the voltage sensor of sodium channels probed by a beta-scorpion toxin.

    PubMed

    Cestèle, Sandrine; Yarov-Yarovoy, Vladimir; Qu, Yusheng; Sampieri, François; Scheuer, Todd; Catterall, William A

    2006-07-28

    Voltage sensing by voltage-gated sodium channels determines the electrical excitability of cells, but the molecular mechanism is unknown. beta-Scorpion toxins bind specifically to neurotoxin receptor site 4 and induce a negative shift in the voltage dependence of activation through a voltage sensor-trapping mechanism. Kinetic analysis showed that beta-scorpion toxin binds to the resting state, and subsequently the bound toxin traps the voltage sensor in the activated state in a voltage-dependent but concentration-independent manner. The rate of voltage sensor trapping can be fit by a two-step model, in which the first step is voltage-dependent and correlates with the outward gating movement of the IIS4 segment, whereas the second step is voltage-independent and results in shifted voltage dependence of activation of the channel. Mutations of Glu(779) in extracellular loop IIS1-S2 and both Glu(837) and Leu(840) in extracellular loop IIS3-S4 reduce the binding affinity of beta-scorpion toxin. Mutations of positively charged and hydrophobic amino acid residues in the IIS4 segment do not affect beta-scorpion toxin binding but alter voltage dependence of activation and enhance beta-scorpion toxin action. Structural modeling with the Rosetta algorithm yielded a three-dimensional model of the toxin-receptor complex with the IIS4 voltage sensor at the extracellular surface. Our results provide mechanistic and structural insight into the voltage sensor-trapping mode of scorpion toxin action, define the position of the voltage sensor in the resting state of the sodium channel, and favor voltage-sensing models in which the S4 segment spans the membrane in both resting and activated states.

  8. Structure and Function of the Voltage Sensor of Sodium Channels Probed by a β-Scorpion Toxin*S

    PubMed Central

    Cestèle, Sandrine; Yarov-Yarovoy, Vladimir; Qu, Yusheng; Sampieri, François; Scheuer, Todd; Catterall, William A.

    2006-01-01

    Voltage sensing by voltage-gated sodium channels determines the electrical excitability of cells, but the molecular mechanism is unknown. β-Scorpion toxins bind specifically to neurotoxin receptor site 4 and induce a negative shift in the voltage dependence of activation through a voltage sensor-trapping mechanism. Kinetic analysis showed that β-scorpion toxin binds to the resting state, and subsequently the bound toxin traps the voltage sensor in the activated state in a voltage-dependent but concentration-independent manner. The rate of voltage sensor trapping can be fit by a two-step model, in which the first step is voltage-dependent and correlates with the outward gating movement of the IIS4 segment, whereas the second step is voltage-independent and results in shifted voltage dependence of activation of the channel. Mutations of Glu779 in extracellular loop IIS1–S2 and both Glu837 and Leu840 in extracellular loop IIS3–S4 reduce the binding affinity of β-scorpion toxin. Mutations of positively charged and hydrophobic amino acid residues in the IIS4 segment do not affect β-scorpion toxin binding but alter voltage dependence of activation and enhance β-scorpion toxin action. Structural modeling with the Rosetta algorithm yielded a three-dimensional model of the toxin-receptor complex with the IIS4 voltage sensor at the extracellular surface. Our results provide mechanistic and structural insight into the voltage sensor-trapping mode of scorpion toxin action, define the position of the voltage sensor in the resting state of the sodium channel, and favor voltage-sensing models in which the S4 segment spans the membrane in both resting and activated states. PMID:16679310

  9. Lung compliance, plasma electrolyte levels and acid-base balance are affected by scorpion envenomation in anesthetized rats under mechanical ventilation.

    PubMed

    Andrade, Marcus V; Caramez, Maria Paula R; Abreu, Elnara Marcia N N; Dolnikoff, Marisa; Omar, Erick D; Velasco, Irineu T; Cunha-Melo, José R

    2004-05-01

    To determine the effects of Tityus serrulatus scorpion toxin on lung compliance and resistance, ionic equilibrium and acid-base balance over time in anesthetized and mechanically ventilated rats, we measured air flow, tracheal and esophageal pressure. Lung volume was obtained by electronic integration of airflow signal. Arterial blood samples were collected through a catheter at baseline (before) and 5, 15, 30 and 60 min after scorpion toxin injection for arterial blood gases, bicarbonate, and alkali reserve levels as well as for, sodium, potassium, magnesium, glucose, lactate, hematocrit, and osmolality analysis. Injection of the gamma fraction of the T. serrulatus scorpion venom in rats under mechanical ventilatory support leads to a continuous decrease in lung compliance secondary to pulmonary edema, but no change in airway resistance. The changes in arterial blood gases characterizing metabolic acidosis were accompanied by an increase in arterial lactate and glucose values, suggesting a scorpion toxin-induced lactic acidosis, in association with poor tissue perfusion (hypotension and low cardiac output). Moreover, scorpion toxin injection resulted in hyperosmolality, hyperkalemia, hypermagnesemia and an increase in hematocrit. The experiments have shown a clinically relevant animal model to study severe scorpion envenoming and may help to better understand the scorpion envenoming syndrome.

  10. Neurological effects of venomous bites and stings: snakes, spiders, and scorpions.

    PubMed

    Del Brutto, Oscar H

    2013-01-01

    Snake and spider bites, as well as scorpion sting envenoming, are neglected diseases affecting millions of people all over the world. Neurological complications vary according to the offending animal, and are often directly related to toxic effects of the venom, affecting the central nervous system, the neuromuscular transmission, the cardiovascular system, or the coagulation cascade. Snake bite envenoming may result in stroke or muscle paralysis. Metalloproteinases and other substances (common in vipers and colubrids) have anticoagulant or procoagulant activity, and may induce ischemic or hemorrhagic strokes. The venom of elapids is rich in neurotoxins affecting the neuromuscular transmission at either presynaptic or postsynaptic levels. The clinical picture of scorpion sting envenoming is dominated by muscle weakness associated with arterial hypertension, cardiac arrythmias, myocarditis, or pulmonary edema. These manifestations occur as the result of release of catecholamines into the bloodstream or due to direct cardiac toxicity of the venom. Cerebrovascular complications have been reported after the sting of the Indian red scorpion. Intracranial hemorrhages occur in the setting of acute increases in arterial blood pressure related to sympathetic overstimulation, and cerebral infarctions are related to either cerebral hypoperfusion, consumption coagulopathy, vasculitis, or cardiogenic brain embolism. Three main syndromes result from spider bite envenoming: latrodectism, loxoscelism, and funnel-web spider envenoming. Latrodectism is related to neurotoxins present in the venom of widow spiders. Most cases present with headache, lethargy, irritability, myalgia, tremor, fasciculation, or ataxia. Loxoscelism is caused by envenoming by spiders of the family Sicariidae. It may present with a stroke due to a severe coagulopathy. The venom of funnel-web spiders also has neurotoxins that stimulate neurotransmitter release, resulting in sensory disturbances and muscle

  11. Choose Your Weapon: Defensive Behavior Is Associated with Morphology and Performance in Scorpions

    PubMed Central

    van der Meijden, Arie; Lobo Coelho, Pedro; Sousa, Pedro; Herrel, Anthony

    2013-01-01

    Morphology can be adaptive through its effect on performance of an organism. The effect of performance may, however, be modulated by behavior; an organism may choose a behavioral option that does not fully utilize its maximum performance. Behavior may therefore be decoupled from morphology and performance. To gain insight into the relationships between these levels of organization, we combined morphological data on defensive structures with measures of defensive performance, and their utilization in defensive behavior. Scorpion species show significant variation in the morphology and performance of their main defensive structures; their chelae (pincers) and the metasoma (“tail”) carrying the stinger. Our data show that size-corrected pinch force varies to almost two orders of magnitude among species, and is correlated with chela morphology. Chela and metasoma morphology are also correlated to the LD50 of the venom, corroborating the anecdotal rule that dangerously venomous scorpions can be recognized by their chelae and metasoma. Analyses of phylogenetic independent contrasts show that correlations between several aspects of chela and metasoma morphology, performance and behavior are present. These correlations suggest co-evolution of behavior with morphology and performance. Path analysis found a performance variable (pinch force) to partially mediate the relationship between morphology (chela aspect ratio) and behavior (defensive stinger usage). We also found a correlation between two aspects of morphology: pincer finger length correlates with the relative “thickness” (aspect ratio) of the metasoma. This suggests scorpions show a trade-off between their two main weapon complexes: the metasoma carrying the stinger, and the pedipalps carrying the chelae. PMID:24236075

  12. Anti-HIV-1 Activity of a New Scorpion Venom Peptide Derivative Kn2-7

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Yaoqing; Cao, Luyang; Zhong, Maohua; Zhang, Yan; Han, Chen; Li, Qiaoli; Yang, Jingyi; Zhou, Dihan; Shi, Wei; He, Benxia; Liu, Fang; Yu, Jie; Sun, Ying; Cao, Yuan; Li, Yaoming; Li, Wenxin; Guo, Deying; Cao, Zhijian; Yan, Huimin

    2012-01-01

    For over 30 years, HIV/AIDS has wreaked havoc in the world. In the absence of an effective vaccine for HIV, development of new anti-HIV agents is urgently needed. We previously identified the antiviral activities of the scorpion-venom-peptide-derived mucroporin-M1 for three RNA viruses (measles viruses, SARS-CoV, and H5N1). In this investigation, a panel of scorpion venom peptides and their derivatives were designed and chosen for assessment of their anti-HIV activities. A new scorpion venom peptide derivative Kn2-7 was identified as the most potent anti-HIV-1 peptide by screening assays with an EC50 value of 2.76 µg/ml (1.65 µM) and showed low cytotoxicity to host cells with a selective index (SI) of 13.93. Kn2-7 could inhibit all members of a standard reference panel of HIV-1 subtype B pseudotyped virus (PV) with CCR5-tropic and CXCR4-tropic NL4-3 PV strain. Furthermore, it also inhibited a CXCR4-tropic replication-competent strain of HIV-1 subtype B virus. Binding assay of Kn2-7 to HIV-1 PV by Octet Red system suggested the anti-HIV-1 activity was correlated with a direct interaction between Kn2-7 and HIV-1 envelope. These results demonstrated that peptide Kn2-7 could inhibit HIV-1 by direct interaction with viral particle and may become a promising candidate compound for further development of microbicide against HIV-1. PMID:22536342

  13. Effect of age on body distribution of Tityustoxin from Tityus serrulatus scorpion venom in rats.

    PubMed

    Nunan, Elzíria A; Moraes, Márcio F D; Cardoso, Valbert N; Moraes-Santos, Tasso

    2003-06-06

    Previous research from our Laboratory has shown a greater susceptibility of young animals, when compared to adults, to envenomation by tityustoxin (TsTX), one of the main toxins from Tityus serrulatus scorpion venom. Our hypothesis is that a differential body distribution of TsTX among adult and young animals could account for the worse prognosis of scorpion envenomation in infants. Thus, TsTX labeled with technetium-99m was injected (6 microg, subcutaneous) in adult (150-160 day-old) and young (21-22 day-old) male rats. Groups of animals were sacrificed at different times after TsTX injection (0.08, 1.0, 3.0, 6.0, 12.0 and 24.0 hours) under Urethane anesthesia (140 mg/100 g, i.p.). The brain, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen and thyroid were excised and blood collected. Young rats presented a shorter latency toxin concentration peak in all studied organs except for the liver and the kidney, when compared to adults. The ratio between the area under the curve of the toxin concentration in each organ and that in blood (Kp) indicates higher accumulation in the organs of young animals mainly for brain, liver and heart. These observations suggest a faster toxin distribution in the organs of young rats. The higher uptake of TsTX in the brain is suggestive of a greater permeability for the toxin along the blood-brain barrier of young rats. In conclusion, the higher uptake in heart, together with data from the brain, may help to elucidate the clinical manifestations frequently observed in children under scorpion envenomation.

  14. Choose your weapon: defensive behavior is associated with morphology and performance in scorpions.

    PubMed

    van der Meijden, Arie; Lobo Coelho, Pedro; Sousa, Pedro; Herrel, Anthony

    2013-01-01

    Morphology can be adaptive through its effect on performance of an organism. The effect of performance may, however, be modulated by behavior; an organism may choose a behavioral option that does not fully utilize its maximum performance. Behavior may therefore be decoupled from morphology and performance. To gain insight into the relationships between these levels of organization, we combined morphological data on defensive structures with measures of defensive performance, and their utilization in defensive behavior. Scorpion species show significant variation in the morphology and performance of their main defensive structures; their chelae (pincers) and the metasoma ("tail") carrying the stinger. Our data show that size-corrected pinch force varies to almost two orders of magnitude among species, and is correlated with chela morphology. Chela and metasoma morphology are also correlated to the LD50 of the venom, corroborating the anecdotal rule that dangerously venomous scorpions can be recognized by their chelae and metasoma. Analyses of phylogenetic independent contrasts show that correlations between several aspects of chela and metasoma morphology, performance and behavior are present. These correlations suggest co-evolution of behavior with morphology and performance. Path analysis found a performance variable (pinch force) to partially mediate the relationship between morphology (chela aspect ratio) and behavior (defensive stinger usage). We also found a correlation between two aspects of morphology: pincer finger length correlates with the relative "thickness" (aspect ratio) of the metasoma. This suggests scorpions show a trade-off between their two main weapon complexes: the metasoma carrying the stinger, and the pedipalps carrying the chelae.

  15. Mass Fingerprinting of the Venom and Transcriptome of Venom Gland of Scorpion Centruroides tecomanus

    PubMed Central

    Valdez-Velázquez, Laura L.; Quintero-Hernández, Verónica; Romero-Gutiérrez, Maria Teresa; Coronas, Fredy I. V.; Possani, Lourival D.

    2013-01-01

    Centruroides tecomanus is a Mexican scorpion endemic of the State of Colima, that causes human fatalities. This communication describes a proteome analysis obtained from milked venom and a transcriptome analysis from a cDNA library constructed from two pairs of venom glands of this scorpion. High perfomance liquid chromatography separation of soluble venom produced 80 fractions, from which at least 104 individual components were identified by mass spectrometry analysis, showing to contain molecular masses from 259 to 44,392 Da. Most of these components are within the expected molecular masses for Na+- and K+-channel specific toxic peptides, supporting the clinical findings of intoxication, when humans are stung by this scorpion. From the cDNA library 162 clones were randomly chosen, from which 130 sequences of good quality were identified and were clustered in 28 contigs containing, each, two or more expressed sequence tags (EST) and 49 singlets with only one EST. Deduced amino acid sequence analysis from 53% of the total ESTs showed that 81% (24 sequences) are similar to known toxic peptides that affect Na+-channel activity, and 19% (7 unique sequences) are similar to K+-channel especific toxins. Out of the 31 sequences, at least 8 peptides were confirmed by direct Edman degradation, using components isolated directly from the venom. The remaining 19%, 4%, 4%, 15% and 5% of the ESTs correspond respectively to proteins involved in cellular processes, antimicrobial peptides, venom components, proteins without defined function and sequences without similarity in databases. Among the cloned genes are those similar to metalloproteinases. PMID:23840487

  16. Selected scorpion toxin exposures induce cytokine release in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

    PubMed

    Corzo, Gerardo; Espino-Solis, Gerardo Pavel

    2017-03-01

    A cytokine screening on human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) stimulated with selected scorpion toxins (ScTx's) was performed in order to evaluate their effect on human immune cells. The ScTx's chosen for this report were three typical buthid scorpion venom peptides, one with lethal effects on mammals Centruroides suffussus suffusus toxin II (CssII), another, with lethal effects on insects and crustaceans Centruroides noxius toxin 5 (Cn5), and one more without lethal effects Tityus discrepans toxin (Discrepin). A Luminex multiplex analysis was performed in order to determine the amounts chemokines and cytokines IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12-p40, IL-13, interferon alpha (IFN-α), interferon gamma (IFN-γ), tumor necrosis factor alpha TNF-α, and interferon-inducible protein-10 (IP-10) secreted from human PBMCs exposed to these toxins. Although, the ScTx Cn5 is not lethal for mammals, it was able to induce the secretion of cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α, IL-10 and IP-10 in comparison to the lethal CssII, which was able to induce only IP-10 secretion. Discrepin also was able to induce only IP-10. Interestingly, only low amounts of interferons α and β were induced in the presence of the ScTx's assayed. In a synergic experiment, the combination of Discrepin and Cn5 displayed considerable reverse effects on induction of IL-1β, IL-6, IL-10 and TNF-α, but they had a slight synergic effect on IP-10 cytokine production in comparison with the single effect obtained with the Cn5 alone. Thus, the results obtained suggest that the profile of secreted cytokines promoted by ScTx Cn5 is highly related with a cytokine storm event, and also it suggests that the mammalian lethal neurotoxins are not solely responsible of the scorpion envenomation symptomatology.

  17. Rates of molecular evolution in nuclear genes of east Mediterranean scorpions.

    PubMed

    Gantenbein, Benjamin; Keightley, Peter D

    2004-11-01

    Scorpions of the genus Mesobuthus represent a useful terrestrial model system for studying molecular evolution. They are distributed on several Aegean islands and the adjacent mainland, they are believed to have low rates of dispersal, and evolutionary divergence dates of taxa are available based on biogeographic events that separated islands from each other and the mainland. Here, we present data on polymorphism and synonymous (Ks) and non-synonymous (Ka) substitution rates for nine nuclear protein-coding genes of two east Mediterranean scorpion species, Mesobuthus gibbosus and M. cyprius (Buthidae). Levels of polymorphism tend to be lower in populations from islands (mean nucleotide diversity pi = 0.0071 +/- 0.0028) than in mainland populations (mean pi = 0.0201 +/- 0.0085). By using linear regression of genetic divergence versus isolation time, we estimate Ks to be 3.17 +/- 1.54 per (site x 10(9) years), and Ka to be 0.39 +/- 0.94 per (site x 10(9) years). These estimates for both Ks and Ka are considerably lower than for many other invertebrates, such as Drosophila, and may be attributed to scorpions' mammal-like generation times (approximately 2 years) and low metabolic rates. Phylogenetic analysis using maximum likelihood revealed a phylogeny that is congruent with that expected based on biogeographic events and in which divergences at synonymous sites are proportional to the dates that the taxa are believed to have split. Tests of equality of branch lengths for the Cyprus and Crete lineages revealed that Ks-estimates are about the same in both lineages, as expected from the biogeographic events that separated the islands, but Ka was increased in the Cyprus lineage compared to the Cretan lineage.

  18. Impact of scorpion venom as an acute stressor on the neuroendocrine-immunological network.

    PubMed

    Santhosh, K N; Pavana, D; Thippeswamy, N B

    2016-11-01

    Although immunomodulatory property and many other pharmaceutical applications of scorpion venom have been addressed before, no studies were reported about its application as a neuroimmunomodulator at therapeutic dose. In this study, we conceptualized the property of scorpion venom, capable of inducing the acute pain and neurotoxicity can cause acute stress resulting in the modulation of immune cells through HPA axis. The whole venom from Hottentotta rugiscutis, a widely seen scorpion in the region of eastern Karnataka, was extracted and injected a single dose of 1 mg/kg b.w. to Swiss albino mice and then erythrocytes and leukogram were measured. Whole brain AChE activity, corticosterone, cytokines and NO levels in plasma were also evaluated at various time points. Hrv didn't show any histopathological changes in the lymphoid organs and at the site of injection. However, lymphocytes and neutrophils did get altered at 2 h post-injection. Plasma corticosterone, cytokine levels such as IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and IL-10 and the AChE activity were significantly increased in a time-dependent manner. Based on these results, it may be predicted, Hrv's ability to cause acute stress resulted in the activation of HPA axis, which stimulates the release of glucocorticoid hormones which in turn elicits the immunomodulation of leukocytes by altering the levels of pro and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Thus, we can conclude, the impact of acute stress induced by Hrv can intercommunicate the signals between neuroendocrine-immune systems.

  19. A Scorpion Defensin BmKDfsin4 Inhibits Hepatitis B Virus Replication in Vitro

    PubMed Central

    Zeng, Zhengyang; Zhang, Qian; Hong, Wei; Xie, Yingqiu; Liu, Yun; Li, Wenxin; Wu, Yingliang; Cao, Zhijian

    2016-01-01

    Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major worldwide health problem which can cause acute and chronic hepatitis and can significantly increase the risk of liver cirrhosis and primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Nowadays, clinical therapies of HBV infection still mainly rely on nucleotide analogs and interferons, the usage of which is limited by drug-resistant mutation or side effects. Defensins had been reported to effectively inhibit the proliferation of bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. Here, we screened the anti-HBV activity of 25 scorpion-derived peptides most recently characterized by our group. Through evaluating anti-HBV activity and cytotoxicity, we found that BmKDfsin4, a scorpion defensin with antibacterial and Kv1.3-blocking activities, has a comparable high inhibitory rate of both HBeAg and HBsAg in HepG2.2.15 culture medium and low cytotoxicity to HepG2.2.15. Then, our experimental results further showed that BmKDfsin4 can dose-dependently decrease the production of HBV DNA and HBV viral proteins in both culture medium and cell lysate. Interestingly, BmKDfsin4 exerted high serum stability. Together, this study indicates that the scorpion defensin BmKDfsin4 also has inhibitory activity against HBV replication along with its antibacterial and potassium ion channel Kv1.3-blocking activities, which shows that BmKDfsin4 is a uniquely multifunctional defensin molecule. Our work also provides a good molecule material which will be used to investigate the link or relationship of its antiviral, antibacterial and ion channel–modulating activities in the future. PMID:27128943

  20. The new kappa-KTx 2.5 from the scorpion Opisthacanthus cayaporum.

    PubMed

    Camargos, Thalita Soares; Restano-Cassulini, Rita; Possani, Lourival Domingos; Peigneur, Steve; Tytgat, Jan; Schwartz, Carlos Alberto; Alves, Erica Maria C; de Freitas, Sonia Maria; Schwartz, Elisabeth Ferroni

    2011-07-01

    The kappa-KTx family of peptides, which is the newest K⁺-channel blocker family from scorpion venom, is present in scorpions from the families Scorpionidae and Liochelidae. Differently from the other scorpion KTx families, the three-dimensional structure of the known kappa-KTxs toxins is formed by two parallel α-helices linked by two disulfide bridges. Here, the characterization of a new kappa-KTx peptide, designated kappa-KTx 2.5, derived from the Liochelidae scorpion Opisthacanthus cayaporum, is described. This peptide was purified by HPLC and found to be identical to OcyC8, a predicted mature sequence precursor (UniProtKB C5J89) previously described by our group. The peptide was chemically synthesized and the circular dichroism (CD) spectra of both, native and synthetic, conducted at different temperatures in water and water/trifluoroethanol (TFE), showed a predominance of α-helices. The kappa-KTx 2.5 is heat stable and was shown to be a blocker of K⁺-currents on hKv1.1, and hKv1.4, with higher affinity for Kv1.4 channels (IC₅₀= 71 μM). Similarly to the other kappa-KTxs, the blockade of K⁺-channels occurred at micromolar concentrations, leading to uncertainness about their proper molecular target, and consequently their pharmacologic effect. In order to test other targets, kappa-KTx2.5 was tested on other K⁺-channels, on Na⁺-channels, on bacterial growth and on smooth muscle tissue, a known assay to identify possible bradykinin-potentiating peptides, due to the presence of two contiguous prolines at the C-terminal sequence. It has no effect on the targets used except on hKv1.1, and hKv1.4 expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells. Since the only plausible function found for kappa-KTx2.5 seems to be the blockade of K⁺-channels, a discussion regarding the analysis of structure-function relationships is included in this communication, based on sequence alignments of members of the kappa-KTx toxin family, and on computational simulation of a

  1. Mineral resources of the Scorpion Wilderness study area, Garfield and Kane counties, Utah

    SciTech Connect

    Bartsch-Winkler, S.; Jones, J.L.; Kilburn, J.E.; Cady, J.W.; Duval, J.S.; Cook, K.L. ); Lane, M.E.; Corbetta, P.A. )

    1989-01-01

    This paper reports on the Scorpion Wilderness Study Area which covers 14,978 acres in south- central Utah in Garfield and Kane counties. No mining claims or oil and gas leases or lease applications extend inside this study-area boundary. Demonstrated subeconomic resources of less than 30,000 tons of gypsum are in this study area. The mineral resource potential is low for undiscovered gypsum in the Carmel Formation, for undiscovered uranium in the Chinle Formation in the subsurface, and for undiscovered metals other than uranium. The energy resource potential is low for geothermal resources and is moderate for oil, gas, and carbon dioxide.

  2. Fluorescence in scorpions under UV light; can chaerilids be a possible exception?

    PubMed

    Lourenço, Wilson R

    2012-12-01

    The fluorescence of scorpions in ultraviolet light, a well-known phenomenon, was discovered more than 60 years ago. Its possible function remains, however, a matter of discussion. Even during very recent studies, no conclusion has been reached. As suggested in these recent publications, the lack of or reduction of fluorescence could be a useful tool to explain the phenomenon. It is suggested here that, in at least some species of the family Chaerilidae Simon, this phenomenon is absent. This new discovery may initiate important comparative eco-physiological studies.

  3. The African superswell

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nyblade, Andrew A.; Robinson, Scott W.

    1994-01-01

    Maps of residual bathymetry in the ocean basins around the African continent reveal a broad bathymetric swell in the southeastern Atlantic Ocean with an amplitude of about 500 m. We propose that this region of anomalously shallow bathymetry, together with the contiguous eastern and southern African plateaus, form a superswell which we refer to as the African superswell. The origin of the African superswell is uncertain. However, rifting and volcanism in eastern Africa, as well as heat flow measurements in southern Africa and the southeastern Atlantic Ocean, suggest that the superswell may be attributed, at least in part, to heating of the lithosphere.

  4. Comments on Environmental and Sanitary Aspects of the Scorpionism by Tityus trivittatus in Buenos Aires City, Argentina

    PubMed Central

    de Roodt, Adolfo Rafael

    2014-01-01

    Deaths by venomous animals are medical emergencies that can lead to death and thus constitute sanitary problems in some regions of the world. In the South of America, the accidents by these animals are a common sanitary problem especially in warm, tropical or subtropical regions, related with rural work in several countries. Argentina is located in the extreme South of South America and a minor part of the continental surface is in tropical or subtropical regions, where most of the accidents by venomous animals happen. However, in the big cities in the center and South of the country, with no relation to rural work, scorpionism, mostly due to the synanthropic and facultative parthenogenetic scorpion Tityus trivittatus, has become a sanitary problem in the last few decades. This scorpion is present in the biggest cities of Argentina and in the last decades has killed over 20 children in provinces of the center and north of the country, mostly in big cities. In addition, it seems that this species is growing and spreading in new regions of the cities. In this revision, some characteristics of this scorpion regarding its habitat, spreading in Buenos Aires city, combat measures and available treatments are discussed. PMID:24759176

  5. Bioactivity of Natural and Engineered Antimicrobial Peptides from Venom of the Scorpions Urodacus yaschenkoi and U. manicatus

    PubMed Central

    Luna-Ramirez, Karen; Tonk, Miray; Rahnamaeian, Mohammad; Vilcinskas, Andreas

    2017-01-01

    The spread of multidrug-resistant human pathogens has drawn attention towards antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which are major players in the innate immune systems of many organisms, including vertebrates, invertebrates, plants and microbes. Scorpion venom is an abundant source of novel and potent AMPs. Here, we investigated natural and engineered AMPs from the scorpions Urodacus yaschenkoi and U. manicatus to determine their antimicrobial spectra as well as their hemolytic/cytotoxic activity. None of the AMPs were active against fungi, but many of them were active at low concentrations (0.25–30 µM) against seven different bacteria. Hemolytic and cytotoxic activities were determined using pig erythrocytes and baby hamster kidney cells, respectively. The amino acid substitutions in the engineered AMPs did not inhibit cytotoxicity, but reduced hemolysis and therefore increased the therapeutic indices. The phylogenetic analysis of scorpion AMPs revealed they are closely related and the GXK motif is highly conserved. The engineered scorpion AMPs offer a promising alternative for the treatment of multidrug-resistant bacterial infections and could be modified further to reduce their hemolytic/cytotoxic activity. PMID:28067810

  6. X-ray Structure of Native Scorpion Toxin BmBKTx1 by Racemic Protein Crystallography Using Direct Methods

    SciTech Connect

    Mandal, Kalyaneswar; Pentelute, Brad L.; Tereshko, Valentina; Kossiakoff, Anthony A.; Kent, Stephen B.H.

    2009-04-08

    Racemic protein crystallography, enabled by total chemical synthesis, has allowed us to determine the X-ray structure of native scorpion toxin BmBKTx1; direct methods were used for phase determination. This is the first example of a protein racemate that crystallized in space group I41/a.

  7. Harlem Connections: Teaching Walter Dean Myers'"Scorpions" with Paul Laurence Dunbar's "The Sport of the Gods."

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    West, Mark I.

    1999-01-01

    Describes how the author, in a course titled "Literature for Adolescents" paired Walter Dean Myers' 1988 young adult novel, "Scorpions," with Paul Laurence Dunbar's 1902 novel for adults, "The Sport of the Gods." Describes student readers' responses to the pair of books, which focus on the difficulties of growing up…

  8. Cooperative Exploration of Rough Martian Terrains with the "Scorpion" Legged Robot as an Adjunct to a Rover.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Colombano, Silvano P.; Kirchner, Frank; Spenneberg, Dirk; Starman, Jared; Hanratty, James; Kovsmeyer, David (Technical Monitor)

    2003-01-01

    NASA needs autonomous robotic exploration of difficult (rough and/or steep) scientifically interesting Martian terrains. Concepts involving distributed autonomy for cooperative robotic exploration are key to enabling new scientific objectives in robotic missions. We propose to utilize a legged robot as an adjunct scout to a rover for access to difficult - scientifically interesting - terrains (rocky areas, slopes, cliffs). Our final mission scenario involves the Ames rover platform "K9" and Scorpion acting together to explore a steep cliff, with the Scorpion robot rappelling down using the K9 as an anchor as well as mission planner and executive. Cooperation concepts, including wheeled rappelling robots have been proposed before. Now we propose to test the combined advantages of a wheeled vehicle with a legged scout as well as the advantages of merging of high level planning and execution with biologically inspired, behavior based robotics. We propose to use the 8-legged, multifunctional autonomous robot platform Scorpion that is currently capable of: Walking on different terrains (rocks, sand, grass, ...). Perceiving its environment and modifying its behavioral pattern accordingly. These capabilities would be extended to enable the Scorpion to: communicate and cooperate with a partner robot; climb over rocks, rubble piles, and objects with structural features. This will be done in the context of exploration of rough terrains in the neighborhood of the rover, but inaccessible to it, culminating in the added capability of rappelling down a steep cliff for both vertical and horizontal terrain observation.

  9. Genomic cloning, characterization and statistical analysis of an antitumor-analgesic peptide from Chinese scorpion Buthus martensii Karsch.

    PubMed

    Cui, Yong; Liu, Yanfeng; Chen, Qiqing; Zhang, Rong; Song, Yongbo; Jiang, Zhuopu; Wu, Chunfu; Zhang, Jinghai

    2010-09-01

    The genomic DNA sequence encoding an antitumor-analgesic peptide was amplified from the genome of Chinese scorpion Buthus martensii Karsch (BmKAGAP), then cloned and sequenced. An intron, with a high A + T content (61.6%), splits a glycine codon near the end of the precursor signal peptide and the consensus GT/AG splice junction was identified in the BmKAGAP gene. Using PCR amplification, we confirmed the identity of our cloned cDNA, and found that the BmKAGAP gene contained an intron of 506 bp in length, which was almost identical to that of the characterized scorpion sodium channel ligands in size, consensus junctions, putative branch point and A + T content. This is the first report of using a statistical method for Chinese scorpion B. martensii Karsch genomic sequence analysis, involving the extraction of some putative transcription regulatory factors. Moreover, it establishes a theoretical foundation for studying the relationship between scorpion evolution, gene expression and protein function.

  10. In vitro analysis of the anticancer properties of scorpion venom in colorectal and breast cancer cell lines

    PubMed Central

    AL-ASMARI, ABDULRAHMAN KHAZIM; ISLAM, MOZAFFARUL; AL-ZAHRANI, ALI MATER

    2016-01-01

    Scorpion venom contains various types of proteins and peptides that are able to act as inhibitors of neurotransmitter molecules. This is achieved primarily via the inhibition of ion channels. In addition, scorpion venom has been demonstrated to exhibit anticancer properties in prostate and breast cancer, as well as leukemia. The anticancer properties of scorpion venom are due to its inhibitory effect on matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity, which leads to reduced motility and invasion in tumor cells. The inhibitory effects of venom on MMPs additionally lead to a reduction in the metastatic potential of malignant tumors. In the present study, the effect of venom obtained from a local serpentarium facility was examined in colorectal and breast cancer cell lines. Cell motility and clonogenic survival assays revealed a significant decrease (60–90%) in cell motility and colony formation, two significant hallmarks of cancer survival, following treatment with various concentrations of venom. These results were in agreement with previous studies demonstrating the anticancer activity of scorpion venom. In conclusion, the venom utilized at the Research Center of Prince Sultan Military Medical City Hospital (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) possesses significant anticancer potential against colorectal and breast cancer cell lines. PMID:26893728

  11. Comparative proteomic analysis of female and male venoms from the Mexican scorpion Centruroides limpidus: Novel components found.

    PubMed

    Cid Uribe, Jimena Isaias; Jiménez Vargas, Juana Maria; Ferreira Batista, Cesar Vicente; Zamudio Zuñiga, Fernando; Possani, Lourival Domingos

    2017-01-01

    Venom from male and female scorpions of the species Centruroides limpidus were separated by HPLC and their molecular masses determined by mass spectrometry. The relative concentration of components eluting in equivalent retention times from the HPLC column shows some differences. A new peptide with 29 amino acids, cross-linked by three disulfide bonds was found in male scorpions and its structure determined. Another unknown peptide present in female venom, with sequence identity similar to K(+)-channel blocking peptide was isolated. This peptide contains 39 amino acid residues linked by three disulfide bonds. Due to sequence similarities, a systematic number (αKTx2.18) was assigned. Venom from male and female scorpions was separated by Sephadex G-50 gel filtration. Components of fraction I of this chromatogram were analyzed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and 41 spots were selected (20 from female and 21 from male). The spots were excised from the gel, enzymatically digested and sequenced by LC-MS/MS. This procedure allowed the identification of several proteins containing similar amino acid sequence of other known proteins registered on UniProt database. Among these proteins the presence of metalloproteinases (proteolytic enzymes), hyaluronidases and phosphatases were experimentally determined and shown to be present in both venom samples. The results shown here should help further work aimed at fully identification of the structure and function of venom components form C. limpidus male and female scorpions.

  12. Comparison of the Amino-Acid Content in Pharmacopuncture Extracts Taken from a Scorpion's Body and from Its Tail

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Jin-Ho; Shin, Joon-Shik; Chi, Eun-Hya; Lee, In-Hee

    2013-01-01

    Objective: This study was conducted to investigate the amino-acid compositions of pharmacopuncture extracts taken from the body and from the tail of Buthus martensii Karsch, which are frequently prescribed in Oriental medicine. Methods: Amino acids in hot water and 70% ethanol extracts taken from the scorpion’s whole body and from its tail were screened by using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The experiments were performed with linearity, precision and accuracy. Results: The results of the amino-acid-composition analysis showed that the Buthus martensii Karsch extracts contained various amino acids such as aspartic acid, histidine, alanine, tyrosine, and cystine. The amino-acid analysis showed that the hot water extract was more beneficial than the ethanol extract, except for histidine. The amino acids from the tail and the body of the scorpion were compared, and the concentration of aspartic acid in the extract from the scorpion’s tail was two times that found in the extract from its body. The results of validation experiments were all satisfactory. Conclusion: Studies on the ingredients in extracts from a scorpion other than buthotoxin may demonstrate that the antiepileptic efficacy, anticancer activity, antithrombotic action and analgesic effect are enhanced. Using only the tail of the scorpion when pharmacopuncture is dispensed may be beneficial because the extracts from the tail of the scorpion have higher potency than those from the whole body. PMID:25780666

  13. A historical approach to scorpion studies with special reference to the 20th and 21st centuries

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    This work provides historical context about scorpion studies from the end of the 19th century to the present day. The content is mainly addressed to non-zoologists, working in research fields that embrace scorpion biology, notably to those working with venoms and toxins. The historical aspects described include academic professional scholars who worked on scorpion classification and general distribution patterns; and to a lesser extent, on studies of ecology and natural history. The aim is not to provide an exhaustive description of all scholars who in one way or another became involved with scorpions, but rather of those who greatly contributed during a given period to the research of these organisms. No critical analysis of the work of previous researchers is undertaken, but some comments are proposed to bring clarification on ‘who’s who’. Since a global consensus in relation to classification and/or distribution patterns has not been reached among modern experts, these different approaches are also presented without judgment. Consequently, distinct approaches remain open for discussion. PMID:24618067

  14. Phaiodotoxin, a novel structural class of insect-toxin isolated from the venom of the Mexican scorpion Anuroctonus phaiodactylus.

    PubMed

    Valdez-Cruz, Norma A; Batista, Cesar V F; Zamudio, Fernando Z; Bosmans, Frank; Tytgat, Jan; Possani, Lourival D

    2004-12-01

    A peptide called phaiodotoxin was isolated from the venom of the scorpion Anuroctonus phaiodactylus. It is lethal to crickets, but non toxic to mice at the doses assayed. It has 72 amino acid residues, with a molecular mass of 7971 atomic mass units. Its covalent structure was determined by Edman degradation and mass spectrometry; it contains four disulfide-bridges, of which one of the pairs is formed between cysteine-7 and cysteine-8 (positions Cys63-Cys71). The other three pairs are formed between Cys13-Cys38, Cys23-Cys50 and Cys27-Cys52. Comparative sequence analysis shows that phaiodotoxin belongs to the long-chain subfamily of scorpion peptides. Several genes coding for this peptide and similar ones were cloned by PCR, using cDNA prepared from the RNA of venomous glands of this scorpion. Electrophysiological assays conducted with this toxin in several mammalian cell lines (TE671, COS7, rat GH3 and cerebellum granular cells), showed no effect on Na+ currents. However, it shifts the voltage dependence of activation and inactivation of insect Na+ channels (para/tipE) to more negative and positive potentials, respectively. Therefore, the 'window' current is increased by 225%, which is thought to be the cause of its toxicity toward insects. Phaiodotoxin is the first toxic peptide ever purified from a scorpion of the family Iuridae.

  15. The effect of desiccation on water management and compartmentalisation in scorpions: the hepatopancreas as a water reservoir.

    PubMed

    Gefen, Eran; Ar, Amos

    2005-05-01

    Scorpions of the Family Buthidae have lower water loss rates (WLR) and enhanced osmoregulatory capacities in comparison with sympatric species of F. Scorpionidae. In this study we followed changes in water content of different body compartments in four scorpion species under prolonged desiccation conditions. The high initial WLR previously reported for Scorpionidae result in rapid depletion of body water stores. A significant decrease in total body water content of Scorpionidae was recorded following loss of only 5% of initial mass, whereas no such decrease was recorded for Buthidae following severe desiccation. When desiccated, scorpions lose water primarily from the hepatopancreas, while haemolymph volume is more tightly regulated. However, the haemolymph volume of Scorpionidae decreases as a result of depletion of hepatopancreas water stores following severe desiccation. The increasing lipid fraction in the hepatopancreas of Scorpionidae during desiccation suggests that depletion of body water stores may induce enhanced catabolism of carbohydrates, which may contribute to volume regulation by making initially glycogen-bound water available to the desiccating scorpion.

  16. Bioactivity of Natural and Engineered Antimicrobial Peptides from Venom of the Scorpions Urodacus yaschenkoi and U. manicatus.

    PubMed

    Luna-Ramirez, Karen; Tonk, Miray; Rahnamaeian, Mohammad; Vilcinskas, Andreas

    2017-01-06

    The spread of multidrug-resistant human pathogens has drawn attention towards antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which are major players in the innate immune systems of many organisms, including vertebrates, invertebrates, plants and microbes. Scorpion venom is an abundant source of novel and potent AMPs. Here, we investigated natural and engineered AMPs from the scorpions Urodacus yaschenkoi and U. manicatus to determine their antimicrobial spectra as well as their hemolytic/cytotoxic activity. None of the AMPs were active against fungi, but many of them were active at low concentrations (0.25-30 µM) against seven different bacteria. Hemolytic and cytotoxic activities were determined using pig erythrocytes and baby hamster kidney cells, respectively. The amino acid substitutions in the engineered AMPs did not inhibit cytotoxicity, but reduced hemolysis and therefore increased the therapeutic indices. The phylogenetic analysis of scorpion AMPs revealed they are closely related and the GXK motif is highly conserved. The engineered scorpion AMPs offer a promising alternative for the treatment of multidrug-resistant bacterial infections and could be modified further to reduce their hemolytic/cytotoxic activity.

  17. Biochemical, genetic and physiological characterization of venom components from two species of scorpions: Centruroides exilicauda Wood and Centruroides sculpturatus Ewing.

    PubMed

    Valdez-Cruz, Norma A; Dávila, Sonia; Licea, Alexei; Corona, Miguel; Zamudio, Fernando Z; García-Valdes, Jesús; Boyer, Leslie; Possani, Lourival D

    2004-06-01

    Current literature concerning the taxonomic names of two possibly distinct species of scorpions from the genus Centruroides (sculpturatus and/or exilicauda) is controversial. This communication reports the results of biochemical, genetic and electrophysiological experiments conducted with C. exilicauda Wood of Baja California (Mexico) and C. sculpturatus Ewing of Arizona (USA). The chromatographic profile fractionation of the soluble venom from both species of scorpions is different. The N-terminal amino acid sequence for nine toxins of C. exilicauda was determined and compared with those from C. sculpturatus. Lethality tests conducted in mice support the idea that C. exilicauda venom should be expected to be medically less important than C. sculpturatus. Thirteen genes from the venomous glands of the scorpion C. exilicauda were obtained and compared with previously published sequences from genes of the species C. sculpturatus. Genes coding for cytochrome oxidase I and II of both species were also sequenced. A phylogenetic tree was generated with this information showing important differences between them. Additionally, the results of electrophysiological assays conducted with the venom from both species on the Ca(2+)-dependent K(+)-channels, showed significant differences. These results strongly support the conclusion that C. exilicauda and C. sculpturatus are in fact two distinct species of scorpions.

  18. Insights into the Hypertensive Effects of Tityus serrulatus Scorpion Venom: Purification of an Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme-Like Peptidase

    PubMed Central

    Cajado-Carvalho, Daniela; Kuniyoshi, Alexandre Kazuo; Duzzi, Bruno; Iwai, Leo Kei; de Oliveira, Úrsula Castro; Junqueira de Azevedo, Inácio de Loiola Meirelles; Kodama, Roberto Tadashi; Portaro, Fernanda Vieira

    2016-01-01

    The number of cases of envenomation by scorpions has grown significantly in Brazil since 2007, with the most severe cases being caused by the Tityus serrulatus scorpion. Although envenomed patients mostly suffer neurotoxic manifestations, other symptoms, such as hypertension, cannot be exclusively attributed to neurotoxins. Omics analyses have detected plentiful amounts of metalloproteases in T. serrulatus venom. However, the roles played by these enzymes in envenomation are still unclear. Endeavoring to investigate the functions of scorpion venom proteases, we describe here for the first time an Angiotensin I-Converting Enzyme-like peptidase (ACE-like) purified from T. serrulatus venom. The crude venom cleaved natural and fluorescent substrates and these activities were inhibited by captopril. Regarding the serum neutralization, the scorpion antivenom was more effective at blocking the ACE-like activity than arachnid antivenom, although neither completely inhibited the venom cleavage action, even at higher doses. ACE-like was purified from the venom after three chromatographic steps and its identity was confirmed by mass spectrometric and transcriptomic analyses. Bioinformatics analysis showed homology between the ACE-like transcript sequences from Tityus spp. and human testis ACE. These findings advance our understanding of T. serrulatus venom components and may improve treatment of envenomation victims, as ACE-like may contribute to envenomation symptoms, especially the resulting hypertension. PMID:27886129

  19. Chlorotoxin: A Helpful Natural Scorpion Peptide to Diagnose Glioma and Fight Tumor Invasion

    PubMed Central

    Dardevet, Lucie; Rani, Dipti; Abd El Aziz, Tarek; Bazin, Ingrid; Sabatier, Jean-Marc; Fadl, Mahmoud; Brambilla, Elisabeth; De Waard, Michel

    2015-01-01

    Chlorotoxin is a small 36 amino-acid peptide identified from the venom of the scorpion Leiurus quinquestriatus. Initially, chlorotoxin was used as a pharmacological tool to characterize chloride channels. While studying glioma-specific chloride currents, it was soon discovered that chlorotoxin possesses targeting properties towards cancer cells including glioma, melanoma, small cell lung carcinoma, neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma. The investigation of the mechanism of action of chlorotoxin has been challenging because its cell surface receptor target remains under questioning since two other receptors have been claimed besides chloride channels. Efforts on chlorotoxin-based applications focused on producing analogues helpful for glioma diagnosis, imaging and treatment. These efforts are welcome since gliomas are very aggressive brain cancers, close to impossible to cure with the current therapeutic arsenal. Among all the chlorotoxin-based strategies, the most promising one to enhance patient mean survival time appears to be the use of chlorotoxin as a targeting agent for the delivery of anti-tumor agents. Finally, the discovery of chlorotoxin has led to the screening of other scorpion venoms to identify chlorotoxin-like peptides. So far several new candidates have been identified. Only detailed research and clinical investigations will tell us if they share the same anti-tumor potential as chlorotoxin. PMID:25826056

  20. Scorpion Toxins Specific for Potassium (K+) Channels: A Historical Overview of Peptide Bioengineering

    PubMed Central

    Bergeron, Zachary L.; Bingham, Jon-Paul

    2012-01-01

    Scorpion toxins have been central to the investigation and understanding of the physiological role of potassium (K+) channels and their expansive function in membrane biophysics. As highly specific probes, toxins have revealed a great deal about channel structure and the correlation between mutations, altered regulation and a number of human pathologies. Radio- and fluorescently-labeled toxin isoforms have contributed to localization studies of channel subtypes in expressing cells, and have been further used in competitive displacement assays for the identification of additional novel ligands for use in research and medicine. Chimeric toxins have been designed from multiple peptide scaffolds to probe channel isoform specificity, while advanced epitope chimerization has aided in the development of novel molecular therapeutics. Peptide backbone cyclization has been utilized to enhance therapeutic efficiency by augmenting serum stability and toxin half-life in vivo as a number of K+-channel isoforms have been identified with essential roles in disease states ranging from HIV, T-cell mediated autoimmune disease and hypertension to various cardiac arrhythmias and Malaria. Bioengineered scorpion toxins have been monumental to the evolution of channel science, and are now serving as templates for the development of invaluable experimental molecular therapeutics. PMID:23202307

  1. Neutralizing Effects of Mimosa tenuiflora Extracts against Inflammation Caused by Tityus serrulatus Scorpion Venom

    PubMed Central

    Bitencourt, Mariana Angélica Oliveira; Lima, Maira Conceição Jerônimo de Souza; Torres-Rêgo, Manoela; da Silva-Júnior, Arnóbio Antônio; Tambourgi, Denise Vilarinho; Zucolotto, Silvana Maria

    2014-01-01

    Scorpion bite represents a significant and serious public health problem in certain regions of Brazil, as well as in other parts of the world. Inflammatory mediators are thought to be involved in the systemic and local immune response induced by Tityus serrulatus scorpion envenomation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of extracts of Mimosa tenuiflora on model envenomation. In mice, the envenomation model is induced by Tityus serrulatus venom. Previous treatment of mice with fractions from M. tenuiflora was able to suppress the cell migration to the peritoneal cavity. The treatment of mice with M. tenuiflora extracts also decreased the levels of IL-6, IL-12, and IL-1β. We concluded that the administration of the extract and fractions resulted in a reduction in cell migration and showed a reduction in the level of proinflammatory cytokines. This study demonstrates, for the first time, the anti-inflammatory effect of aqueous extract from the Mimosa tenuiflora plant on T. serrulatus venom. PMID:25013776

  2. Transduction of the scorpion toxin maurocalcine into cells. Evidence that the toxin crosses the plasma membrane

    PubMed Central

    Estève, Eric; Mabrouk, Kamel; Dupuis, Alain; Smida-Rezgui, Sophia; Altafaj, Xavier; Grunwald, Didier; Platel, Jean-Claude; Andreotti, Nicolas; Marty, Isabelle; Sabatier, Jean-Marc; Ronjat, Michel; De Waard, Michel

    2005-01-01

    Maurocalcine (MCa) is a 33 amino acid residue peptide toxin isolated from the scorpion Scorpio maurus palmatus. External application of MCa to cultured myotubes is known to produce Ca2+ release from intracellular stores. MCa binds directly to the skeletal muscle isoform of the ryanodine receptor, an intracellular channel target of the endoplasmic reticulum, and induces long-lasting channel openings in a mode of smaller conductance. Here, we investigated the way MCa proceeds to cross biological membranes in order to reach its target. A biotinylated derivative of MCa was produced (MCab) and complexed with a fluorescent indicator (streptavidine-cyanine 3) in order to follow the cell penetration of the toxin. The toxin complex efficiently penetrated in various cell types without requiring metabolic energy (low temperature) or implicating an endocytosis mechanism. MCa appeared to share the same features as the so-called Cell-Penetrating Peptides (CPP). Our results provide evidence that MCa has the ability to act as a molecular carrier and to cross cell membranes in a rapid manner (1–2 min) making this toxin the first demonstrated example of a scorpion toxin that translocates into cells. PMID:15653689

  3. A 454 sequencing approach for large scale phylogenomic analysis of the common emperor scorpion (Pandinus imperator).

    PubMed

    Roeding, Falko; Borner, Janus; Kube, Michael; Klages, Sven; Reinhardt, Richard; Burmester, Thorsten

    2009-12-01

    In recent years, phylogenetic tree reconstructions that rely on multiple gene alignments that had been deduced from expressed sequence tags (ESTs) have become a popular method in molecular systematics. Here, we present a 454 pyrosequencing approach to infer the transcriptome of the Emperor scorpion Pandinus imperator. We obtained 428,844 high-quality reads (mean length=223+/-50 b) from total cDNA, which were assembled into 8334 contigs (mean length 422+/-313 bp) and 26,147 singletons. About 1200 contigs were successfully annotated by BLAST and orthology search. Specific analyses of eight distinct hemocyanin sequences provided further proof for the quality of the 454 reads and the assembly process. The P. imperator sequences were included in a concatenated alignment of 149 orthologous genes of 67 metazoan taxa that covers 39,842 amino acids. After removal of low-quality regions, 11,168 positions were employed for phylogenetic reconstructions. Using Bayesian and maximum likelihood methods, we obtained strongly supported monophyletic Ecdysozoa, Arthropoda (excluding Tardigrada), Euarthropoda, Pancrustacea and Hexapoda. We also recovered the Myriochelata (Chelicerata+Myriapoda). Within the chelicerates, Pycnogonida form the sister group of Euchelicerata. However, Arachnida were found paraphyletic because the Acari (mites and ticks) were recovered as sister group of a clade comprising Xiphosura, Scorpiones and Araneae. In summary, we have shown that 454 pyrosequencing is a cost-effective method that provides sufficient data and coverage depth for gene detection and multigene-based phylogenetic analyses.

  4. Variation in reproductive investment among and within populations of the scorpion Centruroides vittatus.

    PubMed

    Brown, Christopher A; Formanowicz, Daniel R

    1995-08-01

    Although information concerning variation among and within populations is essential to understanding an organism's life history, little is known of such variation in any species of scorpion. We show that reproductive investment by the scorpion Centruroides vittatus varied among three Texas populations during one reproductive season. Females from the Kickapoo population produced smaller offspring and larger litters than females from the Independence Creek or Decatur populations; this pattern remained when adjusting for among population variation in either female mass or total litter mass. Relative clutch mass (RCM) and within-litter variability in offspring mass (V*) did not differ among populations. Among-population variation may result from genetic differences or from phenotypically plastic responses to differing environments. Within populations, the interrelationships among reproductive variables were similar for Decatur and Independence Creek: females investing more in reproduction (measured by total litter mass, TLM) produced larger litters and larger offspring, and V* decreased with increased mean offspring mass (and with decreased litter size at Decatur). At Kickapoo, larger females produced larger litters and had larger TLM; females investing more in reproduction produced larger litters but not larger offspring. Within litter variability in offspring mass was not correlated with any reproductive variables in this latter population. These patterns may be explained by the fractional clutch hypothesis, the inability of females precisely to control investment among offspring or morphological constraints on reproduction.

  5. Toxic peptides and genes encoding toxin gamma of the Brazilian scorpions Tityus bahiensis and Tityus stigmurus.

    PubMed

    Becerril, B; Corona, M; Coronas, F I; Zamudio, F; Calderon-Aranda, E S; Fletcher, P L; Martin, B M; Possani, L D

    1996-02-01

    Seven toxic peptides from the venom of Tityus bahiensis and Tityus stigmurus was isolated and sequenced, five of them to completion. The most abundant peptide from each of these two species of scorpion was 95% identical with that of toxin gamma from the venom of Tityus serrulatus. They were consequently named gamma-b and gamma-st respectively. The genes encoding these new gamma-like peptides were cloned and sequenced by utilizing oligonucleotides synthesized according to known cDNA sequences of toxin gamma, and amplified by PCR on templates of DNA purified from both T. bahiensis and T. stigmurus. They contain an intron of approx. 470 bp. Possible mechanisms of processing and expressing these peptides are discussed, in view of the fact that glycine is the first residue of the N-terminal sequence of T. stigmurus, whereas lysine is the residue at position 1 of toxin gamma from T. serrulatus and T. bahiensis. In addition, chemical characterization of the less abundant toxic peptides showed the presence of at least four distinct families of peptides in all three species of the genus Tityus studied. There is a large degree of similarity among peptides from different venoms of the same family. By using specific horse and rabbit antisera, the venoms of T. bahiensis, T. serrulatus and T. stigmurus were compared. They showed an extended degree of cross-reactivity. Thus these three species of scorpion have similar toxic components, the genes of which are similarly organized, processed and expressed.

  6. Toxic peptides and genes encoding toxin gamma of the Brazilian scorpions Tityus bahiensis and Tityus stigmurus.

    PubMed Central

    Becerril, B; Corona, M; Coronas, F I; Zamudio, F; Calderon-Aranda, E S; Fletcher, P L; Martin, B M; Possani, L D

    1996-01-01

    Seven toxic peptides from the venom of Tityus bahiensis and Tityus stigmurus was isolated and sequenced, five of them to completion. The most abundant peptide from each of these two species of scorpion was 95% identical with that of toxin gamma from the venom of Tityus serrulatus. They were consequently named gamma-b and gamma-st respectively. The genes encoding these new gamma-like peptides were cloned and sequenced by utilizing oligonucleotides synthesized according to known cDNA sequences of toxin gamma, and amplified by PCR on templates of DNA purified from both T. bahiensis and T. stigmurus. They contain an intron of approx. 470 bp. Possible mechanisms of processing and expressing these peptides are discussed, in view of the fact that glycine is the first residue of the N-terminal sequence of T. stigmurus, whereas lysine is the residue at position 1 of toxin gamma from T. serrulatus and T. bahiensis. In addition, chemical characterization of the less abundant toxic peptides showed the presence of at least four distinct families of peptides in all three species of the genus Tityus studied. There is a large degree of similarity among peptides from different venoms of the same family. By using specific horse and rabbit antisera, the venoms of T. bahiensis, T. serrulatus and T. stigmurus were compared. They showed an extended degree of cross-reactivity. Thus these three species of scorpion have similar toxic components, the genes of which are similarly organized, processed and expressed. PMID:8611151

  7. β-Scorpion Toxin Modifies Gating Transitions in All Four Voltage Sensors of the Sodium Channel

    PubMed Central

    Campos, Fabiana V.; Chanda, Baron; Beirão, Paulo S.L.; Bezanilla, Francisco

    2007-01-01

    Several naturally occurring polypeptide neurotoxins target specific sites on the voltage-gated sodium channels. Of these, the gating modifier toxins alter the behavior of the sodium channels by stabilizing transient intermediate states in the channel gating pathway. Here we have used an integrated approach that combines electrophysiological and spectroscopic measurements to determine the structural rearrangements modified by the β-scorpion toxin Ts1. Our data indicate that toxin binding to the channel is restricted to a single binding site on domain II voltage sensor. Analysis of Cole-Moore shifts suggests that the number of closed states in the activation sequence prior to channel opening is reduced in the presence of toxin. Measurements of charge–voltage relationships show that a fraction of the gating charge is immobilized in Ts1-modified channels. Interestingly, the charge–voltage relationship also shows an additional component at hyperpolarized potentials. Site-specific fluorescence measurements indicate that in presence of the toxin the voltage sensor of domain II remains trapped in the activated state. Furthermore, the binding of the toxin potentiates the activation of the other three voltage sensors of the sodium channel to more hyperpolarized potentials. These findings reveal how the binding of β-scorpion toxin modifies channel function and provides insight into early gating transitions of sodium channels. PMID:17698594

  8. Expression of functional recombinant scorpion beta-neurotoxin Css II in E. coli.

    PubMed

    Johnson, T M; Quick, M W; Sakai, T T; Krishna, N R

    2000-06-01

    The gene for a beta-neurotoxin [Centruroides suffusus suffusus toxin II (Css II)] from the scorpion C. suffusus suffusus was synthesized by recursive PCR and cloned into the expression vector, pET15b. This recombinant vector was transformed into a thioredoxin mutant host bacterial cell, AD 494(DE3)pLysS, and expression was induced with isopropyl thiogalactoside (IPTG). Although the level of expression was low, the recombinant toxin was found only in the soluble fraction with no evidence for the formation of inclusion bodies as had been observed previously with other scorpion toxins. The recombinant Css II was purified by successive ion-exchange and hydrophobic interaction chromatography. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and circular dichroism (CD) spectral measurements indicate that the protein has a native structure with no indication of denatured species. The recombinant neurotoxin inhibits the uptake of [(3)H]GABA [gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)] in neuronal cells as effectively as natural beta-toxins.

  9. Chelicerae as male grasping organs in scorpions: sexual dimorphism and associated behaviour.

    PubMed

    Carrera, Patricia C; Mattoni, Camilo I; Peretti, Alfredo V

    2009-01-01

    Specialised structures that enable males to grasp females during sexual interactions are highly susceptible to selection and thus diverge relatively rapidly over evolutionary time. These structures are often used to test hypotheses regarding sexual selection such as sexually antagonistic co-evolution and sexual selection by female choice. In the present study, we determine whether there is a relationship between a novel record of scorpion sexual dimorphism, the sexual dimorphism of chelicerae (CSD), and the presence of the mating behaviour termed "cheliceral grip" (CG). The presence of both traits in the order Scorpiones is also reviewed from a phylogenetic perspective. The results confirm a strong relationship between CSD and the presence of CG. The morphological and behavioural patterns associated with "CSD-CG" are opposed to the predictions postulated by the hypothesis of sexually antagonistic co-evolution. However, if the female shows resistance after the deposition of the spermatophore, the possibility that the male exerts pressure as a "cryptic form" of coercion to prevent the interruption of mating cannot be ruled out completely. Female choice by "mechanical fit" could be another explanation for some aspects of the CG's contact zone. The possibility that the "CG-CSD" complex has evolved under natural selection in order to ensure sperm transfer is also considered.

  10. Microwhip Scorpions (Palpigradi) Feed on Heterotrophic Cyanobacteria in Slovak Caves – A Curiosity among Arachnida

    PubMed Central

    Smrž, Jaroslav; Kováč, Ĺubomír; Mikeš, Jaromír; Lukešová, Alena

    2013-01-01

    To date, only morphological and anatomical descriptions of microwhip scorpions (Arachnida: Palpigradi) have been published. This very rare group is enigmatic not only in its relationships to other arachnids, but especially due to the fact that these animals dwell only underground (in caves, soil, and interstitial spaces). We observed the curious feeding habit of the microwhip scorpion Eukoenenia spelaea over the course of one year in Ardovská Cave, located in Slovakia's Karst region. We chose histology as our methodology in studying 17 specimens and based it upon Masson's triple staining, fluorescent light and confocal microscopy. Single-celled cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) were conspicuously predominant in the gut of all studied palpigrades. Digestibility of the consumed cyanobacteria was supported by the presence of guanine crystals, glycogen deposits and haemocytes inside the palpigrade body. Cyanobacteria, the oldest cellular organisms on Earth, are very resistant to severe conditions in caves, including even darkness. Therefore, the cyanobacteria are able to survive in dark caves as nearly heterotrophic organisms and are consumed by cave palpigrades. Such feeding habit is extraordinary within the almost wholly predacious orders of the class Arachnida, and particularly so due to the type of food observed. PMID:24146804

  11. The Scorpion An ideal animal model to study long-term microgravity effects on circadian rhythms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Riewe, Pascal C.; Horn, Eberhard R.

    2000-01-01

    The temporal pattern of light and darkness is basic for the coordination of circadian rhythms and establishment of homoeostasis. The 24th frequency of zeitgebers is probably a function of the Earth's rotation. The only way to eliminate its influence on organisms is to study their behavior in space because the reduced day length during orbiting the Earth might disrupt synchronizing mechanisms based on the 24th rhythm. The stability of microgravity induced disturbances of synchronization as well as the extent of adaptation of different physiological processes to this novel environment can only be studied during long-term exposures to microgravity, i.e., on the International Space Station. Biological studies within the long-term domain on ISS demand the use of experimental models which can be exposed to automatic handling of measurements and which need less or no nutritional care. Scorpions offer these features. We describe a fully automatic recording device for the simultaneous collection of data regarding the sensorimotor system and homoeostatic mechanisms. In particular, we record sensitivity changes of the eyes, motor activity and heart beat and/or respiratory activity. The advantage of the scorpion model is supported by the fact that data can be recorded preflight, inflight and postflight from the same animal. With this animal model, basic insights will be obtained about the de-coupling of circadian rhythms of multiple oscillators and their adaptation to the entraining zeitgeber periodicity during exposure to microgravity for at least three biological parameters recorded simultaneously. .

  12. Microwhip scorpions (Palpigradi) feed on heterotrophic cyanobacteria in Slovak caves--a curiosity among Arachnida.

    PubMed

    Smrž, Jaroslav; Kováč, Ĺubomír; Mikeš, Jaromír; Lukešová, Alena

    2013-01-01

    To date, only morphological and anatomical descriptions of microwhip scorpions (Arachnida: Palpigradi) have been published. This very rare group is enigmatic not only in its relationships to other arachnids, but especially due to the fact that these animals dwell only underground (in caves, soil, and interstitial spaces). We observed the curious feeding habit of the microwhip scorpion Eukoenenia spelaea over the course of one year in Ardovská Cave, located in Slovakia's Karst region. We chose histology as our methodology in studying 17 specimens and based it upon Masson's triple staining, fluorescent light and confocal microscopy. Single-celled cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) were conspicuously predominant in the gut of all studied palpigrades. Digestibility of the consumed cyanobacteria was supported by the presence of guanine crystals, glycogen deposits and haemocytes inside the palpigrade body. Cyanobacteria, the oldest cellular organisms on Earth, are very resistant to severe conditions in caves, including even darkness. Therefore, the cyanobacteria are able to survive in dark caves as nearly heterotrophic organisms and are consumed by cave palpigrades. Such feeding habit is extraordinary within the almost wholly predacious orders of the class Arachnida, and particularly so due to the type of food observed.

  13. Resistance of cervical adenocarcinoma cells (HeLa) to venom from the scorpion Centruroides limpidus limpidus

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background The venom of Centruroides limpidus limpidus (Cll) is a mixture of pharmacologically active principles. The most important of these are toxic proteins that interact both selectively and specifically with different cellular targets such as ion channels. Recently, anticancer properties of the venom from other scorpion species have been described. Studies in vitro have shown that scorpion venom induces cell death, inhibits proliferation and triggers the apoptotic pathway in different cancer cell lines. Herein, after treating human cervical adenocarcinoma (HeLa) cells with Cll crude venom, their cytotoxic activity and apoptosis induction were assessed. Results Cll crude venom induced cell death in normal macrophages in a dose-dependent manner. However, through viability assays, HeLa cells showed high survival rates after exposure to Cll venom. Also, Cll venom did not induce apoptosis after performing ethidium bromide/acridine orange assays, nor was there any evidence of chromatin condensation or DNA fragmentation. Conclusions Crude Cll venom exposure was not detrimental to HeLa cell cultures. This may be partially attributable to the absence of specific HeLa cell membrane targets for molecules present in the venom of Centruroides limpidus limpidus. Although these results might discourage additional studies exploring the potential of Cll venom to treat human papilloma cervical cancer, further research is required to explore positive effects of crude Cll venom on other cancer cell lines. PMID:24004568

  14. Differences in venom toxicity and antigenicity between females and males Tityus nororientalis (Buthidae) scorpions

    PubMed Central

    De Sousa, Leonardo; Borges, Adolfo; Vásquez-Suárez, Aleikar; Op den Camp, Huub JM; Chadee-Burgos, Rosa I; Romero-Bellorín, Mirna; Espinoza, Jorge; De Sousa-Insana, Leonardo; Pino-García, Oscar

    2010-01-01

    Venom from male and female specimens of the medically important Venezuelan scorpion Tityus nororientalis have been compared. Males showed a significantly higher venom yield (2.39mg/individual) compared to female scorpions (0.98mg/individual). Female venom was significantly more toxic than that of males, with a median lethal dose (LD50) in C57BL/6 mice of 9.46 μg venom protein/gm body weight [95% confidence interval (8.91-9.94)] whereas LD50 for males was 13.36(12.58-14.03) μg/gm. Mass spectral analyses by MALDI-TOF revealed differences in venom composition between males and females. From a clinical standpoint, the time course of toxicity course indicated a tendency, in the case of the female venom, to elicit the earlier occurrence of severe signs such as sialorrhea, dyspnea (bradypnea/apnea) and exophthalmus particularly in the late toxicity phase. Female venom was significantly less efficient than male venom to inhibit the binding of anti-T. discrepans antibodies to immobilized T. discrepans venom in ELISA assays, suggesting sex-related differences in the bioactive surfaces of T. nororientalis toxins. These results indicate that males and females of T. nororientalis produce venoms with different composition and activity which may have epidemiological implications. PMID:21544184

  15. Genomic data reveal ancient microendemism in forest scorpions across the California Floristic Province.

    PubMed

    Bryson, Robert W; Savary, Warren E; Zellmer, Amanda J; Bury, R Bruce; McCormack, John E

    2016-08-01

    The California Floristic Province (CFP) in western North America is a globally significant biodiversity hotspot. Elucidating patterns of endemism and the historical drivers of this diversity has been an important challenge of comparative phylogeography for over two decades. We generated phylogenomic data using ddRADseq to examine genetic structure in Uroctonus forest scorpions, an ecologically restricted and dispersal-limited organism widely distributed across the CFP north to the Columbia River. We coupled our genetic data with species distribution models (SDMs) to determine climatically suitable areas for Uroctonus both now and during the Last Glacial Maximum. Based on our analyses, Uroctonus is composed of two major genetic groups that likely diverged over 2 million years ago. Each of these groups itself contains numerous genetic groups that reveal a pattern of vicariance and microendemism across the CFP. Migration rates among these populations are low. SDMs suggest forest scorpion habitat has remained relatively stable over the last 21 000 years, consistent with the genetic data. Our results suggest tectonic plate rafting, mountain uplift, river drainage formation and climate-induced habitat fragmentation have all likely played a role in the diversification of Uroctonus. The intricate pattern of genetic fragmentation revealed across a temporal continuum highlights the potential of low-dispersing species to shed light on small-scale patterns of biodiversity and the underlying processes that have generated this diversity in biodiversity hotspots.

  16. In vitro anticancer effect of venom from Cuban scorpion Rhopalurus junceus against a panel of human cancer cell lines

    PubMed Central

    Díaz-García, Alexis; Morier-Díaz, Luis; Frión-Herrera, Yahima; Rodríguez-Sánchez, Hermis; Caballero-Lorenzo, Yamira; Mendoza-Llanes, Dianeya; Riquenes-Garlobo, Yanelis; Fraga-Castro, José A

    2013-01-01

    In Cuba the endemic species of scorpion Rhopalurus junceus has been used in traditional medicine for cancer treatment. However, there is little scientific evidence about its potential in cancer therapy. The effect of a range of scorpion venom concentrations (0.1, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75 and 1mg/ml) against a panel of human tumor cell lines from epithelial (Hela, SiHa, Hep-2, NCI-H292, A549, MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-468, HT-29), hematopoietic origins (U937, K562, Raji) and normal cells (MRC-5, MDCK, Vero) was determined by the MTT assay. Additionally, the effect of venom on tumor cell death was assayed by Fluorescence microscopy, RT-PCR and western blot. Only the epithelial cancer cells showed significant cell viability reduction, with medium cytotoxic concentration (IC50) ranging from 0.6-1mg/ml, in a concentration-dependent manner. There was no effect on either normal or hematopoietic tumor cells. Scorpion venom demonstrated to induce apoptosis in less sensitive tumor cells (Hela) as evidenced by chromatin condensation, over expression of p53 and bax mRNA, down expression of bcl-2 mRNA and increase of activated caspases 3, 8, 9. In most sensitive tumor cells (A549), scorpion venom induced necrosis evidenced by acridine orange/ethidium bromide fluorescent dyes and down-expression of apoptosis-related genes. We concluded the scorpion venom from R. junceus possessed a selective and differential toxicity against epithelial cancer cells. This is the first report related to biological effect of R. junceus venom against a panel of tumor cells lines. All these results make R. junceus venom as a promise natural product for cancer treatment. PMID:23946884

  17. As Old as the Hills: Montane Scorpions in Southwestern North America Reveal Ancient Associations between Biotic Diversification and Landscape History

    PubMed Central

    Bryson, Robert W.; Riddle, Brett R.; Graham, Matthew R.; Smith, Brian Tilston; Prendini, Lorenzo

    2013-01-01

    Background The age of lineages has become a fundamental datum in studies exploring the interaction between geological transformation and biotic diversification. However, phylogeographical studies are often biased towards lineages that are younger than the geological features of the landscapes they inhabit. A temporally deeper historical biogeography framework may be required to address episodes of biotic diversification associated with geologically older landscape changes. Signatures of such associations may be retained in the genomes of ecologically specialized (stenotopic) taxa with limited vagility. In the study presented here, genetic data from montane scorpions in the Vaejovis vorhiesi group, restricted to humid rocky habitats in mountains across southwestern North America, were used to explore the relationship between scorpion diversification and regional geological history. Results Strong phylogeographical signal was evident within the vorhiesi group, with 27 geographically cohesive lineages inferred from a mitochondrial phylogeny. A time-calibrated multilocus species tree revealed a pattern of Miocene and Pliocene (the Neogene period) lineage diversification. An estimated 21 out of 26 cladogenetic events probably occurred prior to the onset of the Pleistocene, 2.6 million years ago. The best-fit density-dependent model suggested diversification rate in the vorhiesi group gradually decreased through time. Conclusions Scorpions of the vorhiesi group have had a long history in the highlands of southwestern North America. Diversification among these stenotopic scorpions appears to have occurred almost entirely within the Neogene period, and is temporally consistent with the dynamic geological history of the Basin and Range, and Colorado Plateau physiographical provinces. The persistence of separate lineages at small spatial scales suggests that a combination of ecological stenotopy and limited vagility may make these scorpions particularly valuable indicators

  18. A HindIII BAC library construction of Mesobuthus martensii Karsch (Scorpiones:Buthidae): an important genetic resource for comparative genomics and phylogenetic analysis.

    PubMed

    Li, Songryong; Ma, Yibao; Jang, Shenghun; Wu, Yingliang; Liu, Hui; Cao, Zhijian; Li, Wenxin

    2009-12-01

    Scorpions are "living but sophisticated fossils" that have changed little in their morphology since their first appearance over the past 450 million years ago. To provide a genetic resource for understanding the evolution of scorpion genome and the relationships between scorpions and other organisms, we first determined the genome size of the scorpion Mesobuthus martensii Karsch (about 600 Mbp) in the order Scorpiones and constructed a HindIII BAC library of the male scorpion M. martensii Karsch from China. The BAC library consists of a total of 46,080 clones with an average insert size of 100 kb, providing a 7.7-fold coverage of the scorpion haploid genome size of 600 Mbp as revealed in this study. High-density colony hybridization-based library screening was performed using 18S-5.8S-28S rRNA gene that is one of the most commonly used phylogenetic markers. Both library screening and PCR identification results revealed six positive BAC clones which were overlapped, and formed a contig of approximately 120 kb covering the rDNA. BAC DNA sequencing analysis determined the complete sequence of M. martensii Karsch rDNA unit that has a total length of 8779 bp, including 1813 bp 18s rDNA, 157 bp 5.8s rDNA, 3823 bp 28s rDNA, 530 bp ETS, 2168 bp ITS1 and 288 bp ITS2. Interestingly, some tandem repeats are present in the rRNA intergenic sequence (IGS) and ITS1/2 regions. These results demonstrated that the BAC library of the scorpion M. martensii Karsch and the complete sequence of rDNA unit will provide important genetic resources and tools for comparative genomics and phylogenetic analysis.

  19. Understanding African American Males

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bell, Edward Earl

    2010-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to assess the socialization skills, self-esteem, and academic readiness of African American males in a school environment. Discussions with students and the School Perceptions Questionnaire provided data for this investigation. The intended targets for this investigation were African American students; however, there…

  20. Africans Away from Home.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clarke, John Henrik

    Africans who were brought across the Atlantic as slaves never fully adjusted to slavery or accepted its inevitability. Resistance began on board the slave ships, where many jumped overboard or committed suicide. African slaves in South America led the first revolts against tyranny in the New World. The first slave revolt in the Caribbean occurred…

  1. Educating African American Males

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bell, Edward E.

    2010-01-01

    Background: Schools across America spend money, invest in programs, and sponsor workshops, offer teacher incentives, raise accountability standards, and even evoke the name of Obama in efforts to raise the academic achievement of African American males. Incarceration and college retention rates point to a dismal plight for many African American…

  2. 16 Extraordinary African Americans.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lobb, Nancy

    This collection for children tells the stories of 16 African Americans who helped make America what it is today. African Americans can take pride in the heritage of these contributors to society. Biographies are given for the following: (1) Sojourner Truth, preacher and abolitionist; (2) Frederick Douglass, abolitionist; (3) Harriet Tubman, leader…

  3. Keeping African Masks Real

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Waddington, Susan

    2012-01-01

    Art is a good place to learn about our multicultural planet, and African masks are prized throughout the world as powerfully expressive artistic images. Unfortunately, multicultural education, especially for young children, can perpetuate stereotypes. Masks taken out of context lose their meaning and the term "African masks" suggests that there is…

  4. Neotropical Africanized honey bees have African mitochondrial DNA.

    PubMed

    Smith, D R; Taylor, O R; Brown, W M

    1989-05-18

    Non-indigenous African honey bees have invaded most of South and Central America in just over 30 years. The genetic composition of this population and the means by which it rapidly colonizes new territory remain controversial. In particular, it has been unclear whether this 'Africanized' population has resulted from interbreeding between African and domestic European bees, or is an essentially pure African population. Also, it has not been known whether this population expanded primarily by female or by male migration. Restriction site mapping of 62 mitochondrial DNAs of African bees from Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico reveals that 97% were of African (Apis mellifera scutellata) type. Although neotropical European apiary populations are rapidly Africanized by mating with neotropical African males, there is little reciprocal gene flow to the neotropical African population through European females. These are the first genetic data to indicate that the neotropical African population could be expanding its range by female migration.

  5. Parameters affecting in vitro oxidation/folding of maurotoxin, a four-disulphide-bridged scorpion toxin.

    PubMed Central

    di Luccio, E; Azulay, D O; Regaya, I; Fajloun, Z; Sandoz, G; Mansuelle, P; Kharrat, R; Fathallah, M; Carrega, L; Estève, E; Rochat, H; De Waard, M; Sabatier, J M

    2001-01-01

    Maurotoxin (MTX) is a 34-mer scorpion toxin cross-linked by four disulphide bridges that acts on various K(+) channel subtypes. MTX adopts a disulphide bridge organization of the type C1-C5, C2-C6, C3-C4 and C7-C8, and folds according to the common alpha/beta scaffold reported for other known scorpion toxins. Here we have investigated the process and kinetics of the in vitro oxidation/folding of reduced synthetic L-MTX (L-sMTX, where L-MTX contains only L-amino acid residues). During the oxidation/folding of reduced L-sMTX, the oxidation intermediates were blocked by iodoacetamide alkylation of free cysteine residues, and analysed by MS. The L-sMTX intermediates appeared sequentially over time from the least (intermediates with one disulphide bridge) to the most oxidized species (native-like, four-disulphide-bridged L-sMTX). The mathematical formulation of the diffusion-collision model being inadequate to accurately describe the kinetics of oxidation/folding of L-sMTX, we have formulated a derived mathematical description that better fits the experimental data. Using this mathematical description, we have compared for the first time the oxidation/folding of L-sMTX with that of D-sMTX, its stereoisomer that contains only D-amino acid residues. Several experimental parameters, likely to affect the oxidation/folding process, were studied further; these included temperature, pH, ionic strength, redox potential and concentration of reduced toxin. We also assessed the effects of some cellular enzymes, peptidylprolyl cis-trans isomerase (PPIase) and protein disulphide isomerase (PDI), on the folding pathways of reduced L-sMTX and D-sMTX. All the parameters tested affect the oxidative folding of sMTX, and the kinetics of this process were indistinguishable for L-sMTX and D-sMTX, except when stereospecific enzymes were used. The most efficient conditions were found to be: 50 mM Tris/HCl/1.4 mM EDTA, pH 7.5, supplemented by 0.5 mM PPIase and 50 units/ml PDI for 0.1 m

  6. Partial Agonist and Antagonist Activities of a Mutant Scorpion β-Toxin on Sodium Channels*

    PubMed Central

    Karbat, Izhar; Ilan, Nitza; Zhang, Joel Z.; Cohen, Lior; Kahn, Roy; Benveniste, Morris; Scheuer, Todd; Catterall, William A.; Gordon, Dalia; Gurevitz, Michael

    2010-01-01

    Scorpion β-toxin 4 from Centruroides suffusus suffusus (Css4) enhances the activation of voltage-gated sodium channels through a voltage sensor trapping mechanism by binding the activated state of the voltage sensor in domain II and stabilizing it in its activated conformation. Here we describe the antagonist and partial agonist properties of a mutant derivative of this toxin. Substitution of seven different amino acid residues for Glu15 in Css4 yielded toxin derivatives with both increased and decreased affinities for binding to neurotoxin receptor site 4 on sodium channels. Css4E15R is unique among this set of mutants in that it retained nearly normal binding affinity but lost its functional activity for modification of sodium channel gating in our standard electrophysiological assay for voltage sensor trapping. More detailed analysis of the functional effects of Css4E15R revealed weak voltage sensor trapping activity, which was very rapidly reversed upon repolarization and therefore was not observed in our standard assay of toxin effects. This partial agonist activity of Css4E15R is observed clearly in voltage sensor trapping assays with brief (5 ms) repolarization between the conditioning prepulse and the test pulse. The effects of Css4E15R are fit well by a three-step model of toxin action involving concentration-dependent toxin binding to its receptor site followed by depolarization-dependent activation of the voltage sensor and subsequent voltage sensor trapping. Because it is a partial agonist with much reduced efficacy for voltage sensor trapping, Css4E15R can antagonize the effects of wild-type Css4 on sodium channel activation and can prevent paralysis by Css4 when injected into mice. Our results define the first partial agonist and antagonist activities for scorpion toxins and open new avenues of research toward better understanding of the structure-function relationships for toxin action on sodium channel voltage sensors and toward potential toxin

  7. Partial agonist and antagonist activities of a mutant scorpion beta-toxin on sodium channels.

    PubMed

    Karbat, Izhar; Ilan, Nitza; Zhang, Joel Z; Cohen, Lior; Kahn, Roy; Benveniste, Morris; Scheuer, Todd; Catterall, William A; Gordon, Dalia; Gurevitz, Michael

    2010-10-01

    Scorpion β-toxin 4 from Centruroides suffusus suffusus (Css4) enhances the activation of voltage-gated sodium channels through a voltage sensor trapping mechanism by binding the activated state of the voltage sensor in domain II and stabilizing it in its activated conformation. Here we describe the antagonist and partial agonist properties of a mutant derivative of this toxin. Substitution of seven different amino acid residues for Glu(15) in Css4 yielded toxin derivatives with both increased and decreased affinities for binding to neurotoxin receptor site 4 on sodium channels. Css4(E15R) is unique among this set of mutants in that it retained nearly normal binding affinity but lost its functional activity for modification of sodium channel gating in our standard electrophysiological assay for voltage sensor trapping. More detailed analysis of the functional effects of Css4(E15R) revealed weak voltage sensor trapping activity, which was very rapidly reversed upon repolarization and therefore was not observed in our standard assay of toxin effects. This partial agonist activity of Css4(E15R) is observed clearly in voltage sensor trapping assays with brief (5 ms) repolarization between the conditioning prepulse and the test pulse. The effects of Css4(E15R) are fit well by a three-step model of toxin action involving concentration-dependent toxin binding to its receptor site followed by depolarization-dependent activation of the voltage sensor and subsequent voltage sensor trapping. Because it is a partial agonist with much reduced efficacy for voltage sensor trapping, Css4(E15R) can antagonize the effects of wild-type Css4 on sodium channel activation and can prevent paralysis by Css4 when injected into mice. Our results define the first partial agonist and antagonist activities for scorpion toxins and open new avenues of research toward better understanding of the structure-function relationships for toxin action on sodium channel voltage sensors and toward

  8. A toxin to nervous, cardiac, and endocrine ERG K+ channels isolated from Centruroides noxius scorpion venom.

    PubMed

    Gurrola, G B; Rosati, B; Rocchetti, M; Pimienta, G; Zaza, A; Arcangeli, A; Olivotto, M; Possani, L D; Wanke, E

    1999-05-01

    Toxins isolated from a variety of venoms are tools for probing the physiological function and structure of ion channels. The ether-a-go-go-related genes (erg) codify for the K+ channels (ERG), which are crucial in neurons and are impaired in human long-QT syndrome and Drosophila 'seizure' mutants. We have isolated a peptide from the scorpion Centruroides noxius Hoffmann that has no sequence homologies with other toxins, and demonstrate that it specifically inhibits (IC50=16+/-1 nM) only ERG channels of different species and distinct histogenesis. These results open up the possibility of investigating ERG channel structure-function relationships and novel pharmacological tools with potential therapeutic efficacy.

  9. Photoaffinity labeling of alpha- and beta- scorpion toxin receptors associated with rat brain sodium channel.

    PubMed

    Darbon, H; Jover, E; Couraud, F; Rochat, H

    1983-09-15

    Azido nitrophenylaminoacetyl [125I]iodo derivative of toxin II from Centruroides suffusus suffusus, a beta-toxin, and azido nitrophenylaminoacetyl [125I]iodo derivative of toxin V from Leiurus quinquestriatus quinquestriatus, an alpha-toxin, have been covalently linked after binding to their receptor sites that are related to the voltage sensitive sodium channel present in rat brain synaptosomes. Both derivatives labeled two polypeptides of 253000 +/- 20000 and 35000 +/- 2000 mol. wt. Labeling was blocked for each derivative by a large excess of the corresponding native toxin but no cross inhibition was obtained. These results suggest that both alpha - and beta - scorpion toxin receptors are located on or near the same two membrane polypeptides which may be part of the voltage dependent sodium channel.

  10. Bugs as drugs, part two: worms, leeches, scorpions, snails, ticks, centipedes, and spiders.

    PubMed

    Cherniack, E Paul

    2011-03-01

    In this second of a two-part series analyzing the evidence for the use of organisms as medicine, the use of a number of different "bugs" (worms, leeches, snails, ticks, centipedes, and spiders) is detailed. Several live organisms are used as treatments: leeches for plastic surgery and osteoarthritis and the helminths Trichuris suis and Necator americanus for inflammatory bowel disease. Leech saliva is the source of a number of anticoagulants, including the antithrombin agent hirudin and its synthetic analogues, which have been approved for human use. Predatory arthropods, such as certain species of snails, spiders, scorpions, centipedes, and ticks provide a trove of potential analgesic peptides in their venom. A synthetic analogue of a snail venom peptide, ziconotide, has been approved for human use and is used as an alternative to opioids in severe pain cases. Arthropods, such as ticks, have venom that contains anticoagulants and centipede venom has a protein that corrects abnormalities in lipid metabolism.

  11. New products of defense secretion in south east Asian whip scorpions (Arachnida: Uropygi: Thelyphonida).

    PubMed

    Haupt, Joachim; Müller, Frank

    2004-01-01

    Secretion products from the opisthosomal defense gland of south east Asian whip scorpions were identified for the first time by gas-chromatography and mass-spectrometry. Specimens of the genera Hypoctonus, Typopeltis and Ginosigma were tested. While some ingredients are present in large concentrations, others are possibly only side products and may be synthesized more incidentally. For this reason no important functional role is attributed to them. There are considerable individual differences concerning the concentrations of various ingredients. While the secretion products of most species of the genus Typopeltis--similar to Mastigoproctus--are characterized by acetic and octanoic acid in large concentrations, the secretion product of Hypoctonus siamensis provides octanoic acid only in a very low concentration but it is characterized by hexyl acetate.

  12. African American Suicide

    MedlinePlus

    ... accounted for 83.8% of Caucasian elderly suicides. • Firearms were the predominant method of suicide among African ... per 100,000 annually. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Vital Statistics System. Mortality Data. ...

  13. Obesity and African Americans

    MedlinePlus

    ... and Management System Report to Congress Knowledge Center Capacity Building Information Services Events Calendar Resource Guide Justice ... Workforce Diversity Grants Youth Program Grants Other Grants Planning and Evaluation Grantee Best Practices Black/African American ...

  14. Bothriurus bonariensis scorpion venom activates voltage-dependent sodium channels in insect and mammalian nervous systems.

    PubMed

    Dos Santos, Douglas Silva; Carvalho, Evelise Leis; de Lima, Jeferson Camargo; Breda, Ricardo Vaz; Oliveira, Raquel Soares; de Freitas, Thiago Carrazoni; Salamoni, Simone Denise; Domingues, Michelle Flores; Piovesan, Angela Regina; Boldo, Juliano Tomazzoni; de Assis, Dênis Reis; da Costa, Jaderson Costa; Dal Belo, Cháriston André; Pinto, Paulo Marcos

    2016-10-25

    Animal venoms have been widely recognized as a major source of biologically active molecules. Bothriurus bonariensis, popularly known as black scorpion, is the arthropod responsible for the highest number of accidents involving scorpion sting in Southern Brazil. Here we reported the first attempt to investigate the neurobiology of B. bonariensis venom (BBV) in the insect and mammalian nervous system. BBV (32 μg/g) induced a slow neuromuscular blockade in the in vivo cockroach nerve-muscle preparations (70 ± 4%, n = 6, p < 0.001), provoking repetitive twitches and significantly decreasing the frequency of spontaneous leg action potentials (SNCAPs) from 82 ± 3 min(-1) to 36 ± 1.3 min(-1) (n = 6, p < 0.05), without affecting the amplitude. When tested in primary cultures of rat hippocampal cells, BBV induced a massive increase of Ca(2+) influx (250 ± 1% peak increase, n = 3, p < 0.0001). The disturbance of calcium homeostasis induced by BBV on the mammalian central nervous system was not accompanied by cellular death and was prevented by the co-treatment of the hippocampal cells with tetrodotoxin, a selective sodium channel blocker. The results suggest that the biological activity of BBV is mostly related to a modulation of sodium channels function. Our biological activity survey suggests that BBV may have a promising insecticidal and therapeutic potential.

  15. Active Sites of Spinoxin, a Potassium Channel Scorpion Toxin, Elucidated by Systematic Alanine Scanning.

    PubMed

    Peigneur, Steve; Yamaguchi, Yoko; Kawano, Chihiro; Nose, Takeru; Nirthanan, Selvanayagam; Gopalakrishnakone, Ponnampalam; Tytgat, Jan; Sato, Kazuki

    2016-05-31

    Peptide toxins from scorpion venoms constitute the largest group of toxins that target the voltage-gated potassium channel (Kv). Spinoxin (SPX) isolated from the venom of scorpion Heterometrus spinifer is a 34-residue peptide neurotoxin cross-linked by four disulfide bridges. SPX is a potent inhibitor of Kv1.3 potassium channels (IC50 = 63 nM), which are considered to be valid molecular targets in the diagnostics and therapy of various autoimmune disorders and cancers. Here we synthesized 25 analogues of SPX and analyzed the role of each amino acid in SPX using alanine scanning to study its structure-function relationships. All synthetic analogues showed similar disulfide bond pairings and secondary structures as native SPX. Alanine replacements at Lys(23), Asn(26), and Lys(30) resulted in loss of activity against Kv1.3 potassium channels, whereas replacements at Arg(7), Met(14), Lys(27), and Tyr(32) also largely reduced inhibitory activity. These results suggest that the side chains of these amino acids in SPX play an important role in its interaction with Kv1.3 channels. In particular, Lys(23) appears to be a key residue that underpins Kv1.3 channel inhibition. Of these seven amino acid residues, four are basic amino acids, suggesting that the positive electrostatic potential on the surface of SPX is likely required for high affinity interaction with Kv1.3 channels. This study provides insight into the structure-function relationships of SPX with implications for the rational design of new lead compounds targeting potassium channels with high potency.

  16. An overview of platelet indices for evaluating platelet function in children with scorpion envenomation

    PubMed Central

    Konca, Capan; Tekin, Mehmet; Colak, Pinar; Uckardes, Fatih; Turgut, Mehmet

    2014-01-01

    The aim of this study was to assess the correlation between platelet indices and scorpion envenomations (SE). Medical records of 76 children who were hospitalised for scorpion stings in the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) between February 2013 and November 2013, and 55 healthy children who were similar to the patient group in terms of age and sex, were analysed retrospectively. The leucocyte (WBC), thrombocyte (PLT), plateletcrit (PCT), platelet distribution width (PDW) and mean platelet volume (MPV) values of the 76 children with SE were recorded. These values were compared with the healthy control group. Significantly higher WBC and PDW values were noted in patients with SE in comparison to the controls. Patients with SE had significantly lower mean MPV values compared to the healthy controls (9.03 ± 1.26 compared to 10.43 ± 1.44 fL, respectively; p < 0.001). Although the mean platelet count was slightly elevated in the SE group, no statistically significant difference existed between the two groups (p = 0.097). Furthermore, the mean PCT values in the SE group compared to the control group were slightly decreased, but this decrease was not statistically significant (p = 0.141). A significant inverse correlation existed between the MPV values and the WBC (r = -0.450, p < 0.01) and PLT counts (r = -0.420, p < 0.01). The PLT values were significantly correlated with the PCT values (r = 0.687, p < 0.01). This study demonstrated that SE may lead to several alterations in platelet indices. Significantly lower values of MPV and higher values of PDW were detected in SE patients. However, the increase in the platelet counts and the decrease in the PCT values were not significant. PMID:26417303

  17. Packing a pinch: functional implications of chela shapes in scorpions using finite element analysis.

    PubMed

    van der Meijden, Arie; Kleinteich, Thomas; Coelho, Pedro

    2012-05-01

    Scorpions depend on their pedipalps for prey capture, defense, mating and sensing their environment. Some species additionally use their pedipalps for burrowing or climbing. Because the pincers or chelae at the end of the pedipalps vary widely in shape, they have been used as part of a suite of characters to delimit ecomorphotypes. We here evaluate the influence of the different chela cuticular shapes on their performance under natural loading conditions. Chelae of 20 species, representing seven families and spanning most of the range of chela morphologies, were assigned to clusters based on chela shape parameters using hierarchical cluster analysis. Several clusters were identified corresponding approximately to described scorpion ecomorphotypes. Finite element models of the chela cuticulae were constructed from CT scans and loaded with estimated pinch forces based on in vivo force measurements. Chela shape clusters differed significantly in mean Von Mises stress and strain energy. Normalized FEA showed that chela shape significantly influenced Von Mises stress and strain energy in the chela cuticula, with Von Mises stress varying up to an order of magnitude and strain energy up to two orders of magnitude. More elongate, high-aspect ratio chela forms showed significantly higher mean stress compared with more robust low-aspect ratio forms. This suggests that elongate chelae are at a higher risk of failure when operating near the maximum pinch force. Phylogenetic independent contrasts (PIC) were calculated based on a partly resolved phylogram with branch lengths based on an alignment of the 12S, 16S and CO1 mitochondrial genes. PIC showed that cuticular stress and strain in the chela were correlated with several shape parameters, such as aspect ratio, movable finger length, and chela height, independently of phylogenetic history. Our results indicate that slender chela morphologies may be less suitable for high-force functions such as burrowing and defense. Further

  18. Brainstem structures are primarily affected in an experimental model of severe scorpion envenomation.

    PubMed

    Guidine, Patrícia Alves Maia; Cash, Diana; Drumond, Luciana Estefani; de Souza E Rezende, Gustavo Henrique; Massensini, André Ricardo; Williams, Steve Charles Rees; Moraes-Santos, Tasso; Moraes, Márcio Flávio Dutra; Mesquita, Michel Bernanos Soares

    2014-01-01

    Severe scorpion envenoming (SSE) is more frequent in children and is characterized by systemic dysfunctions with a mortality rate of up to 9%. Recent evidence shows that the central nervous system (CNS) plays a key role in triggering the cascade of symptoms present in SSE. The age-dependent role of the CNS in SSE lethality may be summarized in 3 hypotheses: (1) the shown increased blood brain barrier permeability of infants to the toxins would especially and primarily compromise neurovegetative control areas, (2) the neurons within these areas have high affinity to the toxins, and (3) the neurovascular interaction is such that SSE metabolically compromises proper function of toxin-targeted areas. A pharmacological magnetic resonance imaging paradigm was used to evaluate localized hemodynamic changes in relative cerebral blood volume (rCBV) for 30 min after the injection of TsTX, the most lethal toxin from the venom of the Tityus serrulatus scorpion. The brainstem showed significant rCBV reduction 1 min after TsTX administration, whereas rostral brain areas had delayed increase in rCBV (confirmed by laser Doppler measurements of cortical cerebral blood flow). Moreover, metabolic activity by 14C-2-deoxyglucose autoradiography showed the highest relative increase at the brainstem. To test whether TsTX has high affinity to brainstem neurons, the lateral ventricle was injected with Alexa Fluor 568 TsTX. Although some neurons showed intense fluorescence, the labeling pattern suggests that specific neurons were targeted. Altogether, these results suggest that brainstem areas involved in neurovegetative control are most likely within the primary structures triggering the cascade of symptoms present in SSE.

  19. Functional analysis of the alpha-neurotoxin, BmalphaTX14, derived from the Chinese scorpion, Buthus martensii Karsch.

    PubMed

    Wang, Kun; Yin, Shi-Jin; Lu, Meng; Yi, Hong; Dai, Chao; Xu, Xiu-Jing; Cao, Zhi-Jian; Wu, Ying-Liang; Li, Wen-Xin

    2006-11-01

    The gene encoding the BmalphaTX14 (alpha-neurotoxin TX14) protein, derived from the cDNA library of the Chinese scorpion Buthus martensii Karsch, was expressed in Pichia pastoris. The recombinant protein was purified by metal chelate affinity chromatography and gel filtration chromatography. Using patch-clamp technique, electrophysiological activity of rBmalphaTX14 was identified. In the neurons isolated from mice trigeminal root ganglion, the Na+ current amplitude was reduced by 80% under whole cell patch-clamp recording. There were no apparent modifications to the gating mechanism in the presence of rBmalphaTX14. Although BmalphaTX14 shared a high amino acid sequence similarity with other typical alpha-toxins, it has different effects on neurons. Further electrophysiological analysis suggested that rBmalphaTX14 selectively blocked Na+ channels and is a member of a new group of scorpion toxins.

  20. Cloning and molecular characterization of BumaMPs1, a novel metalloproteinases from the venom of scorpion Buthus martensi Karsch.

    PubMed

    Xia, Xichao; Ma, Yuhong; Xue, Shipeng; Wang, Aimei; Tao, Junliang; Zhao, Yan; Zhang, Qingyuan; Liu, Rongzhi; Lu, Shaoe

    2013-12-15

    Scorpion venoms metalloproteinase is involved in a number of important biological, physiological and pathophysiological processes. In this work, a complete sequence of metalloproteinase was first obtained from venom of scorpion Buthus martensi and named as BumaMPs1. BumaMPs1 has 393 amino acid residues containing with a molecular mass of 44.53 kDa, showing an isoelectric point of 5.66. The primary sequence analysis indicated that the BumaMPs1 contains a zinc-binding motif (HELGHNLGISH), methionine-turn motif (YIM), disintegrin-like domain (ETCD) and N-glycosylation site. The multiple alignment of its deduced amino acid sequence and those of other metalloproteinase showed a high structural similarly, mainly among class reprolysin proteases. The phylogenetic analysis showed early divergence and independent evolution of BumaMPs1 from other metalloproteinase.

  1. Cloning, expression, and pharmacological activity of BmK AS, an active peptide from scorpion Buthus martensii Karsch.

    PubMed

    Shao, Jian-Hua; Wang, Yue-Qiu; Wu, Xiao-Yan; Jiang, Rui; Zhang, Rong; Wu, Chun-Fu; Zhang, Jing-Hai

    2008-01-01

    BmK AS is a beta long-chain scorpion peptide from the venom of Buthus martensii Karsch (BmK). It was efficiently expressed as a soluble and functional peptide in Escherichia coli, and purified by metal chelating chromatography. About 4.2 mg/l purified recombinant BmK AS could be obtained. The recombinant BmK AS maintained a similar analgesic activity to the natural one in both the mouse-twisting test and hot-plate procedure. It also exhibited antimicrobial activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. BmK AS is the first long-chain scorpion peptide reported to have antimicrobial activity, and is a valuable molecular scaffold for pharmacological research.

  2. The depressant scorpion neurotoxin LqqIT2 selectively modulates the insect voltage-gated sodium channel.

    PubMed

    Bosmans, Frank; Martin-Eauclaire, Marie-France; Tytgat, Jan

    2005-03-15

    LqqIT2 is a depressant neurotoxin present in the venom of the Leiurus quinquestriatus quinquestriatus scorpion, one of the world's most dangerous scorpions endemic to dry habitats in Africa and Asia. In order to determine its efficacy, potency and selectivity, LqqIT2 was subjected for the first time to an electrophysiological and pharmacological comparison between two different cloned sodium channels expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes. Aside from typical beta-toxin effects, LqqIT2 also affected the inactivation process and ion selectivity of the insect voltage-gated sodium channel. The most interesting feature of LqqIT2 is its total insect-selectivity. At a concentration of 1 microM, the insect-voltage-gated sodium channel, para, was profoundly modulated while its mammalian counterpart, the rat brain Na(v)1.2 channel, was not affected. This trait offers excellent prospects for the development of novel insecticides.

  3. More about the geographical pattern of distribution of the genus Pseudouroplectes Lourenço, 1995 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Madagascar.

    PubMed

    Lourenço, Wilson R; Wilmé, Lucienne; Waeber, Patrick O

    2016-01-01

    The genus Pseudouroplectes Lourenço, 1995 (Buthidae) remains among the less speciose Malagasy genera and all the known species are extremely rare. A new species is described from the dry forests in the Tsingy formations of the National Park Bemaraha, extending the distribution of the genus further north. Once again, the single holotype specimen was obtained by extraction with the use of Berlese system. With the description of the new species, the distributional pattern of this genus is confirmed for dry forest formations from the south to the middle of the island; however, for the first time the group's distribution overlaps that of another micro-scorpion genus, Microcharmus Lourenço, 1995. The distribution patterns of the humicolous micro-scorpions endemic to Madagascar are considered to further explore the "Neogrosphus rule" as a possible explanation of global species distribution patterns in changing environments.

  4. Enzymatic properties of venoms from Brazilian scorpions of Tityus genus and the neutralisation potential of therapeutical antivenoms.

    PubMed

    Venancio, Emerson J; Portaro, Fernanda C V; Kuniyoshi, Alexandre K; Carvalho, Daniela Cajado; Pidde-Queiroz, Giselle; Tambourgi, Denise V

    2013-07-01

    Tityus scorpion stings are an important public health problem in Brazil, where the incidence of such stings exceeds the incidence of the health problems caused by other venomous animals, including snakes. In this study, we have analysed specific enzymatic activities of the venom from the Brazilian scorpions of Tityus genus, i.e., Tityus serrulatus, Tityus bahiensis and Tityus stigmurus. The data presented here revealed that Tityus spp. venoms exhibited significant hyaluronidase activity but no phospholipase activity. All the venom samples exhibited the ability to hydrolyse Abz-FLRRV-EDDnp and dynorphin 1-13 substrates. These activities were inhibited by 1,10-phenanthroline but not by PMSF, indicating the presence of metalloproteinases in the Tityus spp. venoms. The venom peptidase activity on Abz-FLRRV-EDDnp and on dynorphin 1-13 was partially inhibited by therapeutic Brazilian anti-scorpion and anti-arachnidic antivenoms. Dynorphin 1-13 (YGGFLRRIRPKLK) contains two scissile bonds between the residues Leu-Arg and Arg-Arg that are susceptible to cleavage by the Tityus venom metallopeptidase(s). Their cleavage releases leu-enkephalin, an important bioactive peptide. The detection of metalloproteinase(s) with specificity for both dynorphin 1-13 degradation and leu-enkephalin releasing can be important for the mechanistic understanding of hypotension and bradycardia induction in cases of scorpion stings, whereas hyaluronidases might contribute to the diffusion of the toxins present in these venoms. Furthermore, the limited inhibition of the toxic enzymatic activities by commercial antivenoms illustrates the necessity of improvements in current antivenom preparation.

  5. Analysis of lipid and fatty acid composition of three species of scorpions with relation to different organs.

    PubMed

    Laino, Aldana; Mattoni, Camilo; Ojanguren-Affilastro, Andrés; Cunningham, Mónica; Fernando Garcia, C

    2015-12-01

    Within arthropods most of the information related to the type of mobilization and storage of lipids is found in insects and crustaceans. Literature is scarce with relation to scorpions. This order is a remarkably important model of the biochemistry, since it is characterized as an animal with very primitive traits which have varied minimally through time. In the present study we characterize and compare lipids and fatty acids present in three species of scorpion: Timogenes elegans, Timogenes dorbignyi, and Brachistosternus ferrugineus, focusing the study on the main organs/tissues involved in the dynamics of lipids. As found in the fat body of insects, hepatopancreas of crustaceans and midgut diverticula of spiders, the hepatopancreas of the three species studied here turned out to be the organ of lipid storage (great quantity of triacylglycerides). With relation to the hemolymph and muscles, a great quantity of phospholipids was observed, which is possibly involved in membrane formation. It is important to highlight that unlike what happens in insects, in scorpions the main circulating energetic lipid is the triacylglyceride. This lipid is found in greater proportion in the hepatopancreas of females, surely for reproduction. The fatty acid of the different organs/tissues analyzed remained constant in the three species studied with certain characteristic patterns, thus observing saturated and unsaturated most abundant fatty acids of C16 and C18. Finally, it could be observed that in T. elegans, T. dorbignyi and B. ferrugineus scorpions, there is a lack of 20:4 that generates a special condition within fatty acids of arthropods.

  6. Purification, characterization, and bioactivity of a new analgesic-antitumor peptide from Chinese scorpion Buthus martensii Karsch.

    PubMed

    Shao, Jian-Hua; Cui, Yong; Zhao, Ming-Yi; Wu, Chun-Fu; Liu, Yan-Feng; Zhang, Jing-Hai

    2014-03-01

    Scorpion venoms are complex mixtures of dozens or even hundreds of distinct proteins, many of which have diverse bioactivities. In this study, after bioassay-driven chromatographic purification, a new dual-function peptide with analgesic and antitumor activities was isolated and designated BmK AGAP-SYPU2. The first 12 amino acid residues were sequenced with Edman degradation. The cDNA was cloned by using rapid amplification of cDNA ends from the cDNA pool from scorpion glands. The amino acid sequence of BmK AGAP-SYPU2 was then deduced, and is consistent with the molecular mass measured with MALDI-TOF-MS. A preliminary pharmacological analysis revealed the following: in the dose-effect curve plotted with the mouse-twisting test, BmK AGAP-SYPU2 showed analgesic activity with an ED50 value of 1.42 mg/kg; in the time-effect curves plotted with a hot-plate procedure, BmK AGAP-SYPU2 had similar effects to those of the painkiller morphine, except for its longer duration. BmK AGAP-SYPU2 also showed antitumor activity against Ehrlich ascites tumor and S-180 fibrosarcoma models in vivo. Sequence alignment and homology modeling showed that BmK AGAP-SYPU2 is highly conserved relative to other scorpion α-toxins. However, a few different amino acids endow it with unique molecular properties, which may be responsible for its specific bioactivities. BmK AGAP-SYPU2, a new scorpion neurotoxin with dual functions, is a potential candidate drug amenable to exploitation and modification.

  7. Expression, renaturation and functional analysis of an excitatory insect-specific toxin from scorpion Buthus martensii Karsch.

    PubMed

    Li, Chong; Liu, Wei; Bossmans, Frank; Zhu, Rong-Huan; Tytgat, Jan; Wang, Da-Cheng

    2005-10-01

    The cDNA of BmK IT-AP, an excitatory insect toxin from the scorpion Buthus martensi Karsch that has an analgesic effect on mammalian cells, was expressed in E. coli in the form of an inclusion body. Following denaturation and reduction, the recombinant protein was renatured and purified by liquid chromatography. The authenticity of the recombinant product was confirmed by bioassay and its electrophysiological effect on insect sodium channel.

  8. The relative importance of respiratory water loss in scorpions is correlated with species habitat type and activity pattern.

    PubMed

    Gefen, Eran

    2011-01-01

    Scorpions exhibit some of the lowest recorded water loss rates compared with those of other terrestrial arthropods of similar body size. Evaporative water loss (EWL) includes cuticular transpiration and respiratory water loss (RWL) from gas exchange surfaces, that is, book lung lamellae. Estimated fractions of cuticular and respiratory losses currently available from the literature show considerable variation, at least partly as a result of differences in methodology. This study reports RWL rates and their relative importance in scorpions from two families (Buthidae and Scorpionidae), including both xeric and mesic species (or subspecies). Two of the included Buthidae were surface-dwelling species, and another inhabits empty burrows of other terrestrial arthropods. This experimental design enabled correlating RWL importance with scorpion phylogeny, habitat type, and/or homing behavior. Buthidae species exhibited significantly lower EWL rates compared with those of Scorpionidae, whereas effects of habitat type and homing behavior were not significant. Resting RWL rates were not significantly affected by scorpion phylogeny, but rates for the xeric species (totaling ~10% of EWL rates at 30°C) were significantly lower compared with those of mesic species. These lower RWL values were correlated with significantly lower H(2)O/CO(2) emission rates in xeric species. The experimental setup and ~24-h duration of each individual recording allowed estimating the effect of interspecific variation in activity on RWL proportions. The high respiratory losses in active hydrated Scorpio maurus fuscus, totaling 30% of EWL, suggest that behavioral discretion in this species is a more likely mechanism for body water conservation under stressful conditions when compared with the responses of other studied species.

  9. Convergent evolution in the antennae of a cerambycid beetle, Onychocerus albitarsis, and the sting of a scorpion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berkov, Amy; Rodríguez, Nelson; Centeno, Pedro

    2008-03-01

    Venom-injecting structures have arisen independently in unrelated arthropods including scorpions, spiders, centipedes, larval owlflies and antlions, and Hymenoptera (wasps, ants, and bees). Most arthropods use venom primarily as an offensive weapon to subdue prey, and only secondarily in defense against enemies. Venom is injected by biting with fangs or stinging with a specialized hypodermic structure used exclusively for the delivery of venom (usually modified terminal abdominal segments). A true sting apparatus, previously known only in scorpions and aculeate wasps, is now known in a third group. We here report the first known case of a cerambycid beetle using its antennae to inject a secretion that causes cutaneous and subcutaneous inflammation in humans. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that the terminal antennal segment of Onychocerus albitarsis (Pascoe) has two pores opening into channels leading to the tip through which the secretion is delivered. This is a novel case of convergent evolution: The delivery system is almost identical to that found in the stinger of a deadly buthid scorpion.

  10. Binding characteristics of BmK I, an alpha-like scorpion neurotoxic polypeptide, on cockroach nerve cord synaptosomes.

    PubMed

    Li, Y J; Ji, Y H

    2000-10-01

    In this study, the binding characteristics of BmK I, an alpha-like neurotoxic polypeptide purified from the venom of the Chinese scorpion Buthus martensi Karsch, were investigated on rat brain and cockroach nerve cord synaptosomes. The results showed that BmK I can bind to a single class of noninteracting binding sites on cockroach nerve cord synaptosomes with medium affinity (Kd = 16.5 +/ - 4.4 nM) and low binding capacity (Bmax = 1.05 +/- 0.23 pmol/mg protein), but lacks specific binding on rat brain synaptosomes. BmK AS, BmK AS-1 (two novel sodium channel-blocking ligands), BmK IT (an excitatory insect-selective toxin) and BmK IT2 (a depressant insect-selective toxin) from the same venom were found to be capable of depressing BmK I binding in cockroach nerve cord synaptosomes, which might be attributed to either allosteric modulation of voltage-gated Na+ channels by these toxic polypeptides or partial overlapping between the receptor binding sites of BmK I and these toxins. This thus supported the notion that alpha-like scorpion neurotoxic polypeptides bind to a distinct receptor site on sodium channels, which might be similar to the binding receptor site of alpha-type insect toxins, and also related to those of BmK AS type and insect-selective scorpion toxins on insect sodium channels.

  11. Modulation of human Nav1.7 channel gating by synthetic α-scorpion toxin OD1 and its analogs

    PubMed Central

    Motin, Leonid; Durek, Thomas; Adams, David J.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Nine different voltage-gated sodium channel isoforms are responsible for inducing and propagating action potentials in the mammalian nervous system. The Nav1.7 channel isoform plays an important role in conducting nociceptive signals. Specific mutations of this isoform may impair gating behavior of the channel resulting in several pain syndromes. In addition to channel mutations, similar or opposite changes in gating may be produced by spider and scorpion toxins binding to different parts of the voltage-gated sodium channel. In the present study, we analyzed the effects of the α-scorpion toxin OD1 and 2 synthetic toxin analogs on the gating properties of the Nav1.7 sodium channel. All toxins potently inhibited channel inactivation, however, both toxin analogs showed substantially increased potency by more than one order of magnitude when compared with that of wild-type OD1. The decay phase of the whole-cell Na+ current was substantially slower in the presence of toxins than in their absence. Single-channel recordings in the presence of the toxins revealed that Na+ current inactivation slowed due to prolonged flickering of the channel between open and closed states. Our findings support the voltage-sensor trapping model of α-scorpion toxin action, in which the toxin prevents a conformational change in the domain IV voltage sensor that normally leads to fast channel inactivation. PMID:26646206

  12. Structural and Functional Elucidation of Peptide Ts11 Shows Evidence of a Novel Subfamily of Scorpion Venom Toxins

    PubMed Central

    Cremonez, Caroline M.; Maiti, Mohitosh; Peigneur, Steve; Cassoli, Juliana Silva; Dutra, Alexandre A. A.; Waelkens, Etienne; Lescrinier, Eveline; Herdewijn, Piet; de Lima, Maria Elena; Pimenta, Adriano M. C.; Arantes, Eliane C.; Tytgat, Jan

    2016-01-01

    To date, several families of peptide toxins specifically interacting with ion channels in scorpion venom have been described. One of these families comprise peptide toxins (called KTxs), known to modulate potassium channels. Thus far, 202 KTxs have been reported, belonging to several subfamilies of KTxs (called α, β, γ, κ, δ, and λ-KTxs). Here we report on a previously described orphan toxin from Tityus serrulatus venom, named Ts11. We carried out an in-depth structure-function analysis combining 3D structure elucidation of Ts11 and electrophysiological characterization of the toxin. The Ts11 structure is highlighted by an Inhibitor Cystine Knot (ICK) type scaffold, completely devoid of the classical secondary structure elements (α-helix and/or β-strand). This has, to the best of our knowledge, never been described before for scorpion toxins and therefore represents a novel, 6th type of structural fold for these scorpion peptides. On the basis of their preferred interaction with voltage-gated K channels, as compared to all the other targets tested, it can be postulated that Ts11 is the first member of a new subfamily, designated as ε-KTx. PMID:27706049

  13. OcyKTx2, a new K⁺-channel toxin characterized from the venom of the scorpion Opisthacanthus cayaporum.

    PubMed

    Schwartz, Elisabeth F; Bartok, Adam; Schwartz, Carlos Alberto; Papp, Ferenc; Gómez-Lagunas, Froylan; Panyi, Gyorgy; Possani, Lourival D

    2013-08-01

    Opisthacanthus cayaporum belongs to the Liochelidae family, and the scorpions from this genus occur in southern Africa, Central America and South America and, therefore, can be considered a true Gondwana heritage. In this communication, the isolation, primary structure characterization, and K⁺-channel blocking activity of new peptide from this scorpion venom are reported. OcyKTx2 is a 34 amino acid long peptide with four disulfide bridges and molecular mass of 3807 Da. Electrophysiological assays conducted with pure OcyKTx2 showed that this toxin reversibly blocks Shaker B K⁺-channels with a Kd of 82 nM, and presents an even better affinity toward hKv1.3, blocking it with a Kd of ∼18 nM. OcyKTx2 shares high sequence identity with peptides belonging to subfamily 6 of α-KTxs that clustered very closely in the phylogenetic tree included here. Sequence comparison, chain length and number of disulfide bridges analysis classify OcyKTx2 into subfamily 6 of the α-KTx scorpion toxins (systematic name, α-KTx6.17).

  14. Modulation of human Nav1.7 channel gating by synthetic α-scorpion toxin OD1 and its analogs.

    PubMed

    Motin, Leonid; Durek, Thomas; Adams, David J

    2016-01-01

    Nine different voltage-gated sodium channel isoforms are responsible for inducing and propagating action potentials in the mammalian nervous system. The Nav1.7 channel isoform plays an important role in conducting nociceptive signals. Specific mutations of this isoform may impair gating behavior of the channel resulting in several pain syndromes. In addition to channel mutations, similar or opposite changes in gating may be produced by spider and scorpion toxins binding to different parts of the voltage-gated sodium channel. In the present study, we analyzed the effects of the α-scorpion toxin OD1 and 2 synthetic toxin analogs on the gating properties of the Nav1.7 sodium channel. All toxins potently inhibited channel inactivation, however, both toxin analogs showed substantially increased potency by more than one order of magnitude when compared with that of wild-type OD1. The decay phase of the whole-cell Na(+) current was substantially slower in the presence of toxins than in their absence. Single-channel recordings in the presence of the toxins revealed that Na(+) current inactivation slowed due to prolonged flickering of the channel between open and closed states. Our findings support the voltage-sensor trapping model of α-scorpion toxin action, in which the toxin prevents a conformational change in the domain IV voltage sensor that normally leads to fast channel inactivation.

  15. A chimeric scorpion alpha-toxin displays de novo electrophysiological properties similar to those of alpha-like toxins.

    PubMed

    Bouhaouala-Zahar, Balkiss; Benkhalifa, Rym; Srairi, Najet; Zenouaki, Ilhem; Ligny-Lemaire, Caroline; Drevet, Pascal; Sampieri, François; Pelhate, Marcel; El Ayeb, Mohamed; Ménez, André; Karoui, Habib; Ducancel, Frédéric

    2002-06-01

    BotXIV and LqhalphaIT are two structurally related long chain scorpion alpha-toxins that inhibit sodium current inactivation in excitable cells. However, while LqhalphaIT from Leiurus quinquestriatus hebraeus is classified as a true and strong insect alpha-toxin, BotXIV from Buthus occitanus tunetanus is characterized by moderate biological activities. To assess the possibility that structural differences between these two molecules could reflect the localization of particular functional topographies, we compared their sequences. Three structurally deviating segments located in three distinct and exposed loops were identified. They correspond to residues 8-10, 19-22, and 38-43. To evaluate their functional role, three BotXIV/LqhalphaIT chimeras were designed by transferring the corresponding LqhalphaIT sequences into BotXIV. Structural and antigenic characterizations of the resulting recombinant chimera show that BotXIV can accommodate the imposed modifications, confirming the structural flexibility of that particular alpha/beta fold. Interestingly, substitution of residues 8-10 yields to a new electrophysiological profile of the corresponding variant, partially comparable to that one of alpha-like scorpion toxins. Taken together, these results suggest that even limited structural deviations can reflect functional diversity, and also that the structure-function relationships between insect alpha-toxins and alpha-like scorpion toxins are probably more complex than expected.

  16. [Toxicological and immunological aspects of scorpion venom (Tytius pachyurus): neutralizing capacity of antivenoms produced in Latin America].

    PubMed

    Barona, Jacqueline; Otero, Rafael; Núñez, Vitelbina

    2004-03-01

    The toxicity and immunochemical properties of Tityus pachyurus Pocock scorpion venom was characterized, as well as the neutralization capacity against it by three anti-scorpion antivenoms (Alacramyn, Instituto Bioclón, México; Suero antiescorpiónico, Instituto Butantán, Sao Paulo, Brasil; and Suero antiescorpiónico, Centro de Biotecnología, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela). The venom yield, obtained by manual milking, 680+/-20 microg venom, a 50% lethal dose in mice was 4.8 microg/kg (90 microg for an 18-20 g mouse). The most common symptoms of venom poisoning in mice were sialorrhea, respiratory distress, profuse sweating, ataxia, behavior alterations (restlessness, somnolence) and hyperglycemia at 3 and 24 hours after subcutaneous venom injection (0.5 LD50). The neutralizing capacity of Bioclón (México City) and Butantán (Sao Paulo) antivenoms (for a 50% effective dose) was 330 and 292 microg venom/ml antivenom, respectively. The Biotecnología (Caracas) antivenom did not neutralize the lethal effect of venom. By electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) was demonstrated that the venom contains proteins from less than 14 kd to 97 kd. The Western blots indicated immunological reactivity of the three antivenoms with most of venom components, including proteins of low molecular mass (<14 kd). The results allow to conclude that T. pachyurus venom is neutralized efficiently by anti-scorpion antivenoms produced in México and Brasil.

  17. Solution structure of BmKalphaTx11, a toxin from the venom of the Chinese scorpion Buthus martensii Karsch.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Jing; Tong, Xiaotian; Cao, Chunyang; Wu, Gong; Zhang, Naixia; Wu, Houming

    2010-01-01

    The solution structure of BmKalphaTx11 presented by this paper is distinctive from any other structures of wide-type scorpion alpha-toxins reported so far, for its trans-9,10 peptide bond conformation is accompanied by 'protruding' topology of the 'NC-domain'. The orientation of the C-tail of BmKalphaTx11 is obviously different from that of classical alpha-toxins (e.g., AaH2, BmK-M8), despite the fact that they share common trans conformation of peptide bond between residues 9 and 10. Accordingly, there must be other structural factors dominating the orientation of the C-tail except the conformation of peptide bond 9-10. Our study reveals that residues at position 58 play an important role in it, and different type of residues at this position (e.g., Lys, Arg, Met, Ile) result in different spatial relationship between the C-terminus and the 'five-residue-turn' and then different topology of the 'NC-domain', therefore residues at position 58 are believed to function as structure and bioactivity switch for specificity of scorpion alpha-toxins. The mechanism for stabilizing the geometry of the 'NC-domain' in wide-type scorpion alpha-toxins is also discussed.

  18. Spatio-temporal microhabitat use by two co-occurring species of scorpions in Atlantic rainforest in Brazil.

    PubMed

    Lira, André F A; Souza, Adriano M; Silva Filho, Arthur A C; Albuquerque, Cleide M R

    2013-06-01

    With the increasing devastation of the tropical rain forest, there is a critical need to understand how animal forest communities are structured and how habitat degradation will affect these communities. We conducted a field survey to investigate the microhabitat preferences of two co-occurring species of scorpions (Tityus pusillus and Ananteris mauryi) in a fragment of Atlantic rainforest, as well as their abundance and their ecological niche, during both the dry and rainy seasons. Behavioural aspects related to the use of the environment and the proportions of juveniles and adults are also described. The occurrence of intra- and interspecific coexistence was assessed by active search. In addition, pitfall catches were used to assess the structure of the population in the dry and rainy seasons. The differential patterns of spatial distribution in the litter layers provided evidence of partial niche partitioning between the two coexisting scorpion species depending on age and climatic conditions. Abundance, foraging behaviour and age structure (juveniles and adults) were seasonally influenced. We conclude that the diverse and subtle behaviours involved in interaction and habitat use may facilitate species coexistence. Resource partitioning and refuge sharing on a temporal and/or spatial scale, as well as predation pressure, may drive the dynamics and spatial distribution of scorpion species in the rain forest environment.

  19. A Combinational Strategy upon RNA Sequencing and Peptidomics Unravels a Set of Novel Toxin Peptides in Scorpion Mesobuthus martensii

    PubMed Central

    Luan, Ning; Shen, Wang; Liu, Jie; Wen, Bo; Lin, Zhilong; Yang, Shilong; Lai, Ren; Liu, Siqi; Rong, Mingqiang

    2016-01-01

    Scorpion venom is deemed to contain many toxic peptides as an important source of natural compounds. Out of the two hundred proteins identified in Mesobuthus martensii (M. martensii), only a few peptide toxins have been found so far. Herein, a combinational approach based upon RNA sequencing and Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry (LC MS/MS) was employed to explore the venom peptides in M. martensii. A total of 153 proteins were identified from the scorpion venom, 26 previously known and 127 newly identified. Of the novel toxins, 97 proteins exhibited sequence similarities to known toxins, and 30 were never reported. Combining peptidomic and transcriptomic analyses, the peptide sequence of BmKKx1 was reannotated and four disulfide bridges were confirmed within it. In light of the comparison of conservation and variety of toxin amino acid sequences, highly conserved and variable regions were perceived in 24 toxins that were parts of two sodium channel and two potassium channel toxins families. Taking all of this evidences together, the peptidomic analysis on M. martensii indeed identified numerous novel scorpion peptides, expanded our knowledge towards the venom diversity, and afforded a set of pharmaceutical candidates. PMID:27782050

  20. Discovery of three toxin peptides with Kv1.3 channel and IL-2 cytokine inhibiting activities from Non-Buthidae scorpions Chaerilus tricostatus and Chaerilus tryznai.

    PubMed

    Ding, Li; Chen, Jing; Hao, Jinbo; Zhang, Jiahui; Huang, Xuejun; Hu, Fangfang; Wu, Zheng; Liu, Yaru; Li, Wenxin; Cao, Zhijian; Wu, Yingliang; Li, Jian; Li, Shan; Liu, Hongyan; Wu, Wenlong; Chen, Zongyun

    2017-03-11

    Non-Buthidae venomous scorpions are huge natural sources, however, only a few works have been done to understand their toxin peptides. Here, we described three new potential immunomodulating toxin peptides Ctri18, Ctry68 and Ctry2908 from two Non-Buthidae scorpions Chaerilus tricostatus and Chaerilus tryznai. Sequence alignment analyses showed that Ctri18, Ctry68 and Ctry2908 are three new members of scorpion toxin α-KTx15 subfamily. Electrophysiological experiments showed that Ctri18, Ctry68 and Ctry2908 blocked the Kv1.3 channel at micromole to nanomole levels, but had weak effects on potassium channel KCNQ1 and sodium channel Nav1.4, which indicated that Ctri18, Ctry68 and Ctry2908 might have specific inhibiting effects on the Kv1.3 channel. ELISA experiments showed that Ctri18, Ctry68 and Ctry2908 inhibited IL-2 cytokine secretions of activated T lymphocyte in human PBMCs. Excitingly, consistent with the good Kv1.3 channel inhibitory activity, Ctry2908 inhibited cytokine IL-2 secretion in nanomole level, which indicated that Ctry2908 might be a new lead drug template towards Kv1.3 channels. Together, these studies discovered three new toxin peptides Ctri18, Ctry68 and Ctry2908 with Kv1.3 channel and IL-2 cytokine inhibiting activities from two scorpions Chaerilus tricostatus and Chaerilus tryznai, and highlighted that non-Buthidae venomous scorpions are new natural toxin peptide sources.

  1. Coccidioidomycosis in African Americans

    PubMed Central

    Ruddy, Barbara E.; Mayer, Anita P.; Ko, Marcia G.; Labonte, Helene R.; Borovansky, Jill A.; Boroff, Erika S.; Blair, Janis E.

    2011-01-01

    Coccidioidomycosis is caused by Coccidioides species, a fungus endemic to the desert regions of the southwestern United States, and is of particular concern for African Americans. We performed a PubMed search of the English-language medical literature on coccidioidomycosis in African Americans and summarized the pertinent literature. Search terms were coccidioidomycosis, Coccidioides, race, ethnicity, African, black, and Negro. The proceedings of the national and international coccidioidomycosis symposia were searched. All relevant articles and their cited references were reviewed; those with epidemiological, immunologic, clinical, and therapeutic data pertaining to coccidioidomycosis in African Americans were included in the review. Numerous studies documented an increased predilection for severe coccidioidal infections, coccidioidomycosis-related hospitalizations, and extrapulmonary dissemination in persons of African descent; however, most of the published studies are variably problematic. The immunologic mechanism for this predilection is unclear. The clinical features and treatment recommendations are summarized. Medical practitioners need to be alert to the possibility of coccidioidomycosis in persons with recent travel to or residence in an area where the disease is endemic. PMID:21193657

  2. Identification and Phylogenetic Analysis of Tityus pachyurus and Tityus obscurus Novel Putative Na+-Channel Scorpion Toxins

    PubMed Central

    Guerrero-Vargas, Jimmy A.; Mourão, Caroline B. F.; Quintero-Hernández, Verónica; Possani, Lourival D.; Schwartz, Elisabeth F.

    2012-01-01

    Background Colombia and Brazil are affected by severe cases of scorpionism. In Colombia the most dangerous accidents are caused by Tityus pachyurus that is widely distributed around this country. In the Brazilian Amazonian region scorpion stings are a common event caused by Tityus obscurus. The main objective of this work was to perform the molecular cloning of the putative Na+-channel scorpion toxins (NaScTxs) from T. pachyurus and T. obscurus venom glands and to analyze their phylogenetic relationship with other known NaScTxs from Tityus species. Methodology/Principal Findings cDNA libraries from venom glands of these two species were constructed and five nucleotide sequences from T. pachyurus were identified as putative modulators of Na+-channels, and were named Tpa4, Tpa5, Tpa6, Tpa7 and Tpa8; the latter being the first anti-insect excitatory β-class NaScTx in Tityus scorpion venom to be described. Fifteen sequences from T. obscurus were identified as putative NaScTxs, among which three had been previously described, and the others were named To4 to To15. The peptides Tpa4, Tpa5, Tpa6, To6, To7, To9, To10 and To14 are closely related to the α-class NaScTxs, whereas Tpa7, Tpa8, To4, To8, To12 and To15 sequences are more related to the β-class NaScTxs. To5 is possibly an arthropod specific toxin. To11 and To13 share sequence similarities with both α and β NaScTxs. By means of phylogenetic analysis using the Maximum Parsimony method and the known NaScTxs from Tityus species, these toxins were clustered into 14 distinct groups. Conclusions/Significance This communication describes new putative NaScTxs from T. pachyurus and T. obscurus and their phylogenetic analysis. The results indicate clear geographic separation between scorpions of Tityus genus inhabiting the Amazonian and Mountain Andes regions and those distributed over the Southern of the Amazonian rainforest. Based on the consensus sequences for the different clusters, a new nomenclature for the Na

  3. Clinical consequences of Tityus bahiensis and Tityus serrulatus scorpion stings in the region of Campinas, southeastern Brazil.

    PubMed

    Bucaretchi, Fábio; Fernandes, Luciane C R; Fernandes, Carla B; Branco, Maíra M; Prado, Camila C; Vieira, Ronan J; De Capitani, Eduardo M; Hyslop, Stephen

    2014-10-01

    Scorpion stings account for most envenomations by venomous animals in Brazil. A retrospective study (1994-2011) of the clinical consequences of Tityus scorpion stings in 1327 patients treated at a university hospital in Campinas, southeastern Brazil, is reported. The clinical classification, based on outcome, was: dry sting (no envenoming), class I (only local manifestations), class II (systemic manifestations), class III (life-threatening manifestations, such as shock and/or cardiac failure requiring inotropic/vasopressor agents, and/or respiratory failure), and fatal. The median patient age was 27 years (interquartile interval = 15-42 years). Scorpions were brought for identification in 47.2% of cases (Tityus bahiensis 27.7%; Tityus serrulatus 19.5%). Sting severity was classified and each accounted for the following percentage of cases: dry stings - 3.4%, class I - 79.6%, class II - 15.1%, class III - 1.8% and fatal - 0.1%. Pain was the primary local manifestation (95.5%). Systemic manifestations such as vomiting, agitation, sweating, dyspnea, bradycardia, tachycardia, tachypnea, somnolence/lethargy, cutaneous paleness, hypothermia and hypotension were detected in class II or class III + fatal groups, but were significantly more frequent in the latter group. Class III and fatal cases occurred only in children <15 years old, with scorpions being identified in 13/25 cases (T. serrulatus, n = 12; T. bahiensis, n = 1). Laboratory blood abnormalities (hyperglycemia, hypokalemia, leukocytosis, elevations in serum total CK, CK-MB and troponin T, bicarbonate consumption and an increase in base deficit and blood lactate), electrocardiographic changes (ST segment) and echocardiographic alterations (ventricular ejected fraction <54%) were frequently detected in class III patients. Seventeen patients developed pulmonary edema, 16 had cardiac failure and seven had cardiogenic shock. These results indicate that most scorpion stings involved only local manifestations

  4. Design and expression of recombinant toxins from Mexican scorpions of the genus Centruroides for production of antivenoms.

    PubMed

    Jiménez-Vargas, J M; Quintero-Hernández, V; González-Morales, L; Ortiz, E; Possani, L D

    2017-03-15

    This manuscript describes the design of plasmids containing the genes coding for four main mammalian toxins of scorpions from the genus Centruroides (C.) of Mexico. The genes that code for toxin 2 of C. noxius (Cn2), toxin 2 from C. suffusus (Css2) and toxins 1 and 2 from C. limpidus (Cll1 and Cll2) were included into individual plasmids carrying the genetic construction for expression of fusion proteins containing a leader peptide (pelB) that directs the expressed protein to the bacterial periplasm, a carrier protein (thioredoxin), the cleavage site for enterokinase, the chosen toxin and a poly-histidine tag (6xHis-tag) for purification of the hybrid protein by immobilized metal ion affinity chromatography after expression in Escherichia coli strain BL21 (DE3). The purified hybrid proteins containing the recombinant toxins (abbreviated Thio-EK-Toxin) were used for immunization of three independent groups of ten mice and four rabbits. Challenging the first group of mice, immunized with recombinant Thio-EK-Css2, with three median lethal doses (LD50) of C. suffusus soluble venom resulted in the survival of all the test animals without showing intoxication symptoms. All control mice (none immunized) died. Similar results were obtained with mice previously immunized with Thio-EK-Cn2 and challenged with C. noxius venom. The third group of mice immunized with both Thio-EK-Cll1 and Thio-EK-Cll2 showed an 80% survival ratio when challenged with only one LD50 of C. limpidus venom, all showing symptoms of intoxication. The sera from rabbits immunized with a combination of the four recombinant toxins were collected separately and used to assess their neutralization capacity in vitro (pre-incubating the serum with the respective scorpion venom and injecting the mixture into mice), using six mice for each serum/venom combination tested. The venoms from the six most dangerous scorpion species of Mexico were assayed: C. noxius, C. suffusus, C. limpidus, C. elegans, C

  5. Mental Health and African Americans

    MedlinePlus

    ... Minority Population Profiles > Black/African American > Mental Health Mental Health and African Americans Poverty level affects mental health ... compared to 120% of non-Hispanic whites. 1 MENTAL HEALTH STATUS Serious psychological distress among adults 18 years ...

  6. The Struggles over African Languages

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Maseko, Pam; Vale, Peter

    2016-01-01

    In this interview, African Language expert Pam Maseko speaks of her own background and her first encounter with culture outside of her mother tongue, isiXhosa. A statistical breakdown of South African languages is provided as background. She discusses Western (originally missionary) codification of African languages and suggests that this approach…

  7. Narcolepsy in African Americans

    PubMed Central

    Kawai, Makoto; O'Hara, Ruth; Einen, Mali; Lin, Ling; Mignot, Emmanuel

    2015-01-01

    Study Objectives: Although narcolepsy affects 0.02–0.05% of individuals in various ethnic groups, clinical presentation in different ethnicities has never been fully characterized. Our goal was to study phenotypic expression across ethnicities in the United States. Design/Setting: Cases of narcolepsy from 1992 to 2013 were identified from searches of the Stanford Center for Narcolepsy Research database. International Classification of Sleep Disorders, Third Edition diagnosis criteria for type 1 and type 2 narcolepsy were used for inclusion, but subjects were separated as with and without cataplexy for the purpose of data presentation. Information extracted included demographics, ethnicity and clinical data, HLA-DQB1*06:02, polysomnography (PSG), multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) data, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) hypocretin-1 level. Patients: 182 African-Americans, 839 Caucasians, 35 Asians, and 41 Latinos with narcolepsy. Results: Sex ratio, PSG, and MSLT findings did not differ across ethnicities. Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) score was higher and age of onset of sleepiness earlier in African Americans compared with other ethnicities. HLA-DQB1*06:02 positivity was higher in African Americans (91.0%) versus others (76.6% in Caucasians, 80.0% in Asians, and 65.0% in Latinos). CSF hypocretin-1 level, obtained in 222 patients, was more frequently low (≤ 110 pg/ml) in African Americans (93.9%) versus Caucasians (61.5%), Asians (85.7%) and Latinos (75.0%). In subjects with low CSF hypocretin-1, African Americans (28.3%) were 4.5 fold more likely to be without cataplexy when compared with Caucasians (8.1%). Conclusions: Narcolepsy in African Americans is characterized by earlier symptom onset, higher Epworth Sleepiness Scale score, higher HLA-DQB1*06:02 positivity, and low cerebrospinal fluid hypocretin-1 level in the absence of cataplexy. In African Americans, more subjects without cataplexy have type 1 narcolepsy. Citation: Kawai M, O'Hara R, Einen M, Lin L

  8. The burrowing activity of scorpions ( Scorpio maurus palmatus) and their potential contribution to the erosion of Hamra soils in Karkur, central Israel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rutin, J.

    1996-03-01

    The burrowing activity of the scorpion Scorpio maurus palmatus was studied on a 1200 m 2 slope of a so-called "Hamra" sandy soil in Karkur, Israel. The main results were (1) The scorpions excavate soil material after rain storms, preparing this material for erosion processes by rain splash and rainwash. (2) The burrowing activity stops in the dry summer and during cold days of the winter. This means that Scorpio Maurus Palmatus is preparing soil for erosion from one storm to the next, and not from one season to the next as was previously thought. Further, it was found that the amount of soil material excavated from the burrow is proportional to the size of the scorpion and that most of the mounds were deposited toward the upper part of the slope which means that part is washed back into the burrow itself.

  9. A preliminary synopsis on amber scorpions with special reference to Burmite species: an extraordinary development of our knowledge in only 20 years.

    PubMed

    Lourenço, Wilson R

    2016-01-01

    A preliminary study on fossil scorpions found in amber, from the Lower Cretaceous through the Palaeocene and up to the Miocene is proposed. Scorpions remain rare among the arthropods found trapped in amber. Only 24 specimens are known from Cretaceous amber, representing eight families and subfamilies, ten genera and 21 species; in parallel, 10 specimens have been recorded from Baltic amber representing seven genera and ten species. A few more recent fossils from Dominican and Mexican amber have also been described. The present study of a new scorpion specimen from the Cretaceous amber of Myanmar (Burmite) resulted in the description of one new species, Betaburmesebuthus bellus sp. n. - belonging to the subfamily Palaeoburmesebuthinae Lourenço, 2015. The new description brings further elements to the clarification of the status of this subfamily, which is now raised to family level. Once again, this new Burmite element attests to the considerable degree of diversity in the Burmese amber-producing forests.

  10. The genetic structure and history of Africans and African Americans.

    PubMed

    Tishkoff, Sarah A; Reed, Floyd A; Friedlaender, Françoise R; Ehret, Christopher; Ranciaro, Alessia; Froment, Alain; Hirbo, Jibril B; Awomoyi, Agnes A; Bodo, Jean-Marie; Doumbo, Ogobara; Ibrahim, Muntaser; Juma, Abdalla T; Kotze, Maritha J; Lema, Godfrey; Moore, Jason H; Mortensen, Holly; Nyambo, Thomas B; Omar, Sabah A; Powell, Kweli; Pretorius, Gideon S; Smith, Michael W; Thera, Mahamadou A; Wambebe, Charles; Weber, James L; Williams, Scott M

    2009-05-22

    Africa is the source of all modern humans, but characterization of genetic variation and of relationships among populations across the continent has been enigmatic. We studied 121 African populations, four African American populations, and 60 non-African populations for patterns of variation at 1327 nuclear microsatellite and insertion/deletion markers. We identified 14 ancestral population clusters in Africa that correlate with self-described ethnicity and shared cultural and/or linguistic properties. We observed high levels of mixed ancestry in most populations, reflecting historical migration events across the continent. Our data also provide evidence for shared ancestry among geographically diverse hunter-gatherer populations (Khoesan speakers and Pygmies). The ancestry of African Americans is predominantly from Niger-Kordofanian (approximately 71%), European (approximately 13%), and other African (approximately 8%) populations, although admixture levels varied considerably among individuals. This study helps tease apart the complex evolutionary history of Africans and African Americans, aiding both anthropological and genetic epidemiologic studies.

  11. Variation in quantity and composition of cuticular hydrocarbons in the scorpion Buthus occitanus (Buthidae) in response to acute exposure to desiccation stress.

    PubMed

    Gefen, E; Talal, S; Brendzel, O; Dror, A; Fishman, A

    2015-04-01

    Scorpions exhibit some of the lowest recorded water loss rates among terrestrial arthropods. Evaporative water loss to the surrounding environment occurs mainly through the integument, and thus its resistance to water loss has paramount significance for the ability of scorpions to tolerate extremely dry habitats. Cuticular hydrocarbons (HCs) deposited on the outer epicuticle play an important role in determining cuticular waterproofing, and seasonal variation in both cuticular HC quantity and composition has been shown to correlate with water loss rates. Precursor incorporation rates into cuticle HCs have been observed to be extremely low in scorpions compared with insects. We therefore used adult male Buthus occitanus (Buthidae) in order to test HC profile plasticity during acute exposure to 14 d and 28 d of experimental desiccation. Cuticular HC profile of hydrated scorpions was similar to that reported for several other scorpion species, consisting of similar fractions of n-alkanes and branched alkanes, with no evidence for unsaturation. Most abundant of the n-alkanes were n-heptacosane (C27; 19±2% of total HCs), n-nonacosane (C29; 16±1%) and n-hentriacontane (C31; 11±1%). Exposure to desiccation stress resulted in a significant increase in the total amount of extracted HCs, and in the relative abundance of branched alkanes at the expense of n-alkanes. Together with an increase in HC chain lengths, these changes mimic previously-reported seasonal variation among freshly-collected specimens. This indicates that scorpions respond to water shortage by regulating the properties of their passive integumental barrier to water loss.

  12. Elective: African Literature.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jenkins, Kenneth V.

    The make-up of a course in African literature for high school students is discussed. It is pointed out that the course can be constructed on already familiar lines. High school students will be able to describe clearly, for example, the relationship between environment and character or the dilemma of characters caught between traditional values…

  13. African Americans and Agriculture.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Morgan, Joan

    2000-01-01

    Reviews the opportunities available in the field of agriculture for African American students and notes efforts of the 136 colleges of agriculture to publicize their offerings and recruit students. Profiles six black leaders in agriculture, highlighting their achievements in research and aid to developing countries. A table provides data on annual…

  14. African Literature: Selected Resources.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Deschenes, Martin O.; Waters, Harold A.

    This bibliography of resources for the teaching of African literature includes over 100 citations of books, textbooks, anthologies, plays, novels, short stories, and periodicals in French and English. Publishing house addresses, audiovisual aids, professional organizations, and a course list are also cited. The books are listed under the following…

  15. Inhibitory activity and mechanism of two scorpion venom peptides against herpes simplex virus type 1.

    PubMed

    Hong, Wei; Li, Tian; Song, Yu; Zhang, Runhong; Zeng, Zhengyang; Han, Shisong; Zhang, Xianzheng; Wu, Yingliang; Li, Wenxin; Cao, Zhijian

    2014-02-01

    Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is a widespread human pathogen that causes severe diseases, but there are not effective and safe drugs in clinical therapy besides acyclovir (ACV) and related nucleoside analogs. In this study, two new venom peptides from the scorpion Heterometrus petersii were identified with effective inhibitory effect on HSV-1 infection in vitro. Both Hp1036 and Hp1239 peptides exhibited potent virucidal activities against HSV-1 (EC50=0.43±0.09 and 0.41±0.06μM, respectively) and effective inhibitory effects when added at the viral attachment (EC50=2.87±0.16 and 5.73±0.61μM, respectively), entry (EC50=4.29±0.35 and 4.32±0.47μM, respectively) and postentry (EC50=7.86±0.80 and 8.41±0.73μM, respectively) steps. Both Hp1036 and Hp1239 peptides adopted α-helix structure in approximate membrane environment and resulted in the destruction of the viral morphology. Moreover, Hp1036 and Hp1239 peptides entered Vero cells and reduced the intracellular viral infectivity. Taken together, Hp1036 and Hp1239 peptides are two anti-viral peptides with effective inhibitory effect on multiple steps of HSV-1 life cycle and therefore are good candidate for development as virucides.

  16. Three-dimensional reconstruction of thick filaments from Limulus and scorpion muscle

    PubMed Central

    1985-01-01

    We have produced three dimensional reconstructions, at a nominal resolution of 5 nm, of thick filaments from scorpion and Limulus skeletal muscle, both of which have a right-handed four-stranded helical arrangement of projecting subunits. In both reconstructions there was a distinct division of density within projecting subunits consistent with the presence of two myosin heads. Individual myosin heads appeared to be curved, with approximate dimensions of 16 X 5 X 5 nm and seemed more massive at one end. Our reconstructions were consistent with the two heads in a projecting subunit being arranged either antiparallel or parallel to each other and directed away from the bare zone. Although we cannot exclude the second of these interpretations, we favor the first as being more consistent with both filament models and also because it would enable easy phosphorylation of light chains. The antiparallel interpretation requires that the two heads within a subunit derive from different myosin molecules. In either interpretation, the two heads have different orientations relative to the thick filament shaft. PMID:2410430

  17. Straightforward approach to produce recombinant scorpion toxins-Pore blockers of potassium channels.

    PubMed

    Nekrasova, Oksana; Kudryashova, Ksenia; Fradkov, Arkadiy; Yakimov, Sergey; Savelieva, Maria; Kirpichnikov, Mikhail; Feofanov, Alexey

    2017-01-10

    Scorpion venom peptide blockers (KTx) of potassium channels are a valuable tool for structure-functional studies and prospective candidates for medical applications. Low yields of recombinant KTx hamper their wide application. We developed convenient and efficient bioengineering approach to a large-scale KTx production that meets increasing demands for such peptides. Maltose-binding protein was used as a carrier for cytoplasmic expression of folded disulfide-rich KTx in E. coli. TEV protease was applied for in vitro cleavage of the target peptide from the carrier. To produce KTx with retained native N-terminal sequence, the last residue of TEV protease cleavage site (CSTEV) was occupied by the native N-terminal residue of a target peptide. It was shown that decreased efficiency of hydrolysis of fusion proteins with non-canonical CSTEV can be overcome without by-product formation. Disulfide formation and folding of a target peptide occurred in cytoplasm eliminating the need for renaturation procedure in vitro. Advantages of this approach were demonstrated by producing six peptides with three disulfide bonds related to four KTx sub-families and achieving peptide yields of 12-22mg per liter of culture. The developed approach can be of general use for low-cost production of various KTx, as well as other disulfide-rich peptides and proteins.

  18. The pectine organs of the scorpion, Vaejovis spinigerus: structure and (glomerular) central projections.

    PubMed

    Wolf, Harald

    2008-01-01

    The pectines of a new-world scorpion were studied as to their sensilla, nerve supply, and central nervous projections. (i) Pectines and sensilla in Vaejovis are similar to those examined in old-world species previously, although Vaejovis' pectines are larger and equipped with more receptors. The specialized peg sensilla show ultrastructural features characteristic of arthropod chemo- and mechanoreceptors, with the chemosensory exceeding the mechanosensory neuron population about 11-fold in number. (ii) The motoneuron supply of the pectines resembles that of other limbs and apparently conforms to a general arthropod plan. Motoneuron somata occur in three ventral groups, the anterior and posterior ipsilateral, and the contralateral groups. (iii) Pectine afferents terminate mainly in two ventromedial neuropil areas of the fused subesophageal ganglion mass. The larger posterior pectine neuropil shows a distinct glomerular and layered ("lobular") organization, reminiscent of insect antennal lobes and malacostracan olfactory lobes. Afferents enter the neuropil from its periphery, and output neurons leave through a central tract. Most projections show somatotopic organization, and several glomeruli exhibit GABA-like immunoreactivity, indicative of inhibitory synaptic interactions. The glomerular structure of the main pectine neuropil may indicate that such compartmentalisation is advantageous for the initial processing of chemosensory signals. The somatotopic projection of pectin receptors may be related to the use of the pectines in chemosensory orientation to substrate-bound chemicals, and in active sensing.

  19. Serological, biochemical and enzymatic alterations in rodents after experimental envenomation with Hadruroides lunatus scorpion venom.

    PubMed

    Costal-Oliveira, F; Guerra-Duarte, C; Castro, K L P; Tintaya, B; Bonilla, C; Silva, W; Yarlequé, A; Fujiwara, R; Melo, M M; Chávez-Olórtegui, C

    2015-09-01

    Toxic effects of Peruvian Hadruroides lunatus scorpion venom on different biochemical and enzymatic parameters in blood serum of Wistar rats and Swiss mice were determined after experimental envenomation. An increase in enzymatic activities of Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST), Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) and levels of serum protein and albumin were observed while a decrease in creatinine level in serum was perceived after 30 min of envenomation. No alterations in urea levels and in kidney histology were detected in the envenomed rats. The global leukocytes count was diminished, with decrease in lymphocytes, eosinophils and neutrophils levels in the bloodstream, while no alterations were found in hematological parameters of red series in rats injected with H. lunatus venom. IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, INF-γ, TNF, IL-17A and IL-10 levels were evaluated 0.5, 3 and 6 h after experimental envenomation of mice with H. lunatus venom. From all the analyzed cytokines, only IL-6 showed an increase in serum levels. Taken together, these results point out that envenomation by H. lunatus can impair hematological and immunological parameters and therefore might be monitored in accidents involving this species.

  20. Venom from Cuban Blue Scorpion has tumor activating effect in hepatocellular carcinoma

    PubMed Central

    Giovannini, Catia; Baglioni, Michele; Baron Toaldo, Marco; Cescon, Matteo; Bolondi, Luigi; Gramantieri, Laura

    2017-01-01

    Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the term used to describe many kinds of products, practices, and systems that are not part of conventional medicine. Cancer patients usually do everything they can to combat the disease, manage its symptoms, and cope with the side effects of treatment. Unfortunately, patients who use CAM underestimate the risk of interaction with cancer therapy or worse they omit conventional therapy thus reducing the possibility of cancer remission. Herein we analyzed the effects of Vidatox 30 CH (venom extracted from the Junceus Rhopalurus scorpion) on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. We found out that Vidatox increases HCC proliferation and invasion whereas it does not seem to interact with sorafenib, the orally active multikinase inhibitor approved for the treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. Our results suggest that the concentration of Vidatox used in the present study has not anti-neoplastic effects and care must be taken in hiring Vidatox in patients with HCC. PMID:28322221

  1. Novel K(+)-channel-blocking toxins from the venom of the scorpion Centruroides limpidus limpidus Karsch.

    PubMed Central

    Martin, B M; Ramirez, A N; Gurrola, G B; Nobile, M; Prestipino, G; Possani, L D

    1994-01-01

    Two novel toxins were purified from the venom of the Mexican scorpion Centruroides limpidus limpidus, using an immunoassay based on antibodies raised against noxiustoxin (NTX), a known K(+)-channel-blocker-peptide. The primary structure of C. l. limpidus toxin 1 was obtained by Edman degradation and was shown to be composed of 38 amino acid residues, containing six half-cystines. The first 36 residues of C. l. limpidus toxin 2 were also determined. Both toxins are capable of displacing the binding of radio-labelled NTX to rat brain synaptosomes with high affinity (about 100 pM). These toxins are capable of inhibiting transient K(+)-currents (resembling IA-type currents), in cultured rat cerebellar granule cells. About 50% of the peak currents are reduced by application of a 1.5 microM solution of toxins 1 and 2 The K+ current reduction is partially reversible, under washing but not voltage-dependent. Comparison of the primary structure of C. l. limpidus toxin 1 with other known toxins shows 74% identity with margatoxin, 64% with NTX, 51% with kaliotoxin, 39% with iberiotoxin, 37% with charybdotoxin and Lq2, and 29% with leirutoxin 1. The only invariant amino acids in all these toxins are the six cysteines, a glycine in position 26 and two lysines at positions 28 and 33, respectively. The relevance of these differences in terms of possible structure-function relationships is discussed. PMID:7998956

  2. Membrane interactions and biological activity of antimicrobial peptides from Australian scorpion.

    PubMed

    Luna-Ramírez, Karen; Sani, Marc-Antoine; Silva-Sanchez, Jesus; Jiménez-Vargas, Juana María; Reyna-Flores, Fernando; Winkel, Kenneth D; Wright, Christine E; Possani, Lourival D; Separovic, Frances

    2014-09-01

    UyCT peptides are antimicrobial peptides isolated from the venom of the Australian scorpion. The activity of the UyCT peptides against Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria and red blood cells was determined. The membrane interactions of these peptides were evaluated by dye release (DR) of the fluorophore calcein from liposomes and isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC); and their secondary structure was determined by circular dichroism (CD). Three different lipid systems were used to mimic red blood cells, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus membranes. UyCT peptides exhibited broad spectrum antimicrobial activity with low MIC for S. aureus and multi-drug resistant Gram negative strains. Peptide combinations showed some synergy enhancing their potency but not hemolytic activity. The UyCT peptides adopted a helical structure in lipid environments and DR results confirmed that the mechanism of action is by disrupting the membrane. ITC data indicated that UyCT peptides preferred prokaryotic rather than eukaryotic membranes. The overall results suggest that UyCT peptides could be pharmaceutical leads for the treatment of Gram negative multiresistant bacterial infections, especially against Acinetobacter baumanni, and candidates for peptidomimetics to enhance their potency and minimize hemolysis. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Interfacially Active Peptides and Proteins. Guest Editors: William C. Wimley and Kalina Hristova.

  3. Antigenic cross-reactivity between sixteen venoms from scorpions belonging to six genera.

    PubMed

    D'Suze, G; Moncada, S; González, C; Sevcik, C; Alagón, A

    2007-01-01

    Venoms of 15 scorpion species from Venezuela and one from Brazil were compared in their antigenic cross-reactivity with specific F(ab')2 against Tityus discrepans (Td-antibodies), using the method of King and collaborators (1). Our results show that Tityus venoms cross-reactivity (shared epitopes) with the venoms of other species within the genus tended to be less for a greater distance between the habitat of the species. A nonparametric linear regression of free Td-antibody binding to T. discrepans venom immobilized to a solid phase in the presence of other Tityus venoms versus distance showed binding = a + b x log10 (distance) where: median (95% confidence interval) for a = 0.92 (7.43, 9.80) and b = 17.20 (4.15, 22.57) binding/log10(Km); Spearman rS = 0.783 with associated P = 0.006. Our results show that toxins from different Tityus species, targeting mammalian Na+ and K+ channels, are antigenically very similar. Venoms from species from other genera such as Centruroides, Broteas, Diplocentrus, Chactas, and Rhopalurus did not cross-react with Td-antibodies.

  4. Organization and behavior of the synaptonemal complex during achiasmatic meiosis of four buthid scorpions.

    PubMed

    Schneider, Marielle C; Mattos, Viviane F; Carvalho, Leonardo S; Cella, Doralice M

    2014-01-01

    Testicular cells of 4 buthid scorpions, Rhopalurus agamemnon (2n = 28), R. rochai (2n = 28), Tityus bahiensis (2n = 6), and T. fasciolatus (2n = 14), which show different types of chromosomal configurations in meiosis I, were subjected to cellular microspreading in order to (1) obtain knowledge about the organization and behavior of the synaptonemal complex (SC), and (2) acquire data about the mechanisms responsible for inter- and intraindividual chromosomal variation within Buthidae. Ultrastructural analysis of microspread nuclei revealed SCs with a well-preserved structure until late substages of prophase I, but did not detect kinetochore plates and recombination nodules. Pachytene cells of R. agamemnon, R. rochai and T. bahiensis exhibited single and unsynapsed axes continuous with totally synapsed SCs, indicating the occurrence of heterozygous chromosomal rearrangements. Although chromosome chains were not observed in T. fasciolatus, the presence of gaps and interlocks points out that this species also carries heterozygous rearrangements, involving a small chromosome segment. Especially in R. rochai, the cellular microspreading analysis was useful to clarify the origin of inter- and intraindividual variation in the number of bivalent-like elements and in the number of chromosomes involved in multivalent associations. It was found that more chromosomes were involved in rearrangements than previously established through investigations using light microscopy alone.

  5. Fluorescent protein-scorpion toxin chimera is a convenient molecular tool for studies of potassium channels

    PubMed Central

    Kuzmenkov, Alexey I.; Nekrasova, Oksana V.; Kudryashova, Kseniya S.; Peigneur, Steve; Tytgat, Jan; Stepanov, Alexey V.; Kirpichnikov, Mikhail P.; Grishin, Eugene V.; Feofanov, Alexey V.; Vassilevski, Alexander A.

    2016-01-01

    Ion channels play a central role in a host of physiological and pathological processes and are the second largest target for existing drugs. There is an increasing need for reliable tools to detect and visualize particular ion channels, but existing solutions suffer from a number of limitations such as high price, poor specificity, and complicated protocols. As an alternative, we produced recombinant chimeric constructs (FP-Tx) consisting of fluorescent proteins (FP) fused with potassium channel toxins from scorpion venom (Tx). In particular, we used two FP, eGFP and TagRFP, and two Tx, OSK1 and AgTx2, to create eGFP-OSK1 and RFP-AgTx2. We show that these chimeras largely retain the high affinity of natural toxins and display selectivity to particular ion channel subtypes. FP-Tx are displaced by other potassium channel blockers and can be used as an imaging tool in ion channel ligand screening setups. We believe FP-Tx chimeras represent a new efficient molecular tool for neurobiology. PMID:27650866

  6. A scorpion venom neurotoxin paralytic to insects that affects sodium current inactivation: Purification, primary structure, and mode of action

    SciTech Connect

    Eitan, M.; Fowler, E.; Herrmann, R.; Duval, A.; Pelhate, M.; Zlotkin, E. )

    1990-06-26

    A new toxin, Lqh alpha IT, which caused a unique mode of paralysis of blowfly larvae, was purified from the venom of the scorpion Leiurus quinquestriatus hebraeus, and its structural and pharmacological properties were compared to those of three other groups of neurotoxins found in Buthinae scorpion venoms. Like the excitatory and depressant insect-selective neurotoxins, Lqh alpha IT was highly toxic to insects, but it differed from these toxins in two important characteristics: (a) Lqh alpha IT lacked strict selectivity for insects; it was highly toxic to crustaceans and had a measurable but low toxicity to mice. (b) It did not displace an excitatory insect toxin, 125I-AaIT, from its binding sites in the insect neuronal membrane; this indicates that the binding sites for Lqh alpha IT are different from those shared by the excitatory and depressant toxins. However, in its primary structure and its effect on excitable tissues, Lqh alpha IT strongly resembled the well-characterized alpha scorpion toxins, which affect mammals. The amino acid sequence was identical with alpha toxin sequences in 55%-75% of positions. This degree of similarity is comparable to that seen among the alpha toxins themselves. Voltage- and current-clamp studies showed that Lqh alpha IT caused an extreme prolongation of the action potential in both cockroach giant axon and rat skeletal muscle preparations as a result of the slowing and incomplete inactivation of the sodium currents. These observations indicate that Lqh alpha IT is an alpha toxin which acts on insect sodium channels.

  7. Hot and not-so-hot females: reproductive state and thermal preferences of female Arizona Bark Scorpions (Centruroides sculpturatus).

    PubMed

    Webber, M M; Gibbs, A G; Rodríguez-Robles, J A

    2015-02-01

    For ectotherms, environmental temperatures influence numerous life history characteristics, and the body temperatures (Tb ) selected by individuals can affect offspring fitness and parental survival. Reproductive trade-offs may therefore ensue for gravid females, because temperatures conducive to embryonic development may compromise females' body condition. We tested whether reproduction influenced thermoregulation in female Arizona Bark Scorpions (Centruroides sculpturatus). We predicted that gravid females select higher Tb and thermoregulate more precisely than nonreproductive females. Gravid C. sculpturatus gain body mass throughout gestation, which exposes larger portions of their pleural membrane, possibly increasing their rates of transcuticular water loss in arid environments. Accordingly, we tested whether gravid C. sculpturatus lose water faster than nonreproductive females. We determined the preferred Tb of female scorpions in a thermal gradient and measured water loss rates using flow-through respirometry. Gravid females preferred significantly higher Tb than nonreproductive females, suggesting that gravid C. sculpturatus alter their thermoregulatory behaviour to promote offspring fitness. However, all scorpions thermoregulated with equal precision, perhaps because arid conditions create selective pressure on all females to thermoregulate effectively. Gravid females lost water faster than nonreproductive animals, indicating that greater exposure of the pleural membrane during gestation enhances the desiccation risk of reproductive females. Our findings suggest that gravid C. sculpturatus experience a trade-off, whereby selection of higher Tb and increased mass during gestation increase females' susceptibility to water loss, and thus their mortality risk. Elucidating the mechanisms that influence thermal preferences may reveal how reproductive trade-offs shape the life history of ectotherms in arid environments.

  8. Sound Source Localization through 8 MEMS Microphones Array Using a Sand-Scorpion-Inspired Spiking Neural Network

    PubMed Central

    Beck, Christoph; Garreau, Guillaume; Georgiou, Julius

    2016-01-01

    Sand-scorpions and many other arachnids perceive their environment by using their feet to sense ground waves. They are able to determine amplitudes the size of an atom and locate the acoustic stimuli with an accuracy of within 13° based on their neuronal anatomy. We present here a prototype sound source localization system, inspired from this impressive performance. The system presented utilizes custom-built hardware with eight MEMS microphones, one for each foot, to acquire the acoustic scene, and a spiking neural model to localize the sound source. The current implementation shows smaller localization error than those observed in nature. PMID:27833526

  9. Modeling of spatial distribution for scorpions of medical importance in the São Paulo State, Brazil

    PubMed Central

    Brites-Neto, José; Duarte, Keila Maria Roncato

    2015-01-01

    Aim: In this work, we aimed to develop maps of modeling geographic distribution correlating to environmental suitability for the two species of scorpions of medical importance at São Paulo State and to develop spatial configuration parameters for epidemiological surveillance of these species of venomous animals. Materials and Methods: In this study, 54 georeferenced points for Tityus serrulatus and 86 points for Tityus bahiensis and eight environmental indicators, were used to generate species distribution models in Maxent (maximum entropy modeling of species geographic distributions) version 3.3.3k using 70% of data for training (n=38 to T. serrulatus and n=60 to T. bahiensis) and 30% to test the models (n=16 for T. serrulatus and n=26 for T. bahiensis). The logistic threshold used to cut models in converting the continuous probability model into a binary model was the “maximum test sensitivity plus specificity,” provided by Maxent, with results of 0.4143 to T. serrulatus and of 0.3401 to T. bahiensis. The models were evaluated by the area under the curve (AUC), using the omission error and the binomial probability. With the data generated by Maxent, distribution maps were produced using the “ESRI® ArcGIS 10.2.2 for Desktop” software. Results: The models had high predictive success (AUC=0.7698±0.0533, omission error=0.2467 and p<0.001 for T. serrulatus and AUC=0.8205±0.0390, omission error=0.1917 and p<0.001 for T. bahiensis) and the resultant maps showed a high environmental suitability in the north, central, and southeast of the state, confirming the increasing spread of these species. The environmental variables that mostly contributed to the scorpions species distribution model were rain precipitation (28.9%) and tree cover (28.2%) for the T. serrulatus and temperature (45.8%) and thermal amplitude (12.6%) for the T. bahiensis. Conclusion: The distribution model of these species of medical importance scorpions in São Paulo State revealed a higher

  10. Ecophysiological adaptations to dry thermal environments measured in two unrestrained Namibian scorpions, Parabuthus villosus (Buthidae) and Opisthophthalmus flavescens (Scorpionidae).

    PubMed

    Bridges, C R; le Roux, J M; van Aardt, W J

    1997-01-01

    The daily changes in body temperature experienced by Parabuthus villosus (Buthidae), a scorpion found on the gravel plains around Gobabeb, Namibia, and by Opisthophthalmus flavescens (Scorpionidae), a dune-dwelling species from the same area, were measured under similar field conditions. Thermocouples implanted under the segments of the mesosoma measured maximum temperatures as high as 43 degrees C in the shade. Air temperatures reached a maximum of 33 degrees C during the daytime and a minimum of 12 degrees C at night. Very low metabolic rates compared with those of other nonsedentary invertebrates were recorded in both species; oxygen consumption ranged from 8 microL g-1 h-1 at 16 degrees C to 115 microL g-1 h-1 at 40 degrees C. A pulsed Doppler system was used to measure heart rate in situ in free-moving scorpions. At night, heart rate declined to about 4 beats min-1 in resting undisturbed scorpions. During daylight excursions and while scorpions hunted for food, heart rates as high as 180 beats min-1 were observed. Heart rate was linearly correlated with temperature in P. villosus, with a slope of 2.37 (Q10 = 2.18), but in O. flavescens only a limited correlation was observed, with a slope of 1.18 (Q10 = 1.69). In O. flavescens, heart rate showed hysteresis as body temperature rose during daylight and then decreased during the late afternoon and evening; the reverse was observed in P. villosus. In both species, haemocyanin-oxygen affinity was independent of temperature, with a higher oxygen affinity and a larger pH sensitivity in O. flavescens. The Q10's of oxygen consumption and heart rate are quite different in O. flavescens but not as different in P. villosus. Although changes in the cardiovascular system, such as stroke volume, may also play a role in meeting increased oxygen demand, the features of the haemocyanin oxygen transport system, such as the absence of temperature sensitivity and a marked pH sensitivity, can also influence the maintenance of VO2

  11. Understanding traditional African healing

    PubMed Central

    MOKGOBI, M.G.

    2015-01-01

    Traditional African healing has been in existence for many centuries yet many people still seem not to understand how it relates to God and religion/spirituality. Some people seem to believe that traditional healers worship the ancestors and not God. It is therefore the aim of this paper to clarify this relationship by discussing a chain of communication between the worshipers and the Almighty God. Other aspects of traditional healing namely types of traditional healers, training of traditional healers as well as the role of traditional healers in their communities are discussed. In conclusion, the services of traditional healers go far beyond the uses of herbs for physical illnesses. Traditional healers serve many roles which include but not limited to custodians of the traditional African religion and customs, educators about culture, counselors, social workers and psychologists. PMID:26594664

  12. Ectoparasites of African Mammals.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1976-11-30

    This study consisted of ectoparasites from approximately 100,000 African small mammals, representing probably more than 500 species of which many are...study of ectoparasites may provide information concerning interactions among animal reservoirs of disease, and (3) an understanding of ecological...parameters for ectoparasites and their hosts may enhance understanding of epidemiological patterns. Of the four major groups dealt with, considerably more

  13. Diversity among African Pygmies

    PubMed Central

    Ramírez Rozzi, Fernando V.; Sardi, Marina L.

    2010-01-01

    Although dissimilarities in cranial and post-cranial morphology among African pygmies groups have been recognized, comparative studies on skull morphology usually pull all pygmies together assuming that morphological characters are similar among them and different with respect to other populations. The main aim of this study is to compare cranial morphology between African pygmies and non-pygmies populations from Equatorial Africa derived from both the Eastern and the Western regions in order to test if the greatest morphological difference is obtained in the comparison between pygmies and non-pygmies. Thirty three-dimensional (3D) landmarks registered with Microscribe in four cranial samples (Western and Eastern pygmies and non-pygmies) were obtained. Multivariate analysis (generalized Procrustes analysis, Mahalanobis distances, multivariate regression) and complementary dimensions of size were evaluated with ANOVA and post hoc LSD. Results suggest that important cranial shape differentiation does occur between pygmies and non-pygmies but also between Eastern and Western populations and that size changes and allometries do not affect similarly Eastern and Western pygmies. Therefore, our findings raise serious doubt about the fact to consider African pygmies as a homogenous group in studies on skull morphology. Differences in cranial morphology among pygmies would suggest differentiation after divergence. Although not directly related to skull differentiation, the diversity among pygmies would probably suggest that the process responsible for reduced stature occurred after the split of the ancestors of modern Eastern and Western pygmies. PMID:21049030

  14. Human African trypanosomiasis.

    PubMed

    Lejon, Veerle; Bentivoglio, Marina; Franco, José Ramon

    2013-01-01

    Human African trypanosomiasis or sleeping sickness is a neglected tropical disease that affects populations in sub-Saharan Africa. The disease is caused by infection with the gambiense and rhodesiense subspecies of the extracellular parasite Trypanosoma brucei, and is transmitted to humans by bites of infected tsetse flies. The disease evolves in two stages, the hemolymphatic and meningoencephalitic stages, the latter being defined by central nervous system infection after trypanosomal traversal of the blood-brain barrier. African trypanosomiasis, which leads to severe neuroinflammation, is fatal without treatment, but the available drugs are toxic and complicated to administer. The choice of medication is determined by the infecting parasite subspecies and disease stage. Clinical features include a constellation of nonspecific symptoms and signs with evolving neurological and psychiatric alterations and characteristic sleep-wake disturbances. Because of the clinical profile variability and insidiously progressive central nervous system involvement, disease staging is currently based on cerebrospinal fluid examination, which is usually performed after the finding of trypanosomes in blood or other body fluids. No vaccine being available, control of human African trypanosomiasis relies on diagnosis and treatment of infected patients, assisted by vector control. Better diagnostic tools and safer, easy to use drugs are needed to facilitate elimination of the disease.

  15. Cloning and characterization of a novel calcium channel toxin-like gene BmCa1 from Chinese scorpion Mesobuthus martensii Karsch.

    PubMed

    Zhijian, Cao; Yun, Xie; Chao, Dai; Shunyi, Zhu; Shijin, Yin; Yingliang, Wu; Wenxin, Li

    2006-06-01

    Many studies have been carried on peptides and genes encoding scorpion toxins from the venom of Mesobuthus martensii Karsch (synonym: Buthus martensii Karsch, BmK), such as Na+, K+ and Cl- channel modulators. In this study, a novel calcium channel toxin-like gene BmCa1 was isolated and characterized from the venom of Mesobuthus martensii Karsch. First, a partial cDNA sequence of the Ca2+ channel toxin-like gene was identified by random sequencing method from a venomous gland cDNA library of Mesobuthus martensii Karsch. The full-length sequence of BmCa1 was then obtained by 5'RACE technique. The peptide deduced from BmCa1 precursor nucleotide sequence contains a 27-residue signal peptide and a 37-residue mature peptide. Although BmCa1 and other scorpion toxins are different at the gene and protein primary structure levels, BmCa1 has the same precursor nucleotide organization and cysteine arrangement as that of the first subfamily members of calcium channel scorpion toxins. Genomic DNA sequence of BmCa1 was also cloned by PCR. Sequence analysis showed that BmCa1 gene consists of three exons separated by two introns of 72 bp and 1076 bp in length, respectively. BmCa1 is the first calcium channel toxin-like gene cloned from the venom of Mesobuthus martensii Karsch and potentially represents a novel class of calcium channel toxins in scorpion venoms.

  16. Comparative morphology of the hemolymph vascular system in scorpions--a survey using corrosion casting, MicroCT, and 3D-reconstruction.

    PubMed

    Wirkner, Christian S; Prendini, Lorenzo

    2007-05-01

    Although scorpions are one of the better known groups of Arthropoda, detailed knowledge of their anatomy remains superficial. This contribution presents the first comprehensive investigation of the gross morphology of the scorpion vascular system, based on a survey of species representing all major lineages of the order, using classical and modern non-destructive techniques in combination with three-dimensional reconstruction. The investigation reveals that the hemolymph vascular system (HVS) of Scorpiones comprises a central pumping heart which extends the entire length of the mesosoma and is enclosed in a pericardium. Several arteries branch off the heart to supply different organs and body regions. Two different anterior aorta major branching patterns are identified among the species investigated. Arteries that branch off the anterior aorta system supply the appendages (chelicerae, pedipalps, and walking legs) and the central nerve mass with a complex arterial network. This study of the HVS of scorpions provides further evidence that the vascular systems of euarthropods can be highly complex. Use of the term "open circulatory system" within arthropods is re-emphasized, as it refers to the general organization of the body cavity (i.e. mixocoely) rather than to the complexity of the circulatory system.

  17. East African Rift Valley, Kenya

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1990-01-01

    This rare, cloud free view of the East African Rift Valley, Kenya (1.5N, 35.5E) shows a clear view of the Turkwell River Valley, an offshoot of the African REift System. The East African Rift is part of a vast plate fracture which extends from southern Turkey, through the Red Sea, East Africa and into Mozambique. Dark green patches of forests are seen along the rift margin and tea plantations occupy the cooler higher ground.

  18. Chemical engineering and structural and pharmacological characterization of the α-scorpion toxin OD1.

    PubMed

    Durek, Thomas; Vetter, Irina; Wang, Ching-I Anderson; Motin, Leonid; Knapp, Oliver; Adams, David J; Lewis, Richard J; Alewood, Paul F

    2013-01-01

    Scorpion α-toxins are invaluable pharmacological tools for studying voltage-gated sodium channels, but few structure-function studies have been undertaken due to their challenging synthesis. To address this deficiency, we report a chemical engineering strategy based upon native chemical ligation. The chemical synthesis of α-toxin OD1 was achieved by chemical ligation of three unprotected peptide segments. A high resolution X-ray structure (1.8 Å) of synthetic OD1 showed the typical βαββ α-toxin fold and revealed important conformational differences in the pharmacophore region when compared with other α-toxin structures. Pharmacological analysis of synthetic OD1 revealed potent α-toxin activity (inhibition of fast inactivation) at Nav1.7, as well as Nav1.4 and Nav1.6. In addition, OD1 also produced potent β-toxin activity at Nav1.4 and Nav1.6 (shift of channel activation in the hyperpolarizing direction), indicating that OD1 might interact at more than one site with Nav1.4 and Nav1.6. Investigation of nine OD1 mutants revealed that three residues in the reverse turn contributed significantly to selectivity, with the triple OD1 mutant (D9K, D10P, K11H) being 40-fold more selective for Nav1.7 over Nav1.6, while OD1 K11V was 5-fold more selective for Nav1.6 than Nav1.7. This switch in selectivity highlights the importance of the reverse turn for engineering α-toxins with altered selectivity at Nav subtypes.

  19. Exploiting Cross-reactivity to Neutralize Two Different Scorpion Venoms with One Single Chain Antibody Fragment*

    PubMed Central

    Riaño-Umbarila, Lidia; Contreras-Ferrat, Gabriel; Olamendi-Portugal, Timoteo; Morelos-Juárez, Citlalli; Corzo, Gerardo; Possani, Lourival D.; Becerril, Baltazar

    2011-01-01

    We report the optimization of a family of human single chain antibody fragments (scFv) for neutralizing two scorpion venoms. The parental scFv 3F recognizes the main toxins of Centruroides noxius Hoffmann (Cn2) and Centruroides suffusus suffusus (Css2), albeit with low affinity. This scFv was subjected to independent processes of directed evolution to improve its recognition toward Cn2 (Riaño-Umbarila, L., Juárez-González, V. R., Olamendi-Portugal, T., Ortíz-León, M., Possani, L. D., and Becerril, B. (2005) FEBS J. 272, 2591–2601) and Css2 (this work). Each evolved variant showed strong cross-reactivity against several toxins, and was capable of neutralizing Cn2 and Css2. Furthermore, each variant neutralized the whole venoms of the above species. As far as we know, this is the first report of antibodies with such characteristics. Maturation processes revealed key residue changes to attain expression, stability, and affinity improvements as compared with the parental scFv. Combination of these changes resulted in the scFv LR, which is capable of rescuing mice from severe envenomation by 3 LD50 of freshly prepared whole venom of C. noxius (7.5 μg/20 g of mouse) and C. suffusus (26.25 μg/20 g of mouse), with surviving rates between 90 and 100%. Our research is leading to the formulation of an antivenom consisting of a discrete number of human scFvs endowed with strong cross-reactivity and low immunogenicity. PMID:21156801

  20. Caves as microrefugia: Pleistocene phylogeography of the troglophilic North American scorpion Pseudouroctonus reddelli

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Survival in microrefugia represents an important paradigm in phylogeography for explaining rapid postglacial re-colonization by species in temperate regions. Microrefugia may allow populations to persist in areas where the climatic conditions on the surface have become unfavourable. Caves generally contain stable microclimates and may represent microrefugia for species capable of exploiting both cave and surface habitats (troglophiles). We examine the phylogeography of the troglophilic North American vaejovid scorpion Pseudouroctonus reddelli using 1,993 base pairs of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data generated from 12 populations. We use (i) descriptive measures of genetic diversity and population genetics statistics, (ii) reconstructions of phylogeographical structure, spatial diffusion during diversification, and population sizes through time, and (iii) species distribution modelling to test predictions of the hypothesis that caves serve as microrefugia. We compare phylogeographical patterns in P. reddelli with other troglophilic species across the Edwards Plateau karst region of Texas. Results Results revealed high haplotype and nucleotide diversity and substantial phylogeographical structure, probably generated during the Pleistocene. Spatial diffusion occurred along the southern edge of the Edwards Plateau from multiple refugia along the Balcones Escarpment. There was little evidence for population and geographical expansion. Species distribution models predicted substantial reductions in suitable epigean habitat for P. reddelli at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Conclusions High genetic diversity, strong phylogeographical structure, diffusion from multiple refugia, and unfavourable climatic conditions at the LGM collectively support the hypothesis that caves served as microrefugia for P. reddelli. Similar patterns of genetic structure in P. reddelli and other troglophilic species across the Edwards Plateau karst region of Texas suggest

  1. Venom from Opisthacanthus elatus scorpion of Colombia, could be more hemolytic and less neurotoxic than thought.

    PubMed

    Estrada-Gómez, Sebastián; Vargas Muñoz, Leidy Johana; Saldarriaga-Córdoba, Mónica; Quintana Castillo, Juan Carlos

    2016-01-01

    We report the first biochemical, biological, pharmacological and partial proteomic characterization studies of the Opisthancanthus elatus venom (Gervais, 1844) from Colombia. The Reverse Phase High-Performance Liquid Chromatography venom profile showed 28 main well-defined peaks, most eluting between 20 and 45min (18-30% of acetonitrile, respectively). High-resolution mass analysis indicates the presence of 106 components ranging from 806.59742Da to 16849.4139Da. O. elatus venom showed hemolytic activity and hydrolyzed the specific substrate BapNa suggesting the presence of proteins with serine-protease activity. Collected RP-HPLC fractions eluting at 52.6, 55.5, 55.8, 56.2, and 63.9min (PLA2 region between 33 and 40% of acetonitrile), showed hemolytic activity and hydrolyzed the synthetic substrate 4-nitro-3-octanoyloxy-benzoic acid, indicating the presence of compounds with phospholipases A2 activity. These RP-HPLC fractions, showed molecular masses values up to 13978.19546Da, corroborating the possible presence of the mentioned enzymes. Tryptic digestion and MS/MS analysis showed the presence of a phospholipase like fragment, similar to on described in other Opisthacanthus genus studies. No coagulant activity was observed. No larvicidal or antimicrobial activity was observed at concentrations evaluated. Lethal and toxic activity is expected at doses above 100mg/kg, no neurotoxic effects were detected at lower doses. In conclusion, O. elatus exhibits a venom with a predominant phospholipase A2 activity than thought; mammal's neurotoxic activity is expected above the 100mg/kg, which is very high compared to the venom from other neurotoxic scorpions.

  2. Exploiting cross-reactivity to neutralize two different scorpion venoms with one single chain antibody fragment.

    PubMed

    Riaño-Umbarila, Lidia; Contreras-Ferrat, Gabriel; Olamendi-Portugal, Timoteo; Morelos-Juárez, Citlalli; Corzo, Gerardo; Possani, Lourival D; Becerril, Baltazar

    2011-02-25

    We report the optimization of a family of human single chain antibody fragments (scFv) for neutralizing two scorpion venoms. The parental scFv 3F recognizes the main toxins of Centruroides noxius Hoffmann (Cn2) and Centruroides suffusus suffusus (Css2), albeit with low affinity. This scFv was subjected to independent processes of directed evolution to improve its recognition toward Cn2 (Riaño-Umbarila, L., Juárez-González, V. R., Olamendi-Portugal, T., Ortíz-León, M., Possani, L. D., and Becerril, B. (2005) FEBS J. 272, 2591-2601) and Css2 (this work). Each evolved variant showed strong cross-reactivity against several toxins, and was capable of neutralizing Cn2 and Css2. Furthermore, each variant neutralized the whole venoms of the above species. As far as we know, this is the first report of antibodies with such characteristics. Maturation processes revealed key residue changes to attain expression, stability, and affinity improvements as compared with the parental scFv. Combination of these changes resulted in the scFv LR, which is capable of rescuing mice from severe envenomation by 3 LD(50) of freshly prepared whole venom of C. noxius (7.5 μg/20 g of mouse) and C. suffusus (26.25 μg/20 g of mouse), with surviving rates between 90 and 100%. Our research is leading to the formulation of an antivenom consisting of a discrete number of human scFvs endowed with strong cross-reactivity and low immunogenicity.

  3. Mapping the receptor site for α-scorpion toxins on a Na+ channel voltage sensor

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Jinti; Yarov-Yarovoy, Vladimir; Kahn, Roy; Gordon, Dalia; Gurevitz, Michael; Scheuer, Todd; Catterall, William A.

    2011-01-01

    The α-scorpions toxins bind to the resting state of Na+ channels and inhibit fast inactivation by interaction with a receptor site formed by domains I and IV. Mutants T1560A, F1610A, and E1613A in domain IV had lower affinities for Leiurus quinquestriatus hebraeus toxin II (LqhII), and mutant E1613R had ∼73-fold lower affinity. Toxin dissociation was accelerated by depolarization and increased by these mutations, whereas association rates at negative membrane potentials were not changed. These results indicate that Thr1560 in the S1-S2 loop, Phe1610 in the S3 segment, and Glu1613 in the S3-S4 loop in domain IV participate in toxin binding. T393A in the SS2-S6 loop in domain I also had lower affinity for LqhII, indicating that this extracellular loop may form a secondary component of the receptor site. Analysis with the Rosetta-Membrane algorithm resulted in a model of LqhII binding to the voltage sensor in a resting state, in which amino acid residues in an extracellular cleft formed by the S1-S2 and S3-S4 loops in domain IV interact with two faces of the wedge-shaped LqhII molecule. The conserved gating charges in the S4 segment are in an inward position and form ion pairs with negatively charged amino acid residues in the S2 and S3 segments of the voltage sensor. This model defines the structure of the resting state of a voltage sensor of Na+ channels and reveals its mode of interaction with a gating modifier toxin. PMID:21876146

  4. An engineered scorpion toxin analogue with improved Kv1.3 selectivity displays reduced conformational flexibility

    PubMed Central

    Bartok, Adam; Fehér, Krisztina; Bodor, Andrea; Rákosi, Kinga; Tóth, Gábor K.; Kövér, Katalin E.; Panyi, Gyorgy; Varga, Zoltan

    2015-01-01

    The voltage-gated Kv1.3 K+ channel plays a key role in the activation of T lymphocytes. Kv1.3 blockers selectively suppress immune responses mediated by effector memory T cells, which indicates the great potential of selective Kv1.3 inhibitors in the therapy of certain autoimmune diseases. Anuroctoxin (AnTx), a 35-amino-acid scorpion toxin is a high affinity blocker of Kv1.3, but also blocks Kv1.2 with similar potency. We designed and produced three AnTx variants: ([F32T]-AnTx, [N17A]-AnTx, [N17A/F32T]-AnTx) using solid-phase synthesis with the goal of improving the selectivity of the toxin for Kv1.3 over Kv1.2 while keeping the high affinity for Kv1.3. We used the patch-clamp technique to determine the blocking potency of the synthetic toxins on hKv1.3, mKv1.1, hKv1.2 and hKCa3.1 channels. Of the three variants [N17A/F32T]-AnTx maintained the high affinity of the natural peptide for Kv1.3 but became more than 16000-fold selective over Kv1.2. NMR data and molecular dynamics simulations suggest that the more rigid structure with restricted conformational space of the double substituted toxin compared to the flexible wild-type one is an important determinant of toxin selectivity. Our results provide the foundation for the possibility of the production and future therapeutic application of additional, even more selective toxins targeting various ion channels. PMID:26689143

  5. Localization of epitopes in the toxins of Tityus serrulatus scorpions and neutralizing potential of therapeutic antivenoms.

    PubMed

    Maria, W S; Velarde, D T; Alvarenga, L M; Nguyen, C; Villard, S; Granier, C; Chávez-Olórtegui, C

    2005-08-01

    Overlapping pentadecapeptides covering the complete amino acid sequence of TsII, TsVII and TsIV toxins from the venom of scorpion Tityus serrulatus (Ts), were prepared by use of the Spot method of multiple peptide synthesis. Horse anti-Ts antisera for therapeutic use were tested for their binding to peptides. All nine antisera tested showed reactivity with several peptides from the three toxins. Three antigenic regions, one in the very N-terminal, the second in the central part and the other in the C-terminal part of the three toxins were frequently, but not constantly recognized, with an intensity that seemed to be related to the neutralizing potency of the tested antivenom. Thus the corresponding peptides (residues 1-15 and 48-62 of TsII; residues 1-15, 16-30 and 48-62 of TsIV and residues 1-15 and 47-61 of TsVII) were synthesized, coupled to KLH and used as antigens to coat the microtitration plates to determine any relationship between their ELISA reactivity with therapeutic horse antivenoms and the neutralizing potential of these antivenoms. The mixture of the N-terminal peptide of TsII, of the N-terminal TsVII peptide and of the C-terminal of TsIV was found to give a linear relationship with the neutralizing titer of horse serum of low neutralizing potency (< or =1 mg/ml). However, high neutralizing antivenoms did not show the expected response in peptide ELISA. This observation is discussed in the context of the occurrence of continuous and discontinuous epitopes on toxins.

  6. High chromosome variability and the presence of multivalent associations in buthid scorpions.

    PubMed

    Mattos, Viviane Fagundes; Cella, Doralice Maria; Carvalho, Leonardo Sousa; Candido, Denise Maria; Schneider, Marielle Cristina

    2013-04-01

    In this study, we investigated the mitotic and meiotic chromosomes of 11 Buthidae scorpion species, belonging to three genera (Ananteris, Rhopalurus and Tityus), to obtain detailed knowledge regarding the mechanisms underlying the intraspecific and/or interspecific diversity of chromosome number and the origin of the complex chromosome associations observed during meiosis. The chromosomes of all species did not exhibit a localised centromere region and presented synaptic and achiasmatic behaviour during meiosis I. Spermatogonial and/or oogonial metaphase cells of these buthids showed diploid numbers range from 2n = 6 to 2n = 28. In most species, multivalent chromosome associations were observed in pachytene and postpachytene nuclei. Moreover, intraspecific variability associated with the presence or absence of chromosome chains and the number of chromosomes in the complex meiotic configurations was observed in some species of these three genera. Silver-impregnated cells revealed that the number and location of nucleolar organiser regions (NORs) remained unchanged despite extensive chromosome variation; notably, two NORs located on the terminal or subterminal chromosome regions were commonly observed for all species. C-banded and fluorochrome-stained cells showed that species with conspicuous blocks of heterochromatin exhibited the lowest rate of chromosomal rearrangement. Based on the investigation of mitotic and meiotic cells, we determined that the intraspecific variability occurred as a consequence of fission/fusion-type chromosomal rearrangements in Ananteris and Tityus species and reciprocal translocation in Rhopalurus species. Furthermore, we verified that individuals presenting the same diploid number differ in structural chromosome organisation, giving rise to intraspecific differences of chromosome association in meiotic cells (bivalent-like elements or chromosome chains).

  7. General characterization of Tityus fasciolatus scorpion venom. Molecular identification of toxins and localization of linear B-cell epitopes.

    PubMed

    Mendes, T M; Guimarães-Okamoto, P T C; Machado-de-Avila, R A; Oliveira, D; Melo, M M; Lobato, Z I; Kalapothakis, E; Chávez-Olórtegui, C

    2015-06-01

    This communication describes the general characteristics of the venom from the Brazilian scorpion Tityus fasciolatus, which is an endemic species found in the central Brazil (States of Goiás and Minas Gerais), being responsible for sting accidents in this area. The soluble venom obtained from this scorpion is toxic to mice being the LD50 is 2.984 mg/kg (subcutaneally). SDS-PAGE of the soluble venom resulted in 10 fractions ranged in size from 6 to 10-80 kDa. Sheep were employed for anti-T. fasciolatus venom serum production. Western blotting analysis showed that most of these venom proteins are immunogenic. T. fasciolatus anti-venom revealed consistent cross-reactivity with venom antigens from Tityus serrulatus. Using known primers for T. serrulatus toxins, we have identified three toxins sequences from T. fasciolatus venom. Linear epitopes of these toxins were localized and fifty-five overlapping pentadecapeptides covering complete amino acid sequence of the three toxins were synthesized in cellulose membrane (spot-synthesis technique). The epitopes were located on the 3D structures and some important residues for structure/function were identified.

  8. Cloning and characterization of BmK86, a novel K{sup +}-channel blocker from scorpion venom

    SciTech Connect

    Mao, Xin; Cao, Zhijian; Yin, Shijin; Ma, Yibao; Wu, Yingliang; Li, Wenxin . E-mail: liwxlab@whu.edu.cn

    2007-09-07

    Scorpion venom represents a tremendous hitherto unexplored resource for understanding ion channels. BmK86 is a novel K{sup +}-channel toxin gene isolated from a cDNA library of Mesobuthus martensii Karsch, which encodes a signal peptide of 22 amino acid residues and a mature toxin of 35 residues with three disulfide bridges. The genomic sequence of BmK86 consists of two exons disrupted by an intron of 72 bp. Comparison with the other scorpion toxins BmK86 shows low sequence similarity. The GST-BmK86 fusion protein was successfully expressed in Escherichia coli. The fusion protein was cleaved by enterokinase and the recombinant BmK86 was purified by HPLC. Using whole-cell patch-clamp recording, the recombinant BmK86 was found to inhibit the potassium current of mKv1.3 channel expressed in COS7 cells. These results indicated that BmK86 belongs to a representative member of a novel subfamily of {alpha}-KTxs. The systematic number assigned to BmK86 is {alpha}-KTx26.1.

  9. Isolation and primary structure of a potent toxin from the venom of the scorpion Centruroides sculpturatus Ewing.

    PubMed

    Pete, M J; Conlon, J M; Murphy, R F

    1992-12-01

    A potent toxin has been purified from the venom of the scorpion Centruroides sculpturatus Ewing using the ion-exchange resin CM-Sepharose CL-6B at basic pH. The toxin, designated CsE M1, comprised 65 amino acid residues and its primary structure was established as: Lys-Glu-Gly-Tyr-Leu-Val-Asn-Ser-Tyr-Thr10-Gly-Cys-Lys-Tyr-Glu-Cys- Leu-Lys-Leu- Gly20-Asp-Asn-Asp-Tyr-Cys-Leu-Arg-Glu-Cys-Arg30-Gln-Gln-Tyr- Gly-Lys-Ser-Gly-Gly - Tyr-Cys40-Tyr-Ala-Phe-Ala-Cys-Trp-Cys-Thr-His-Leu50-Tyr-Glu- Gln-Ala-Val-Val-Trp - Pro-Leu-Pro60-Asn-Lys-Thr-Cys-Asn. CsE M1 is the most lethal protein to be identified in C. sculpturatus venom and the LD50 of the toxin, determined by subcutaneous injection into Swiss mice, is 87 micrograms/kg. CsE M1 shows strong structural similarity (92% positional identity) to the most potent beta-toxin, Css II, from the Mexican scorpion, Centruroides suffusus suffusus but is quite dissimilar to the previously characterized toxins with low potency isolated from C. sculpturatus Ewing.

  10. Isolation and molecular cloning of beta-neurotoxins from the venom of the scorpion Centruroides suffusus suffusus.

    PubMed

    Espino-Solis, Gerardo Pavel; Estrada, Georgina; Olamendi-Portugal, Timoteo; Villegas, Elba; Zamudio, Fernando; Cestele, Sandrine; Possani, Lourival D; Corzo, Gerardo

    2011-04-01

    This communication reports the identification and characterization of two new toxins from the venom of the scorpion Centruroides suffusus suffusus, named: CssVIII and CssIX, according to the original nomenclature of toxins previously described for this scorpion. The isolation was obtained by means of two chromatographic steps, and a cDNA library was used to fully identify their precursors. CssVIII and CssIX contain signal peptides of 19 and 17 amino acid residues, and mature peptides of 66 and 65 residues, respectively. Intracranial injections into mice of both purified toxins showed toxicity results similar to those found for toxins CssII and CssIV. Additionally, they compete with the parent toxin CssIV, in binding and displacement experiments, conducted with brain synaptosomes showing nanomolar affinities. These results strongly support the conclusion that they are new β-neurotoxins and certainly would be of the interest of researchers in the field of venomics for studying sodium channels.

  11. Genomic organization of four novel nondisulfide-bridged peptides from scorpion Mesobuthus martensii Karsch: gaining insight into evolutionary mechanism.

    PubMed

    Luo, Feng; Zeng, Xian-Chun; Hahin, Richard; Cao, Zhi-Jian; Liu, Hui; Li, Wen-Xin

    2005-12-01

    At least 25 nondisulfide-bridged peptides (NDBPs) have been identified and characterized from scorpions. However, the genomic organization of the genes that encode these peptides have not been reported yet. BmKa1, BmKa2 and BmKb1 are three novel genes that code for NDBPs identified by our group from Mesobuthus martensii Karsch. Based on their cDNA sequences, the genomic DNA sequences encoding these peptides were obtained using the PCR method. Sequence analysis showed that three distinct genomic structural patterns are used to encode these three peptides. The BmKa1 gene is not interrupted by any introns. However, the BmKa2 gene is composed of two exons, interrupted by a 67 bp intron that is located in the DNA region encoding the mature peptide. Two genomic homologues of the BmKb1 cDNA sequence, named BmKb1' and BmKb2, respectively, were obtained. The BmKb1' gene contains one intron of 593 bp, inserted into the DNA region that encodes the signal peptide. Similarly, the BmKb2 gene also contains an intron that interrupts the exon that encodes the NDBP signal peptide. The amino acid sequences deduced for BmKb2 and BmKb1' differ only at one position. The data suggest that the genomic organizational pattern of NDBPs displays more divergence than that exhibited by the genes that encode disulfide-bridged peptides from scorpions.

  12. Comparison of antimicrobial activities of newly obtained low molecular weight scorpion chitosan and medium molecular weight commercial chitosan.

    PubMed

    Kaya, Murat; Asan-Ozusaglam, Meltem; Erdogan, Sevil

    2016-06-01

    In this study the antimicrobial activity of low molecular weight (3.22 kDa) chitosan, obtained for the first time from a species belonging to the Scorpiones, was screened against nine pathogenic microorganisms (seven bacteria and two yeasts) and compared with that of medium molecular weight commercial chitosan (MMWCC). It was observed that the antimicrobial activity of the low molecular weight scorpion chitosan (LMWSC) was specific to bacterial species in general rather than gram-negative or gram-positive bacterial groups. It was also determined that LMWSC had a stronger inhibitory effect than the MMWCC, particularly on the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes and the yeast Candida albicans, which are important pathogens for public health. In addition, it was recorded that the MMWCC had a greater inhibitory effect on Bacillus subtilis than LMWSC. According to the results obtained by the disc diffusion method, the antibacterial activity of both LMWSC and MMWCC against B. subtilis and Salmonella enteritidis was higher than the widely used antibiotic Gentamicin (CN, 10 μg/disc).

  13. Temperature dependence of water loss rates in scorpions and its effect on the distribution of Buthotus judaicus (Buthidae) in Israel.

    PubMed

    Gefen, Eran; Ar, Amos

    2006-05-01

    Scorpions of the family Buthidae have been shown to be more desiccation resistant in comparison with sympatric Scorpionidae species. This has been attributed to the surface-dwelling existence of the former, which unlike most other scorpion species do not avoid environmental extremes by burrowing. Still, within Buthidae, the mesic Buthotus judaicus showed better osmoregulatory capacities than the xeric Leiurus quinquestriatus, largely as a result of its high resistance to water loss. However, B. judaicus exhibited poor ability to regulate its haemolymph osmolarity at 37 degrees C. In this study we report a sharp increase in water loss rates of B. judaicus at the 30-35 degrees C temperature range compared to that measured for L. quinquestriatus, which could explain the poor osmoregulatory performance of the former at higher ambient temperatures. The increase in water loss rates of B. judaicus at high temperatures is not coupled with a similar increase in respiratory rate, suggesting an increase in cuticular permeability. We suggest that this increase in cuticular permeability, which may result from a relatively low critical transition temperature, contributes to limiting the distribution of B. judaicus to habitats of moderate environmental conditions.

  14. The solution structure of BmTx3B, a member of the scorpion toxin subfamily alpha-KTx 16.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yuefeng; Chen, Xiang; Zhang, Naixia; Wu, Gong; Wu, Houming

    2005-02-01

    This article reports the solution structure of BmTx3B (alpha-KTx16.2), a potassium channel blocker belonging to the subfamily alpha-KTx16, purified from the venom of the Chinese scorpion Buthus martensi Karsch. In solution, BmTx3B assumes a typical CSalphabeta motif, with an alpha-helix connected to a triple-stranded beta-sheet by 3 disulfide bridges, which belongs to the first structural group of short-chain scorpion toxins. On the other hand, BmTx3B is quite different from other toxins (such as ChTx and AgTx2) of this group in terms of the electrostatic and hydrophobic surface distribution. The functional surface (beta-face) of the molecule is characterized by less basic residues (only 2: Lys28 and Arg35) and extra aromatic residues (Phe1, Phe9, Trp15, and Tyr37). The peptide shows a great preference for the Kca1.1 channel over the Kv channel (about a 10(3)-fold difference). The model of BmTx3B/Kca1.1 channel complex generated by docking and dynamic simulation reveals that the stable binding between the BmTx3B and Kca1.1 channel is favored by a number of aromatic pi-pi stacking interactions. The influences of these structural features on the kinetic behavior of the toxin binding to Kca1.1 channel are also discussed.

  15. Biochemical, Transcriptomic and Proteomic Analyses of Digestion in the Scorpion Tityus serrulatus: Insights into Function and Evolution of Digestion in an Ancient Arthropod

    PubMed Central

    Fuzita, Felipe J.; Pinkse, Martijn W. H.; Patane, José S. L.; Juliano, Maria A.; Verhaert, Peter D. E. M.; Lopes, Adriana R.

    2015-01-01

    Scorpions are among the oldest terrestrial arthropods and they have passed through small morphological changes during their evolutionary history on land. They are efficient predators capable of capturing and consuming large preys and due to envenomation these animals can become a human health challenge. Understanding the physiology of scorpions can not only lead to evolutionary insights but also is a crucial step in the development of control strategies. However, the digestive process in scorpions has been scarcely studied. In this work, we describe the combinatory use of next generation sequencing, proteomic analysis and biochemical assays in order to investigate the digestive process in the yellow scorpion Tityus serrulatus, mainly focusing in the initial protein digestion. The transcriptome generated database allowed the quantitative identification by mass spectrometry of different enzymes and proteins involved in digestion. All the results suggested that cysteine cathepsins play an important role in protein digestion. Two digestive cysteine cathepsins were isolated and characterized presenting acidic characteristics (pH optima and stability), zymogen conversion to the mature form after acidic activation and a cross-class inhibition by pepstatin. A more elucidative picture of the molecular mechanism of digestion in a scorpion was proposed based on our results from Tityus serrulatus. The midgut and midgut glands (MMG) are composed by secretory and digestive cells. In fasting animals, the secretory granules are ready for the next predation event, containing enzymes needed for alkaline extra-oral digestion which will compose the digestive fluid, such as trypsins, astacins and chitinase. The digestive vacuoles are filled with an acidic proteolytic cocktail to the intracellular digestion composed by cathepsins L, B, F, D and legumain. Other proteins as lipases, carbohydrases, ctenitoxins and a chitolectin with a perithrophin domain were also detected. Evolutionarily

  16. Turkish scorpion Buthacus macrocentrus: general characterization of the venom and description of Bu1, a potent mammalian Na⁺-channel α-toxin.

    PubMed

    Caliskan, F; Quintero-Hernández, V; Restano-Cassulini, R; Batista, C V F; Zamudio, F Z; Coronas, F I; Possani, L D

    2012-03-01

    The venom of the scorpion Buthacus macrocentrus of Turkey was fractionated by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and its mass finger print analysis was obtained by spectrometry. More than 70 different fractions were obtained, allowing the determination of the molecular masses of at least 60 peptides ranging between 648 and 44,336 Da. The venom is enriched with peptides containing molecular masses between 3200-4500 Da, and 6000-7500 Da. They very likely correspond to K⁺-channel and Na⁺-channel specific peptides, respectively, as expected from venoms of scorpions of the family Buthidae, already determined for other species. The major component obtained from HPLC was shown to be lethal to mice and was further purified and characterized. It contains 65 amino acid residues maintained closely packed by 4 disulfide bridges, and shows a molecular weight of 7263 Da. Additionally, a cDNA from the venomous glands of this scorpion was used in conjunction with sequence data from Edman degradation and mass spectrometry for cloning the gene that codes for Bu1 as we named this toxin. This gene codes for a 67 amino acid residues peptide, where the two last are eliminated post-translationally for production of an amidated C-terminal arginine. Its sequence is closely related to toxins from the species Leiurus quinquestriatus, as revealed by a phylogenetic tree analysis. Electrophysiological results conducted with Bu1 using patch-clamp techniques indicate that it modifies the Na⁺ currents, in a similar way as other well known α-scorpion toxins. These results support the conclusion that this species of scorpions is dangerous to humans, having an epidemiological interest for the country.

  17. Biochemical, transcriptomic and proteomic analyses of digestion in the scorpion Tityus serrulatus: insights into function and evolution of digestion in an ancient arthropod.

    PubMed

    Fuzita, Felipe J; Pinkse, Martijn W H; Patane, José S L; Juliano, Maria A; Verhaert, Peter D E M; Lopes, Adriana R

    2015-01-01

    Scorpions are among the oldest terrestrial arthropods and they have passed through small morphological changes during their evolutionary history on land. They are efficient predators capable of capturing and consuming large preys and due to envenomation these animals can become a human health challenge. Understanding the physiology of scorpions can not only lead to evolutionary insights but also is a crucial step in the development of control strategies. However, the digestive process in scorpions has been scarcely studied. In this work, we describe the combinatory use of next generation sequencing, proteomic analysis and biochemical assays in order to investigate the digestive process in the yellow scorpion Tityus serrulatus, mainly focusing in the initial protein digestion. The transcriptome generated database allowed the quantitative identification by mass spectrometry of different enzymes and proteins involved in digestion. All the results suggested that cysteine cathepsins play an important role in protein digestion. Two digestive cysteine cathepsins were isolated and characterized presenting acidic characteristics (pH optima and stability), zymogen conversion to the mature form after acidic activation and a cross-class inhibition by pepstatin. A more elucidative picture of the molecular mechanism of digestion in a scorpion was proposed based on our results from Tityus serrulatus. The midgut and midgut glands (MMG) are composed by secretory and digestive cells. In fasting animals, the secretory granules are ready for the next predation event, containing enzymes needed for alkaline extra-oral digestion which will compose the digestive fluid, such as trypsins, astacins and chitinase. The digestive vacuoles are filled with an acidic proteolytic cocktail to the intracellular digestion composed by cathepsins L, B, F, D and legumain. Other proteins as lipases, carbohydrases, ctenitoxins and a chitolectin with a perithrophin domain were also detected. Evolutionarily

  18. Common features in the functional surface of scorpion beta-toxins and elements that confer specificity for insect and mammalian voltage-gated sodium channels.

    PubMed

    Cohen, Lior; Karbat, Izhar; Gilles, Nicolas; Ilan, Nitza; Benveniste, Morris; Gordon, Dalia; Gurevitz, Michael

    2005-02-11

    Scorpion beta-toxins that affect the activation of mammalian voltage-gated sodium channels (Navs) have been studied extensively, but little is known about their functional surface and mode of interaction with the channel receptor. To enable a molecular approach to this question, we have established a successful expression system for the anti-mammalian scorpion beta-toxin, Css4, whose effects on rat brain Navs have been well characterized. A recombinant toxin, His-Css4, was obtained when fused to a His tag and a thrombin cleavage site and had similar binding affinity for and effect on Na currents of rat brain sodium channels as those of the native toxin isolated from the scorpion venom. Molecular dissection of His-Css4 elucidated a functional surface of 1245 A2 composed of the following: 1) a cluster of residues associated with the alpha-helix, which includes a putative "hot spot" (this cluster is conserved among scorpion beta-toxins and contains their "pharmacophore"); 2) a hydrophobic cluster associated mainly with the beta2 and beta3 strands, which is likely to confer the specificity for mammalian Navs; 3) a single bioactive residue (Trp-58) in the C-tail; and 4) a negatively charged residue (Glu-15) involved in voltage sensor trapping as inferred from our ability to uncouple toxin binding from activity upon its substitution. This study expands our understanding about the mode of action of scorpion beta-toxins and illuminates differences in the functional surfaces that may dictate their specificities for mammalian versus insect sodium channels.

  19. Elder Abuse among African Americans

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tauriac, Jesse J.; Scruggs, Natoschia

    2006-01-01

    Perceptions of extreme, moderate, and mild forms of elder abuse among African-American women (n=25) and men (n=10) were examined. African-American respondents emphasized physical abuse when giving examples of extremely abusive behavior. Along with physical abuse, verbal abuse was the most frequently identified form of abuse, and was significantly…

  20. African ethics and voluntary euthanasia.

    PubMed

    Omonzejele, P F

    2004-01-01

    This paper outlines the relationship between euthanasia and its ethical norms and practices in a part of West Africa. The various sub-types of euthanasia are described in detail, parallel with the role of African ethical theories in determining their relevance. The author discusses the implications of this approach relative to the social and economic state of African communities.

  1. African American Administrators and Staff

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wright, Dianne; Taylor, Janice D.; Burrell, Charlotte; Stewart, Gregory

    2006-01-01

    This article explores the issues of African American participation in the administrative ranks of the academy. The authors find that African Americans tend to hold positions that are marginal in academic organizations, lacking power and influence, and that not much has changed over recent decades. Forces influencing this condition are explored,…

  2. African-Americans and Alcoholism.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sigmon, Scott B.

    To better serve people in a counseling relationship, it is useful to understand them not only culturally, but demographically as well. This paper traces historical, religious, demographic aspects and treatment of alcohol abuse in African Americans. Historically, alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence have varied for African Americans. During the…

  3. Africanization in the United States

    PubMed Central

    Pinto, M. Alice; Rubink, William L.; Patton, John C.; Coulson, Robert N.; Johnston, J. Spencer

    2005-01-01

    The expansion of Africanized honeybees from South America to the southwestern United States in <50 years is considered one of the most spectacular biological invasions yet documented. In the American tropics, it has been shown that during their expansion Africanized honeybees have low levels of introgressed alleles from resident European populations. In the United States, it has been speculated, but not shown, that Africanized honeybees would hybridize extensively with European honeybees. Here we report a continuous 11-year study investigating temporal changes in the genetic structure of a feral population from the southern United States undergoing Africanization. Our microsatellite data showed that (1) the process of Africanization involved both maternal and paternal bidirectional gene flow between European and Africanized honeybees and (2) the panmitic European population was replaced by panmitic mixtures of A. m. scutellata and European genes within 5 years after Africanization. The post-Africanization gene pool (1998–2001) was composed of a diverse array of recombinant classes with a substantial European genetic contribution (mean 25–37%). Therefore, the resulting feral honeybee population of south Texas was best viewed as a hybrid swarm. PMID:15937139

  4. Cancer statistics for African Americans.

    PubMed

    Ghafoor, Asma; Jemal, Ahmedin; Cokkinides, Vilma; Cardinez, Cheryll; Murray, Taylor; Samuels, Alicia; Thun, Michael J

    2002-01-01

    The American Cancer Society provides estimates on the number of new cancer cases and deaths, and compiles health statistics on African Americans in a biennial publication, Cancer Facts and Figures for African Americans. The compiled statistics include cancer incidence, mortality, survival, and lifestyle behaviors using the most recent data on incidence and survival from the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program, mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), and behavioral information from the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), and National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). It is estimated that 132,700 new cases of cancer and 63,100 deaths will occur among African Americans in the year 2003. Although African Americans have experienced higher incidence and mortality rates of cancer than whites for many years, incidence rates have declined by 2.7 percent per year in African-American males since 1992, while stabilizing in African-American females. During the same period, death rates declined by 2.1 percent and 0.4 percent per year among African-American males and females, respectively. The decrease in both incidence and death rates from cancer among African-American males was the largest of any racial or ethnic group. Nonetheless, African Americans still carry the highest cancer burden among US racial and ethnic groups. Most cancers detectable by screening are diagnosed at a later stage and survival rates are lower within each stage of disease in African Americans than in whites. The extent to which these disparities reflect unequal access to health care versus other factors is an active area of research.

  5. East African ROAD

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tekle, Kelali

    2016-10-01

    In the developing world astronomy had been treated as the science of elites. As a result of this overwhelming perception, astronomy compared with other applied sciences has got less attention and its role in development has been insignificant. However, the IAU General Assembly decision in 2009 opened new opportunity for countries and professionals to deeply look into Astronomy and its role in development. Then, the subsequent establishment of regional offices in the developing world is helping countries to integrate astronomy with other earth and space based sciences so as to progressively promote its scientific and development importance. Gradually nations have come to know that space is the frontier of tomorrow and the urgency of preeminence on space frontier starts at primary school and ascends to tertiary education. For this to happen, member nations in east African region have placed STEM education at the center of their education system. For instance, Ethiopian has changed University enrollment strategy to be in favor of science and engineering subjects, i.e. every year seventy percent of new University entrants join science and engineering fields while thirty percent social science and humanities. Such bold actions truly promote astronomy to be conceived as gateway to science and technology. To promote the concept of astronomy for development the East African regional office has actually aligned it activities to be in line with the focus areas identified by the IAU strategy (2010 to 2020).

  6. African oil plays

    SciTech Connect

    Clifford, A.J. )

    1989-09-01

    The vast continent of Africa hosts over eight sedimentary basins, covering approximately half its total area. Of these basins, only 82% have entered a mature exploration phase, 9% have had little or no exploration at all. Since oil was first discovered in Africa during the mid-1950s, old play concepts continue to bear fruit, for example in Egypt and Nigeria, while new play concepts promise to become more important, such as in Algeria, Angola, Chad, Egypt, Gabon, and Sudan. The most exciting developments of recent years in African oil exploration are: (1) the Gamba/Dentale play, onshore Gabon; (2) the Pinda play, offshore Angola; (3) the Lucula/Toca play, offshore Cabinda; (4) the Metlaoui play, offshore Libya/Tunisia; (5) the mid-Cretaceous sand play, Chad/Sudan; and (6) the TAG-I/F6 play, onshore Algeria. Examples of these plays are illustrated along with some of the more traditional oil plays. Where are the future oil plays likely to develop No doubt, the Saharan basins of Algeria and Libya will feature strongly, also the presalt of Equatorial West Africa, the Central African Rift System and, more speculatively, offshore Ethiopia and Namibia, and onshore Madagascar, Mozambique, and Tanzania.

  7. Bioenergy and African transformation.

    PubMed

    Lynd, Lee R; Sow, Mariam; Chimphango, Annie Fa; Cortez, Luis Ab; Brito Cruz, Carlos H; Elmissiry, Mosad; Laser, Mark; Mayaki, Ibrahim A; Moraes, Marcia Afd; Nogueira, Luiz Ah; Wolfaardt, Gideon M; Woods, Jeremy; van Zyl, Willem H

    2015-01-01

    Among the world's continents, Africa has the highest incidence of food insecurity and poverty and the highest rates of population growth. Yet Africa also has the most arable land, the lowest crop yields, and by far the most plentiful land resources relative to energy demand. It is thus of interest to examine the potential of expanded modern bioenergy production in Africa. Here we consider bioenergy as an enabler for development, and provide an overview of modern bioenergy technologies with a comment on application in an Africa context. Experience with bioenergy in Africa offers evidence of social benefits and also some important lessons. In Brazil, social development, agricultural development and food security, and bioenergy development have been synergistic rather than antagonistic. Realizing similar success in African countries will require clear vision, good governance, and adaptation of technologies, knowledge, and business models to myriad local circumstances. Strategies for integrated production of food crops, livestock, and bioenergy are potentially attractive and offer an alternative to an agricultural model featuring specialized land use. If done thoughtfully, there is considerable evidence that food security and economic development in Africa can be addressed more effectively with modern bioenergy than without it. Modern bioenergy can be an agent of African transformation, with potential social benefits accruing to multiple sectors and extending well beyond energy supply per se. Potential negative impacts also cut across sectors. Thus, institutionally inclusive multi-sector legislative structures will be more effective at maximizing the social benefits of bioenergy compared to institutionally exclusive, single-sector structures.

  8. A Bibliography of African Languages and Linguistics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Murphy, John D., Comp.; Goff, Harry, Comp.

    The present bibliography of African languages and linguistics includes not only works relating to the "Negro-African" languages, but also those dealing with the African varieties of Arabic, the Hamitic languages, Malagasy, Afrikaans, and various Creoles. (The greater part of the entries relate to the indigenous languages of the African continent…

  9. Molecular systematics of the neotropical scorpion genus Tityus (Buthidae): the historical biogeography and venom antigenic diversity of toxic Venezuelan species.

    PubMed

    Borges, Adolfo; Bermingham, Eldredge; Herrera, Nimiadina; Alfonzo, Marcelo J; Sanjur, Oris I

    2010-01-01

    We provide a mitochondrial DNA-based phylogenetic hypothesis for 21 Tityus species collected in Venezuela, Trinidad, Brazil and Panama, including 12 taxa known to be toxic to humans. Our phylogenetic reconstruction is based on 850 nucleotides of the combined cytochrome oxidase subunit I and 16S rRNA genes for most species, and centered on Venezuelan scorpions owing to the detailed taxonomic and biogeographic information available for Tityus in this region. The principal phylogenetic result was the strong support for mtDNA clades representing geographical groupings associated with the Perijá mountain range, the Mérida Andes, or the central and eastern coastal ranges in Venezuela, suggesting that vicariance has been a potent force in the diversification of local scorpions. Venezuelan Tityus species have been organized by González-Sponga into three artificial morphological groups, "androcottoides", "discrepans", and "nematochirus", based on the array of ventral carinae in metasomal segments II-IV. We also incorporated a fourth morphological group ("Tityus clathratus"), recently documented in Venezuela. Our results do not support the clustering of the species in the "androcottoides" and "discrepans" morphological groups, which include the majority of taxa of medical importance, but provided support for the "nematochirus" species group. T. clathratus was found to cluster with the Brazilian T. serrulatus and T. bahiensis. Divergence times of most clades are consistent with major events in the geological history of northern Venezuela and suggest that many Venezuelan Tityus species formed in the late Miocene and the Pliocene. In turn, we used the Tityus mtDNA phylogeny to determine the potential utility of phylogenetic systematics to predict Tityus venom antigenic reactivity by testing the recognition of T. nororientalis, T. discrepans, T. zulianus, T. perijanensis, and T. clathratus venoms by anti-T. discrepans horse antibodies. Cross-reactivity was significantly

  10. Comprehensive analysis of venom from the scorpion Centruroides tecomanus reveals compounds with antimicrobial, cytotoxic, and insecticidal activities.

    PubMed

    Valdez-Velazquéz, L L; Romero-Gutierrez, M T; Delgado-Enciso, I; Dobrovinskaya, O; Melnikov, V; Quintero-Hernández, V; Ceballos-Magaña, S G; Gaitan-Hinojosa, M A; Coronas, F I; Puebla-Perez, A M; Zamudio, F; De la Cruz-García, I; Vázquez-Vuelvas, O F; Soriano-Hernandez, A D; Possani, L D

    2016-08-01

    Centruroides tecomanus is a medically important scorpion of the state of Colima (Mexico). This communication reports the identification of venom components of this scorpion with biological activity over insects/crickets (Acheta domestica), crustaceans/fresh water shrimps (Cambarellus montezumae), and mammalians/mice (Mus musculus, strain CD1). It also describes the pharmacological effects on cell lines in culture (L5178Y cells, HeLa cells, HuTu cells and Jurkat E6-1 cells), as well as on several types of bacteria (see below). The soluble venom of this scorpion was fractionated by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and collected separately in twelve independent fractions collected over 60 min run (5 min time apart each other). The HPLC components of fraction VII were lethal to all three species used for assay. The IVth fraction had a toxic effect on freshwater shrimps. In this species, fractions VI, VII and VIII were all lethal. For crickets, fractions V and VI were toxic and fraction VII was lethal. In mouse, the lethal components were found in fraction VII, whereas fraction VIII was toxic, but not lethal, at the doses assayed. The molecular weight of peptides from the various group of fractions were identified by mass spectrometry determination. Components lethal to mice showed molecular weights from 7013 to 7487 Da. Two peptides were obtained in homogeneous form and shown to be lethal to the three species of animal used for assay. The soluble venom tested on L5178Y cell line survival was shown to be cytotoxic, at 10-100 μg/mL concentration, when compared to control murine splenocytes (p = 0.007). The soluble venom applied to Hela, Hutu and Jurkat cell lines did not show cytotoxic effects at these concentrations. On the contrary, it seems to have a proliferative effect. However the HPLC fractions I, III, VI and XII do have a cytotoxic effect on Jurkat E06-1 cells in culture at 200 μg/mL concentration. The antimicrobial activity of the venom

  11. Characterization of the first K⁺ channel blockers from the venom of the Moroccan scorpion Buthus occitanus Paris.

    PubMed

    Martin-Eauclaire, Marie-France; Céard, Brigitte; Belghazi, Maya; Lebrun, Régine; Bougis, Pierre E

    2013-12-01

    The availability of a large variety of specific blockers, which inhibit different K(+) currents, would help to elucidate their differences in physiological function. Short peptide toxins isolated from scorpion venoms are able to block voltage-dependent or Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channels. Here, we have studied the venom of the Moroccan scorpion Buthus occitanus Paris (BoP) in order to find new peptides, which could enlarge our structure-function relationship knowledge on the Kv1.3 blocker Kaliotoxin (KTX) that belongs to the α-KTx3.1 family. Indeed and since more a decade, KTX is widely used by international investigators because it exhibits a quite sharp specificity and a high-affinity for the Kv1.3 channel, which is not only a neuronal channel but also a therapeutic target for diverse autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. The BoP venom was first investigated using HPLC and MALDI-TOF/MS. Further, the HPLC fractions were screened by ELISA with antibodies raised against KTX. These antibodies recognized at least three components toxic in mice by intracerebroventricular injection. They were further pharmacologically characterized by competition using (125)I-KTX bound to its specific binding sites on rat brain synaptosomes. A single component (4161 Da) inhibited totally the (125)I-KTX binding and with high-affinity (IC50 = 0.1 nM), while the two other components poorly competed with (IC50 > 100 nM). These toxins were sequenced in full by Edman's degradation. The high-affinity ligand (BoPKTX) shares 86% sequence identity with KTX and was classified as toxin α-KTx3.17. The two others peptides (BoP1 and BoP2, 4093 Da and 4121 Da, respectively) only differ by a Lys/Arg mutation. Their amino acid sequences were related to Martentoxin, which has been characterized from the Chinese scorpion Buthus martenzi Karch and described as both a BKCa and Kv1.3 blocker. Accordingly, they belong to the α-KTx16 family.

  12. Synthesis and characterization of Pi4, a scorpion toxin from Pandinus imperator that acts on K+ channels.

    PubMed

    M'Barek, Sarrah; Mosbah, Amor; Sandoz, Guillaume; Fajloun, Ziad; Olamendi-Portugal, Timoteo; Rochat, Hervé; Sampieri, François; Guijarro, J Iñaki; Mansuelle, Pascal; Delepierre, Muriel; De Waard, Michel; Sabatier, Jean-Marc

    2003-09-01

    Pi4 is a 38-residue toxin cross-linked by four disulfide bridges that has been isolated from the venom of the Chactidae scorpion Pandinus imperator. Together with maurotoxin, Pi1, Pi7 and HsTx1, Pi4 belongs to the alpha KTX6 subfamily of short four-disulfide-bridged scorpion toxins acting on K+ channels. Due to its very low abundance in venom, Pi4 was chemically synthesized in order to better characterize its pharmacology and structural properties. An enzyme-based cleavage of synthetic Pi4 (sPi4) indicated half-cystine pairings between Cys6-Cys27, Cys12-32, Cys16-34 and Cys22-37, which denotes a conventional pattern of scorpion toxin reticulation (Pi1/HsTx1 type). In vivo, sPi4 was lethal after intracerebroventricular injection to mice (LD50 of 0.2 microg per mouse). In vitro, addition of sPi4 onto Xenopus laevis oocytes heterologously expressing various voltage-gated K+ channel subtypes showed potent inhibition of currents from rat Kv1.2 (IC50 of 8 pm) and Shaker B (IC50 of 3 nm) channels, whereas no effect was observed on rat Kv1.1 and Kv1.3 channels. The sPi4 was also found to compete with 125I-labeled apamin for binding to small-conductance Ca(2+)-activated K+ (SK) channels from rat brain synaptosomes (IC50 value of 0.5 microm). sPi4 is a high affinity blocker of the Kv1.2 channel. The toxin was docked (BIGGER program) on the Kv channel using the solution structure of sPi4 and a molecular model of the Kv1.2 channel pore region. The model suggests a key role for residues Arg10, Arg19, Lys26 (dyad), Ile28, Lys30, Lys33 and Tyr35 (dyad) in the interaction and the associated blockage of the Kv1.2 channel.

  13. Impact of climate changes from Middle Miocene onwards on evolutionary diversification in Eurasia: insights from the mesobuthid scorpions.

    PubMed

    Shi, Cheng-Min; Ji, Ya-Jie; Liu, Lin; Wang, Lei; Zhang, De-Xing

    2013-03-01

    The aridification from Middle Miocene onwards has transformed the Asian interior into an arid environment, and the Pleistocene glacial-interglacial oscillations exerted further ecological impact. Therefore, both aridification and glaciation would have considerably influenced the evolution of many mid-latitude species in temperate Asia. Here, we tested this perspective by a phylogeographic study of the mesobuthid scorpions across temperate Asia using one mitochondrial and three nuclear genes. Concordant mitochondrial and nuclear gene trees were obtained, which are consistent with species tree inferred using a Bayesian approach. The age of the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of all the studied scorpions was estimated to be 12.49 Ma (late Middle Miocene); Mesobuthus eupeus diverged from the clade composing Mesobuthus caucasicus and Mesobuthus martensii in early Late Miocene (10.21 Ma); M. martensii diverged from M. caucasicus at 5.53 Ma in Late Miocene. The estimated MRCA ages of M. martensii and the Chinese lineage of M. eupeus were 2.37 and 0.68 Ma, respectively. Central Asia was identified as the ancestral area for the lineage leading to M. martensii and M. caucasicus and the Chinese lineage of M. eupeus. The ancestral habitat of the genus Mesobuthus is likely to have been characterized by an arid environment; a shift towards more humid habitat occurred in the MRCA of M. martensii and a lineage of M. caucasicus, finally leading to the adaptation of M. martensii to humid environment. Our data strongly support the idea that the stepwise intensified aridifications from Mid-Miocene onwards drove the diversification of mesobuthid scorpions, and suggest that M. martensii and M. eupeus observed today in China originated from an ancestral lineage distributed in Central Asia. Both the colonization and the ensuing evolution of these species in East Asia appear to have been further moulded by Quaternary glaciations.

  14. Synthesis and structural characterization of amido scorpionate rare earth metals complexes.

    PubMed

    Márquez-Segovia, Isabel; Lara-Sánchez, Agustín; Otero, Antonio; Fernández-Baeza, Juan; Castro-Osma, José Antonio; Sánchez-Barba, Luis F; Rodríguez, Ana M

    2014-07-07

    The reactivity of hybrid scorpionate/cyclopentadienyl ligands in the form of the protio derivatives as a mixture of two regioisomers, namely bpzcpH [1-{2,2-bis(3,5-dimethylpyrazol-1-yl)-1,1-diphenylethyl}-1,3-cyclopentadiene and 2-{2,2-bis(3,5-dimethylpyrazol-1-yl)-1,1-diphenylethyl}-1,3-cyclopentadiene] and bpztcpH [1-{2,2-bis(3,5-dimethylpyrazol-1-yl)-1-tert-butylethyl}-1,3-cyclopentadiene and 2-{2,2-bis(3,5-dimethylpyrazol-1-yl)-1-tert-butylethyl}-1,3-cyclopentadiene], with the tris(silylamide) precursors [M{N(SiHMe2)2}3(thf)x] of rare earth metals (including the group 3 metals scandium and yttrium) is related to the atomic radii of the metal centres. The reaction with the precursor containing the smallest ion, [Sc{N(SiHMe2)2}3(thf)], did not proceed even heating at reflux temperature in toluene. The reaction with the precursors that contain a medium-sized metal ion, i.e., [M{N(SiHMe2)2}3(thf)2] (M = Y, Lu), proceeded only at high temperature and gave good yields of the silylenediamide-containing derivatives [M{κ(2)-NN-Me2Si(NSiHMe2)2}(bpzcp)] (M = Y , Lu ) and [M{κ(2)-NN-Me2Si(NSiHMe2)2}(bpztcp)] (M = Y , Lu ) by an double activation of Si-H and Si-N bonds. However, the reaction with the precursors that contained the largest metal ions, i.e., [M{N(SiHMe2)2}3(thf)2] (M = Nd, Sm), proceeded rapidly at room temperature to afford the bis(silylamide) complexes [M{N(SiHMe2)2}2(bpzcp)] (M = Nd , Sm ) and [M{N(SiHMe2)2}2(bpztcp)] (M = Nd , Sm ). Additionally, the alkyl heteroscorpionate yttrium and lutetium complexes [M(CH2SiMe3)2(NNCp)] (M = Y, Lu) reacted with an excess of HN(SiHMe2)2 to give the mixed alkyl/amide derivatives [M{N(SiHMe2)2}(CH2SiMe3)(bpzcp)] (M = Y , Lu ) and [M{N(SiHMe2)2}(CH2SiMe3)(bpztcp)] (M = Y , Lu ). The structures of the complexes were determined by spectroscopic methods and the X-ray crystal structures of , and were also established.

  15. Scorpion toxins from Buthus martensii Karsch all possess a predicted alpha-tight-turn.

    PubMed

    Hahin, Richard; Chen, Ziyi; Wang, Danhui; Reddy, Giridher; Mao, Long

    2003-01-01

    We have purified a new toxin (BmK 17[4]) from Asian scorpion (Buthus martensii Karsch) venom that possesses a distinctive structural motif in its N-terminal (positions 8-12) that is similarly found in two other previously described alpha-like toxins. BmK 17[4] prolongs action potentials (APs) in frog nerve and was purified using gel filtration, ion exchange, fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC), and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). BmK 17[4] significantly prolonged frog APs but it did not alter APs from an insect ventral nerve cord at similar doses. When applied to voltage-clamped frog muscle single fibers, BmK 17[4] prolonged fast inactivation. Because the polypeptide prolongs APs when both K+ and Ca2+ channels were blocked, BMK 17[4] acts to selectively alter Na+ channel inactivation. The N-terminal sequence of BmK 17[4] was found to be VRDAYIAKPENCVYXC --. The molar mass of BmK 17[4] was determined by LC/MS/MS to be 7097 Daltons. The N- terminal motif (KPENC), which introduces a reverse turn in residues 8-12, does not appear in previously characterized BmK alpha-toxins and may be characteristic of alpha-like toxins. Sequence similarity database searches were used to test whether the N-terminal sequences of alpha-like polypeptide toxins from B. martensii Karsch possess a distinctive structural motif in its 5-residue reverse turn (alpha-turn) that is conserved. Sequence similarities with putative polypeptides encoded by cDNAs obtained from a cDNA library [Zhu, S. Y., Li, W. X., Zenq, X. C., et al. (2000) Nine novel precursors of Buthus martensii scorpiox alpha-toxin homologues. Toxicon 38, 1653-1661] from BmK venom glands showed that an active polypeptide toxin cleaved from the putative propolypeptide toxin BmK M9 is likely identical to BmK 17[4]. Sequence comparisons with toxins and putative toxins from B. martensii Karsch and other species revealed that a group of these toxins possess a common structural motif in their alpha-turn. A neighbor

  16. Characterization of a novel cDNA encoding a short venom peptide derived from venom gland of scorpion Buthus martensii Karsch: trans-splicing may play an important role in the diversification of scorpion venom peptides.

    PubMed

    Zeng, Xian-Chun; Luo, Feng; Li, Wen-Xin

    2006-04-01

    A novel cDNA clone (named BmKT-u) which is a hybrid molecule of the 5'-terminal region of BmKT' cDNA and the 3'-terminal region of an undocumented cDNA (named BmKu), was isolated from a cDNA library made from the venom gland of scorpion Buthus martensii Karsch. BmKT-u codes for a 30 amino acid residue precursor peptide composed of a 20-residue signal sequence, and a putative 10-residue novel mature peptide. Northern blot hybridization showed BmKT-u cDNA is generated from a transcript. RT-PCR experiments excluded the possibility that BmKT-u cDNA is an artifact generated during reverse transcription. Genomic amplifications performed with three pairs of BmKT-u gene-specific primers showed the BmKT-u gene does not exist in the genome of the scorpion as a single transcriptional unit. Genomic cloning for BmKT' showed that the BmKT' gene contains an intron of 509 bp inserted into the region encoding the C-terminal region of the signal peptide. A sequence alignment comparison of the cDNA of BmKT-u with genomic BmKT' revealed that the junction site of the hybrid molecule is located at the 5'-splicing site of the intron. The data suggest that the BmKT-u transcript is a naturally occurring mature mRNA that is generated by trans-splicing. Trans-splicing may contribute to the diversity of venom peptides from venomous animals.

  17. Characterization of BmKbpp, a multifunctional peptide from the Chinese scorpion Mesobuthus martensii Karsch: gaining insight into a new mechanism for the functional diversification of scorpion venom peptides.

    PubMed

    Zeng, Xian-Chun; Wang, Sanxia; Nie, Yao; Zhang, Lei; Luo, Xuesong

    2012-01-01

    BmKbpp is a novel cationic and α-helical peptide from the Chinese scorpion Mesobuthus martensii Karsch, of which function or biological activity has not been characterized so far. Here we showed that BmKbpp possesses strong antimicrobial activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria with a MIC range from 2.3 μM to 68.2 μM for the majority of tested bacteria. BmKbpp also inhibits the growth of tested fungi with an IC50 range from 0.2 μM to 3.1 μM. Because BmKbpp potently inhibits the growth of some antibiotics-resistant pathogens, and shows very weak hemolytic activity, it has considerable potentials for therapeutic applications. Moreover, we found that BmKbpp markedly inhibits the superoxide production in granulocytes or HL-60 cells at the concentrations of submicromolar level; this suggests that BmKbpp can act as a signaling molecule involving innate immune regulation at low concentrations. The C-terminal region of BmKbpp (BmKbpp-C) shows 72% similarity to the peptide K-12, a bradykinin-potentiating peptide. We found that both BmKbpp and BmKbpp-C possess bradykinin-potentiating activity, and the activity of BmKbpp-C is stronger than that of BmKbpp. PCR amplification for the genomic gene of BmBpp showed that it is not a continuous sequence in the genome; it suggests that BmKbpp could come from a recombination event in transcript level. Taken together, our data suggest that multi-functionalization of a single peptide, which is probably mediated by trans-splicing, could be a new mechanism for the functional diversification of scorpion venom peptides.

  18. The African Millennium Villages

    PubMed Central

    Sanchez, Pedro; Palm, Cheryl; Sachs, Jeffrey; Denning, Glenn; Flor, Rafael; Harawa, Rebbie; Jama, Bashir; Kiflemariam, Tsegazeab; Konecky, Bronwen; Kozar, Raffaela; Lelerai, Eliud; Malik, Alia; Modi, Vijay; Mutuo, Patrick; Niang, Amadou; Okoth, Herine; Place, Frank; Sachs, Sonia Ehrlich; Said, Amir; Siriri, David; Teklehaimanot, Awash; Wang, Karen; Wangila, Justine; Zamba, Colleen

    2007-01-01

    We describe the concept, strategy, and initial results of the Millennium Villages Project and implications regarding sustainability and scalability. Our underlying hypothesis is that the interacting crises of agriculture, health, and infrastructure in rural Africa can be overcome through targeted public-sector investments to raise rural productivity and, thereby, to increased private-sector saving and investments. This is carried out by empowering impoverished communities with science-based interventions. Seventy-eight Millennium Villages have been initiated in 12 sites in 10 African countries, each representing a major agroecological zone. In early results, the research villages in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Malawi have reduced malaria prevalence, met caloric requirements, generated crop surpluses, enabled school feeding programs, and provided cash earnings for farm families. PMID:17942701

  19. [African population in history].

    PubMed

    Yang, S

    1984-11-29

    The growth rate of the African population has been fluctuating throughout history, affected by political, social, and economic events. 6000 years ago, the majority of the population was based in North Africa, because farming had been developed there. However, between the 11th and the 16th centuries, there was a constant decline in the population of that region, due to invasions from Europe and the black plague. During the same period, the population in the area south of the Sahara grew rapidly, as people there had gone into the iron tool period and farming had been developed. From the 16th to the mid-17th Century, population growth was considerable in Africa; more people had learned the technology of irrigation, corn and potatoes had been introduced from South America, and colonialism was not yet an issue. From the mid-17th to the mid-19th Century, there was no growth, due to the slave trade and wars between tribes. One estimate sets the direct and indirect loss during this period, as a result of the slave trade, at 100 million people. From the 1850s to the end of World War I, population growth started up again, chiefly influenced by the fact that the slave trade had essentially come to a half and modern medical care had become available on the continent. However, in central Africa, the region which suffered the worst blow from the slave trade, growth was very slow, while in East Africa the population was declining because of wars between colonists and natives, as well as natural disasters. Increases in population during this period were a result of immigration from Europe and India. From the end of World War I to the present, growth has been rapid, given improvements in medical services and standards of living, while most of the former colonies became independent after the 1950s. Consequently, almost all African countries are under great pressure now with regard to their populations.

  20. Central African Republic.

    PubMed

    1989-11-01

    The Central African Republic contains 242,000 square miles, which rolling terrain almost 2000 feet above sea level. The climate is tropical, and it has a population of 2.8 million people with a 2.5% growth rate. There are more than 80 ethnic groups including Baya 34%, Banda 28%, Sara 10%, Mandja 9%, Mboum 9%, and M'Baka 7%. The religions are traditional African 35%, protestant 25%, Roman Catholic 25%, and Muslim 15%, and the languages are French and Sangho. The infant mortality rate is 143/1000, with expectancy at 49 years and a 40% literacy rate. The work force of 1 million is 70% agricultural, industry 6% and commerce and service 6% and government 3%. The government consists of a president assisted by cabinet ministers and a single party. Natural resources include diamonds, uranium, timber, gold, and oil, and major industries are beverages, textiles, and soap. Agricultural products feature coffee, cotton, peanuts, tobacco, food crops and livestock. Most of the population live in rural areas and most of the 80 ethnic groups have their own language. This is one of the world's least developed countries, with a per capita income of $375/year. The main problems with development are the poor transportation infrastructure, and the weak internal and international marketing systems. The US and various international organizations have aided in agriculture development, health programs, and family planning. US investment is mainly in diamond and gold mining, and although oil drilling has been successful it is not economically feasible at current prices.

  1. Gene cloning and functional characterization of four novel antimicrobial-like peptides from scorpions of the family Vaejovidae.

    PubMed

    Ramírez-Carreto, Santos; Quintero-Hernández, Verónica; Jiménez-Vargas, Juana María; Corzo, Gerardo; Possani, Lourival D; Becerril, Baltazar; Ortiz, Ernesto

    2012-04-01

    From the cDNA libraries made from the venom glands of two scorpions belonging to the Vaejovidae family, four different putative non disulfide-bridged antimicrobial peptides were identified: VmCT1 and VmCT2 from Vaejovis mexicanus smithi plus VsCT1 and VsCT2 from Vaejovis subcristatus. These short peptides (with only 13 amino acid residues each) share important amino acid sequence similarities among themselves and with other reported antimicrobial peptides, but their biological activities vary dramatically. This communication reports the cloning, chemical synthesis and characterization of these peptides. Two peptides, VmCT1 and VmCT2 showed broad-spectrum antibacterial activity with minimum inhibitory concentrations MICs in the range of 5-25 μM and 10-20 μM respectively, whereas their hemolytic activity at these concentrations was low. Structure-function relationships that might determine the differences in activities are discussed.

  2. Structural characterization of a novel peptide with antimicrobial activity from the venom gland of the scorpion Tityus stigmurus: Stigmurin.

    PubMed

    de Melo, Edinara Targino; Estrela, Andréia Bergamo; Santos, Elizabeth Cristina Gomes; Machado, Paula Renata Lima; Farias, Kleber Juvenal Silva; Torres, Taffarel Melo; Carvalho, Enéas; Lima, João Paulo Matos Santos; Silva-Júnior, Arnóbio Antonio; Barbosa, Euzébio Guimarães; Fernandes-Pedrosa, Matheus de Freitas

    2015-06-01

    A new antimicrobial peptide, herein named Stigmurin, was selected based on a transcriptomic analysis of the Brazilian yellow scorpion Tityus stigmurus venom gland, an underexplored source for toxic peptides with possible biotechnological applications. Stigmurin was investigated in silico, by circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy, and in vitro. The CD spectra suggested that this peptide interacts with membranes, changing its conformation in the presence of an amphipathic environment, with predominance of random coil and beta-sheet structures. Stigmurin exhibited antibacterial and antifungal activity, with minimal inhibitory concentrations ranging from 8.7 to 69.5μM. It was also showed that Stigmurin is toxic against SiHa and Vero E6 cell lines. The results suggest that Stigmurin can be considered a potential anti-infective drug.

  3. The genus Hormiops Fage, 1933 (Hormuridae, Scorpiones), a palaeoendemic of the South China Sea: systematics and biogeography.

    PubMed

    Monod, Lionel

    2014-10-01

    The monotypic genus Hormiops Fage, 1933 is so far only known from two groups of granitic islands off the coasts of Peninsular Malaysia and Vietnam. Examination of newly collected material from both archipelagos and of the type series of Hormiops davidovi Fage, 1933 reveals previously disregarded morphological differences sufficient to assign the Malaysian specimens to a distinct species, described here as Hormiops infulcra sp. nov. An updated diagnosis of the genus, as well as a dichotomic key enabling the determination of Hormiops from its close relatives, Hormurus Thorell, 1876 and Liocheles Sundevall, 1833 are also provided. The phylogenetic position, distribution pattern, and ecology of these insular scorpions suggest that they are palaeoendemics, remnants of a previously more widely distributed lineage. A biogeographical model is proposed for the genus based on these observations and on a synthesis of palaeogeographical and palaeoenvironmental data currently available for Sundaland.

  4. Beta-scorpion toxin 2 from Centruroides noxius blocks voltage-gated K+ channels in human lymphocytes.

    PubMed

    Gáspár, R; Bene, L; Damjanovich, S; Muñoz-Garay, C; Calderon-Aranda, E S; Possani, L D

    1995-08-15

    Using the patch-clamp technique, we determined that beta-scorpion toxin 2 from Centruroides noxius Hoffmann decreased whole-cell n-type K+ currents in human peripheral blood lymphocytes, with a half blocking concentration of approx. 5 microM. Toxin-2-accelerated inactivation, however, did not influence the kinetics of activation of the K+ conductance. The percentage increase in K+ channel inactivation rate and the degree of drug-induced block was independent of membrane potential. K+ channel block by Toxin 2 was instantaneous, not removable by washing with drug free extracellular solution. However, 10 mg/ml BSA in the bath lifted the toxin-induced block almost instantaneously and completely. Flow cytometric membrane potential measurements with the oxonol dye showed that Toxin 2 depolarizes human lymphocytes in concert with its K+ channel blocking effect.

  5. Tryptophan-47 rotational isomerization in variant-3 scorpion neurotoxin. A combination thermodynamic perturbation and umbrella sampling study.

    PubMed Central

    Haydock, C; Sharp, J C; Prendergast, F G

    1990-01-01

    A combination thermodynamic perturbation and umbrella sampling study predicts two free energy wells for the rotational isomerization of the variant-3 scorpion neurotoxin tryptophan-47 indole side chain. One well has the indole side chain in the crystallographic orientation; the other has the indole rotated approximately 220 degrees to form a new conformation with a relative free energy of 3 +/- 2 kcal/mol. The activation barrier is 8.5 kcal/mol from the crystallographic well, from which transition state theory predicts a rate of escape of 2 x 10(5) s-1. Correlations in the displacements of side chains neighboring tryptophan-47 and the isomerization reaction coordinate last up to 20 ps. Favorable conditions of experimental verification are discussed. PMID:2393708

  6. Transgenic cotton expressing synthesized scorpion insect toxin AaHIT gene confers enhanced resistance to cotton bollworm (Heliothis armigera) larvae.

    PubMed

    Wu, Jiahe; Luo, Xiaoli; Wang, Zhian; Tian, Yingchuan; Liang, Aihua; Sun, Yi

    2008-03-01

    A synthetic scorpion Hector Insect Toxin (AaHIT) gene, under the control of a CaMV35S promoter, was cloned into cotton via Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. Southern blot analyses indicated that integration of the transgene varied from one to more than three estimated copies per genome; seven homozygous transgenic lines with one copy of the T-DNA insert were then selected by PCR and Southern blot analysis. AaHIT expression was from 0.02 to 0.43% of total soluble protein determined by western blot. These homozygous transgenic lines killed larvae of cotton bollworm (Heliothis armigera) by 44-98%. The AaHIT gene could used therefore an alternative to Bt toxin and proteinase inhibitor genes for producing transgenic cotton crops with effective control of bollworm.

  7. Synthesis and structural characterization of two half-sandwich nickel(II) complexes with the scorpionate ligands

    SciTech Connect

    Wang, G.-F. E-mail: s-shuwen@163.com; Zhang, X.; Sun, S.-W.; Sun, H.; Ma, H.-X.

    2015-12-15

    The synthesis and characterization of two new halfsandwich mononuclear nickel(II) complexes with the scorpionate ligands, [k{sup 3}-N, N',N''-Tp{sup t-Bu}, {sup Me}NiI] (1) and [k{sup 3}-N,N',N''-Tp{sup t-Bu}, {sup Me}NiNO{sub 3}] (2), are reported. These complexes have been fully characterized by elemental analyses and infrared spectra. Their molecular structures were determined by single crystal X-ray diffraction. The nickel(II) ion of complex 1 is in a four-coordinate environment, in which the donor atoms are provided by three nitrogen atoms of a hydrotris(pyrazolyl) borate ligand and one iodide atom, while that of complex 2 is in a five-coordinate environment with three nitrogen atoms from a hydrotris(pyrazolyl)borate ligand and two oxygen atoms from a nitrate ion.

  8. The development of the hardware for studying biological clock systems under microgravity conditions, using scorpions as animal models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Serafini, L.; Viganò, W.; Donati, A.; Porciani, M.; Zolesi, V.; Schulze-Varnholt, D.; Manieri, P.; El-Din Sallam, A.; Schmäh, M.; Horn, E. R.

    2007-02-01

    The study of internal clock systems of scorpions in weightless conditions is the goal of the SCORPI experiment. SCORPI was selected for flight on the International Space Station (ISS) and will be mounted in the European facility BIOLAB, the European Space Agency (ESA) laboratory designed to support biological experiments on micro-organisms, cells, tissue, cultures, small plants and small invertebrates. This paper outlines the main features of a breadboard designed and developed in order to allow the analysis of critical aspects of the experiment. It is a complete tool to simulate the experiment mission on ground and it can be customised, adapted and tuned to the scientific requirements. The paper introduces the SCORPI-T experiment which represents an important precursor for the success of the SCORPI on BIOLAB. The capabilities of the hardware developed show its potential use for future similar experiments in space.

  9. Stigmurin and TsAP-2 from Tityus stigmurus scorpion venom: Assessment of structure and therapeutic potential in experimental sepsis.

    PubMed

    Daniele-Silva, Alessandra; Machado, Richele J A; Monteiro, Norberto K V; Estrela, Andréia B; Santos, Elizabeth C G; Carvalho, Eneas; Araújo Júnior, Raimundo F; Melo-Silveira, Raniere F; Rocha, Hugo Alexandre O; Silva-Júnior, Arnóbio A; Fernandes-Pedrosa, Matheus F

    2016-10-01

    Microbial resistance to conventional antibiotics is a public health problem worldwide, motivating the search for new therapeutic alternatives in varied natural sources. Cationic peptides without disulfide bridges from scorpions have been targeted in this context, mainly due to their multifunctional action and the limited ability of microorganisms to develop resistance against them. The present study was focused on Stigmurin and TsAP-2, cationic peptides found in the transcriptome of the venom gland from the scorpion Tityus stigmurus. The aims were: to assess the secondary structure of TsAP-2 and the structural stability of both peptides by circular dichroism; to evaluate their antiproliferative effect, and antimicrobial activities in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo; and to investigate their therapeutic potential in a murine model of polymicrobial sepsis. Stigmurin and TsAP-2 secondary structures responded similarly to environment polarity changes, and were stable to temperature and pH variation. Both peptides showed antiproliferative effect on tumor cells. TsAP-2 showed lower cytotoxicity to normal cells, and had a mitogenic activity on murine macrophages. Stigmurin demonstrated bactericidal and bacteriostatic activity, depending on the microorganism, whereas TsAP-2 had bactericidal action upon different bacterial strains analyzed. Both peptides were able to reduce leukocyte migration, TNF-α levels and microorganism load in the peritoneal cavity after induction of experimental sepsis, decreasing inflammation in the lung and cecum of septic animals. TsAP-2 also reduced the release of nitric oxide in the peritoneal cavity. Taken together, these data suggest that Stigmurin and TsAP-2 are structurally stable molecules and are efficient in the control of the infectious focus in polymicrobial sepsis, with potential use as a prototype for the rational design of novel therapeutic agents.

  10. Venom Components of Iranian Scorpion Hemiscorpius lepturus Inhibit the Growth and Replication of Human Immunodeficiency Virus 1 (HIV-1)

    PubMed Central

    Zabihollahi, Rezvan; Bagheri, Kamran Pooshang; Keshavarz, Zohreh; Motevalli, Fatemeh; Bahramali, Golnaz; Siadat, Seyed Davar; Momen, Seyed Bahman; Shahbazzadeh, Delavar; Aghasadeghi, Mohammad Reza

    2016-01-01

    Background: During the recent years, significant progress has been achieved on development of novel anti-viral drugs. Natural products are assumed as the potential sources of novel anti-viral drugs; therefore, there are some previous studies reporting the anti-viral compounds from venomous animals. Based on the significant value for tracing of non-toxic anti-viral agents from natural resources, this study was aimed to investigate the anti-viral activity of some HPLC purified fractions derived from the venom of Iranian scorpion, Hemiscorpius lepturus, against human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) and herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). Methods: H. Lepturus crude venom was subjected to reverse phase HPLC analysis to determine its active components precisely where four dominant fractions obtained at retention time of 156-160 minutes. The phospholipase A2 and hemolytic activities of the purified fractions were first evaluated. Then the anti-viral activity was measured using single cycle HIV (NL4-3) replication and HSV (KOS) plaque reduction assays. Results: The H. lepturus crude venom inhibited HIV replication by 73% at the concentration of 200 µg/ml, while it did not show significant anti-HSV activity. It also inhibited the cell-free viral particles in a virucidal assay, while it showed no toxicity for the target cells in a proliferation assay. The four HPLC fractions purified from H. lepturus inhibited HIV with IC50 of 20 µg/ml. Conclusion: H. lepturus venom contains components with considerable anti-HIV activity insofar as it has virucidal activity that offers a novel therapeutic approach against HIV infection. Our results suggest a promising pilot for anti-HIV drug discovery with H. lepturus scorpion venom. PMID:27594443

  11. Effect of acid secretion blockade on acute gastric mucosal lesions induced by Tityus serrulatus scorpion toxin in anaesthetized rats.

    PubMed

    Melo, Júnio Rios; de Araújo, Gnana Keith Marques; da Luz, Magda Maria Profeta; da Conceição, Sérgio Alexandre; Lisboa, Felipe Assis; Moraes-Santos, Tasso; Cunha-Melo, José Renan

    2006-10-01

    Scorpion venom (TX) promotes gastric acid and pepsin secretion leading to acute gastric mucosal lesions (AGML), when injected in animals. The goal of the present study was to observe the effects of acid gastric secretion blockers over the incidence of TX-induced AGML in vivo. To verify this model, we used male albino rats, fasted 18-20 h (n=122) and anaesthetized with urethane (1.4 g/kg, i.p.). Their trachea and left femoral vein were both cannulated; the first to avoid airway obstructions during scorpion intoxication and the second for administration of saline, TX and acid blockers. Following the surgical procedure, the animals were divided in 10 groups of at least 10 animals each. Control groups were injected with NaCl 0.9% 1 ml/kg (n=10) or TX 375 microg/kg (n=32). Test groups (n=10, each) received atropine 5 mg/kg, cimetidine 10mg/kg, ranitidine 2.5mg/kg, ranitidine 5mg/kg, omeprazol 1 mg/kg, omeprazol 4 mg/kg, octreotide 80 and octreotide 100 microg/kg 10 min before the TX was injected. After 1h of intoxication, the stomach was resected for macroscopic study and the gastric secretion was collected for volume, pH and acid output assessment. We observed that all blockers were able to completely or partially prevent the TX-induced acid secretion as well as the AGML (p<0.05). Our data suggest the TX-induced AGML can be prevented by different class of acid blockers injected before the intoxication.

  12. Beta-scorpion toxin effects suggest electrostatic interactions in domain II of voltage-dependent sodium channels.

    PubMed

    Mantegazza, Massimo; Cestèle, Sandrine

    2005-10-01

    Beta-scorpion toxins specifically modulate the voltage dependence of sodium channel activation by acting through a voltage-sensor trapping model. We used mutagenesis, functional analysis and the action of beta-toxin as tools to investigate the existence and role in channel activation of molecular interactions between the charged residues of the S2, S3 and S4 segments in domain II of sodium channels. Mutating to arginine the acidic residues of the S2 and S3 transmembrane segments in domain II, or making charge-reversal mutation of the two outermost gating charges of the IIS4 voltage sensor, shifts the voltage dependence of channel activation to more positive potentials and enhances the effect of beta-scorpion toxin. Thus, mutations of acidic residues in IIS2 and IIS3 segments are able to promote voltage-sensor trapping in a way that is similar to the mutations of the arginines in the IIS4 segment. In order to disclose the network of interactions among acidic and basic residues we performed functional analysis of charge-inversion double mutants: our data suggest that the first arginine of the voltage sensor S4 in domain II (R850) interacts specifically with E805, D814 and E821 in the S2 and S3 segments, whereas the second arginine (R853) only interacts with D827 in the S3 segment. Our results suggest that the S2, S3 and S4 segments in domain II form a voltage-sensing structure, and that molecular interactions between the charged residues of this structure modulate the availability of the IIS4 voltage sensor for trapping by beta-toxins. They also provide unique insights into the molecular events that occur during channel activation, as well as into the structure of the channel.

  13. Molecular modeling and docking simulations of scorpion toxins and related analogs on human SKCa2 and SKCa3 channels.

    PubMed

    Andreotti, Nicolas; di Luccio, Eric; Sampieri, François; De Waard, Michel; Sabatier, Jean-Marc

    2005-07-01

    The small-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ (SKCa) channels modulate cytosolic Ca2+ concentration in excitable and non-excitable tissues by regulating the membrane potential and are responsible of slow action potential after hyperpolarization that inhibits cell firing. Among these, human SKCa2 and SKCa3 channels differ in the pore region by only two residues: Ala331 and Asn367 (human small-conductance calcium-activated potassium channel, hSKCa2) instead of Val485 and His521 (hSKCa3). To design highly selective blockers of hSKCa channels, a number of known hSKCa2 and/or hSKCa3-active peptides (i.e. scorpion toxins and analogs thereof) were analyzed for their interactions and selectivities toward these channels. Molecular models of hSKCa2 and hSKCa3 channels (S5-H5-S6 portion) were generated, and scorpion toxins/peptides of unsolved three-dimensional (3D) structures were modeled. Models of toxin-channel complexes were generated by the bimolecular complex generation with global evaluation, and ranking (BiGGER) docking software and selected by using a screening method of the docking solutions. A high degree of correlation was found to exist between docking energies and experimental Kd values of peptides that blocked hSKCa2 and/or hSKCa3 channels, suggesting it could be appropriate to predict Kd values of other bioactive peptides. The best scoring complexes were also used to identify key residues of both interacting partners, indicating that such an approach should help the design of more active and/or selective peptide blockers of targeted ion channels.

  14. Scorpion β-toxin interference with NaV channel voltage sensor gives rise to excitatory and depressant modes.

    PubMed

    Leipold, Enrico; Borges, Adolfo; Heinemann, Stefan H

    2012-04-01

    Scorpion β toxins, peptides of ∼70 residues, specifically target voltage-gated sodium (Na(V)) channels to cause use-dependent subthreshold channel openings via a voltage-sensor trapping mechanism. This excitatory action is often overlaid by a not yet understood depressant mode in which Na(V) channel activity is inhibited. Here, we analyzed these two modes of gating modification by β-toxin Tz1 from Tityus zulianus on heterologously expressed Na(V)1.4 and Na(V)1.5 channels using the whole cell patch-clamp method. Tz1 facilitated the opening of Na(V)1.4 in a use-dependent manner and inhibited channel opening with a reversed use dependence. In contrast, the opening of Na(V)1.5 was exclusively inhibited without noticeable use dependence. Using chimeras of Na(V)1.4 and Na(V)1.5 channels, we demonstrated that gating modification by Tz1 depends on the specific structure of the voltage sensor in domain 2. Although residue G658 in Na(V)1.4 promotes the use-dependent transitions between Tz1 modification phenotypes, the equivalent residue in Na(V)1.5, N803, abolishes them. Gating charge neutralizations in the Na(V)1.4 domain 2 voltage sensor identified arginine residues at positions 663 and 669 as crucial for the outward and inward movement of this sensor, respectively. Our data support a model in which Tz1 can stabilize two conformations of the domain 2 voltage sensor: a preactivated outward position leading to Na(V) channels that open at subthreshold potentials, and a deactivated inward position preventing channels from opening. The results are best explained by a two-state voltage-sensor trapping model in that bound scorpion β toxin slows the activation as well as the deactivation kinetics of the voltage sensor in domain 2.

  15. β-Scorpion toxin effects suggest electrostatic interactions in domain II of voltage-dependent sodium channels

    PubMed Central

    Mantegazza, Massimo; Cestèle, Sandrine

    2005-01-01

    β-Scorpion toxins specifically modulate the voltage dependence of sodium channel activation by acting through a voltage-sensor trapping model. We used mutagenesis, functional analysis and the action of β-toxin as tools to investigate the existence and role in channel activation of molecular interactions between the charged residues of the S2, S3 and S4 segments in domain II of sodium channels. Mutating to arginine the acidic residues of the S2 and S3 transmembrane segments in domain II, or making charge-reversal mutation of the two outermost gating charges of the IIS4 voltage sensor, shifts the voltage dependence of channel activation to more positive potentials and enhances the effect of β-scorpion toxin. Thus, mutations of acidic residues in IIS2 and IIS3 segments are able to promote voltage-sensor trapping in a way that is similar to the mutations of the arginines in the IIS4 segment. In order to disclose the network of interactions among acidic and basic residues we performed functional analysis of charge-inversion double mutants: our data suggest that the first arginine of the voltage sensor S4 in domain II (R850) interacts specifically with E805, D814 and E821 in the S2 and S3 segments, whereas the second arginine (R853) only interacts with D827 in the S3 segment. Our results suggest that the S2, S3 and S4 segments in domain II form a voltage-sensing structure, and that molecular interactions between the charged residues of this structure modulate the availability of the IIS4 voltage sensor for trapping by β-toxins. They also provide unique insights into the molecular events that occur during channel activation, as well as into the structure of the channel. PMID:16020455

  16. Scorpion β-toxin interference with NaV channel voltage sensor gives rise to excitatory and depressant modes

    PubMed Central

    Leipold, Enrico; Borges, Adolfo

    2012-01-01

    Scorpion β toxins, peptides of ∼70 residues, specifically target voltage-gated sodium (NaV) channels to cause use-dependent subthreshold channel openings via a voltage–sensor trapping mechanism. This excitatory action is often overlaid by a not yet understood depressant mode in which NaV channel activity is inhibited. Here, we analyzed these two modes of gating modification by β-toxin Tz1 from Tityus zulianus on heterologously expressed NaV1.4 and NaV1.5 channels using the whole cell patch-clamp method. Tz1 facilitated the opening of NaV1.4 in a use-dependent manner and inhibited channel opening with a reversed use dependence. In contrast, the opening of NaV1.5 was exclusively inhibited without noticeable use dependence. Using chimeras of NaV1.4 and NaV1.5 channels, we demonstrated that gating modification by Tz1 depends on the specific structure of the voltage sensor in domain 2. Although residue G658 in NaV1.4 promotes the use-dependent transitions between Tz1 modification phenotypes, the equivalent residue in NaV1.5, N803, abolishes them. Gating charge neutralizations in the NaV1.4 domain 2 voltage sensor identified arginine residues at positions 663 and 669 as crucial for the outward and inward movement of this sensor, respectively. Our data support a model in which Tz1 can stabilize two conformations of the domain 2 voltage sensor: a preactivated outward position leading to NaV channels that open at subthreshold potentials, and a deactivated inward position preventing channels from opening. The results are best explained by a two-state voltage–sensor trapping model in that bound scorpion β toxin slows the activation as well as the deactivation kinetics of the voltage sensor in domain 2. PMID:22450487

  17. Negative-shift activation, current reduction and resurgent currents induced by β-toxins from Centruroides scorpions in sodium channels.

    PubMed

    Schiavon, Emanuele; Pedraza-Escalona, Martha; Gurrola, Georgina B; Olamendi-Portugal, Timoteo; Corzo, Gerardo; Wanke, Enzo; Possani, Lourival D

    2012-02-01

    The β-toxins purified from the New World scorpion venoms of the Centruroides species affect several voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs) and thus are essential tools not only for the discrimination of different channel sub-types but also for studying the structure-function relationship between channels and toxins. This communication reports the results obtained with four different peptides purified from three species of Centruroides scorpions and assayed on seven distinct isoforms of VGSC (Na(v)1.1-Na(v)1.7) by specific functional analysis conducted through single cell electrophysiology. The toxins studied were CssII from Centruroides suffusus suffusus, Cll1 and Cll2 from Centruroides limpidus limpidus and a novel toxin from Centruroides noxius, which was characterized for the first time here. It has 67 amino acid residues and four disulfide bridges with a molecular mass of 7626 Da. Three different functional features were identified: current reduction of macroscopic conductance, left shift of the voltage-dependent activation and induction of resurgent currents at negative voltages following brief, strong depolarizations. The isoforms which revealed to be more affected resulted to be Na(v)1.6 > 1.1 > 1.2 and, for the first time, a β-toxin is here shown to induce resurgent current also in isoforms different from Na(v)1.6. Additionally, these results were analyzed with molecular modelling. In conclusion, although the four toxins have a high degree of identity, they display tri-modal function, each of which shows selectivity among the different sub-types of Na+ -channels. Thus, they are invaluable as tools for structure-function studies of β-toxins and offer a basis for the design of novel ion channel-specific drugs.

  18. C-Terminal residues in small potassium channel blockers OdK1 and OSK3 from scorpion venom fine-tune the selectivity.

    PubMed

    Kuzmenkov, Alexey I; Peigneur, Steve; Chugunov, Anton O; Tabakmakher, Valentin M; Efremov, Roman G; Tytgat, Jan; Grishin, Eugene V; Vassilevski, Alexander A

    2017-02-04

    We report isolation, sequencing, and electrophysiological characterization of OSK3 (α-KTx 8.8 in Kalium and Uniprot databases), a potassium channel blocker from the scorpion Orthochirus scrobiculosus venom. Using the voltage clamp technique, OSK3 was tested on a wide panel of 11 voltage-gated potassium channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes, and was found to potently inhibit Kv1.2 and Kv1.3 with IC50 values of ~331nM and ~503nM, respectively. OdK1 produced by the scorpion Odontobuthus doriae differs by just two C-terminal residues from OSK3, but shows marked preference to Kv1.2. Based on the charybdotoxin-potassium channel complex crystal structure, a model was built to explain the role of the variable residues in OdK1 and OSK3 selectivity.

  19. African Passages: Journaling through Archetypes.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Spencer, Patricia

    1990-01-01

    Explores how students (through an awareness of literary archetypes and journal writing) can use African stories to cross cultures, time, and continents, making connections between their worlds and the worlds of others. (MG)

  20. Early African Hominids: Pedagogic Patterns.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Newman, James L.

    1984-01-01

    By studying early African hominids, students can learn about the interactive testing and creative aspects of scientific thinking and sharpen their geographical skills. It is impossible to study this topic without giving prominence to space and time. (RM)

  1. African-Americans and Alzheimer's

    MedlinePlus

    ... African-Americans are at a higher risk for Alzheimer's disease. Many Americans dismiss the warning signs of Alzheimer's, ... two times more likely to develop late-onset Alzheimer's disease than whites and less likely to have a ...

  2. The Dilemma of Choosing a Reference Character for Measuring Sexual Size Dimorphism, Sexual Body Component Dimorphism, and Character Scaling: Cryptic Dimorphism and Allometry in the Scorpion Hadrurus arizonensis

    PubMed Central

    Fox, Gerad A.; Cooper, Allen M.; Hayes, William K.

    2015-01-01

    Sexual differences in morphology, ranging from subtle to extravagant, occur commonly in many animal species. These differences can encompass overall body size (sexual size dimorphism, SSD) or the size and/or shape of specific body parts (sexual body component dimorphism, SBCD). Interacting forces of natural and sexual selection shape much of the expression of dimorphism we see, though non-adaptive processes may be involved. Differential scaling of individual features can result when selection favors either exaggerated (positive allometry) or reduced (negative allometry) size during growth. Studies of sexual dimorphism and character scaling rely on multivariate models that ideally use an unbiased reference character as an overall measure of body size. We explored several candidate reference characters in a cryptically dimorphic taxon, Hadrurus arizonensis. In this scorpion, essentially every body component among the 16 we examined could be interpreted as dimorphic, but identification of SSD and SBCD depended on which character was used as the reference (prosoma length, prosoma area, total length, principal component 1, or metasoma segment 1 width). Of these characters, discriminant function analysis suggested that metasoma segment 1 width was the most appropriate. The pattern of dimorphism in H. arizonensis mirrored that seen in other more obviously dimorphic scorpions, with static allometry trending towards isometry in most characters. Our findings are consistent with the conclusions of others that fecundity selection likely favors a larger prosoma in female scorpions, whereas sexual selection may favor other body parts being larger in males, especially the metasoma, pectines, and possibly the chela. For this scorpion and probably most other organisms, the choice of reference character profoundly affects interpretations of SSD, SBCD, and allometry. Thus, researchers need to broaden their consideration of an appropriate reference and exercise caution in interpreting

  3. The dilemma of choosing a reference character for measuring sexual size dimorphism, sexual body component dimorphism, and character scaling: cryptic dimorphism and allometry in the scorpion Hadrurus arizonensis.

    PubMed

    Fox, Gerad A; Cooper, Allen M; Hayes, William K

    2015-01-01

    Sexual differences in morphology, ranging from subtle to extravagant, occur commonly in many animal species. These differences can encompass overall body size (sexual size dimorphism, SSD) or the size and/or shape of specific body parts (sexual body component dimorphism, SBCD). Interacting forces of natural and sexual selection shape much of the expression of dimorphism we see, though non-adaptive processes may be involved. Differential scaling of individual features can result when selection favors either exaggerated (positive allometry) or reduced (negative allometry) size during growth. Studies of sexual dimorphism and character scaling rely on multivariate models that ideally use an unbiased reference character as an overall measure of body size. We explored several candidate reference characters in a cryptically dimorphic taxon, Hadrurus arizonensis. In this scorpion, essentially every body component among the 16 we examined could be interpreted as dimorphic, but identification of SSD and SBCD depended on which character was used as the reference (prosoma length, prosoma area, total length, principal component 1, or metasoma segment 1 width). Of these characters, discriminant function analysis suggested that metasoma segment 1 width was the most appropriate. The pattern of dimorphism in H. arizonensis mirrored that seen in other more obviously dimorphic scorpions, with static allometry trending towards isometry in most characters. Our findings are consistent with the conclusions of others that fecundity selection likely favors a larger prosoma in female scorpions, whereas sexual selection may favor other body parts being larger in males, especially the metasoma, pectines, and possibly the chela. For this scorpion and probably most other organisms, the choice of reference character profoundly affects interpretations of SSD, SBCD, and allometry. Thus, researchers need to broaden their consideration of an appropriate reference and exercise caution in interpreting

  4. Substitutions in the Domain III Voltage-sensing Module Enhance the Sensitivity of an Insect Sodium Channel to a Scorpion β-Toxin*

    PubMed Central

    Song, Weizhong; Du, Yuzhe; Liu, Zhiqi; Luo, Ningguang; Turkov, Michael; Gordon, Dalia; Gurevitz, Michael; Goldin, Alan L.; Dong, Ke

    2011-01-01

    Scorpion β-toxins bind to the extracellular regions of the voltage-sensing module of domain II and to the pore module of domain III in voltage-gated sodium channels and enhance channel activation by trapping and stabilizing the voltage sensor of domain II in its activated state. We investigated the interaction of a highly potent insect-selective scorpion depressant β-toxin, Lqh-dprIT3, from Leiurus quinquestriatus hebraeus with insect sodium channels from Blattella germanica (BgNav). Like other scorpion β-toxins, Lqh-dprIT3 shifts the voltage dependence of activation of BgNav channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes to more negative membrane potentials but only after strong depolarizing prepulses. Notably, among 10 BgNav splice variants tested for their sensitivity to the toxin, only BgNav1-1 was hypersensitive due to an L1285P substitution in IIIS1 resulting from a U-to-C RNA-editing event. Furthermore, charge reversal of a negatively charged residue (E1290K) at the extracellular end of IIIS1 and the two innermost positively charged residues (R4E and R5E) in IIIS4 also increased the channel sensitivity to Lqh-dprIT3. Besides enhancement of toxin sensitivity, the R4E substitution caused an additional 20-mV negative shift in the voltage dependence of activation of toxin-modified channels, inducing a unique toxin-modified state. Our findings provide the first direct evidence for the involvement of the domain III voltage-sensing module in the action of scorpion β-toxins. This hypersensitivity most likely reflects an increase in IIS4 trapping via allosteric mechanisms, suggesting coupling between the voltage sensors in neighboring domains during channel activation. PMID:21454658

  5. Scorpion venom heat-resistant peptide (SVHRP) enhances neurogenesis and neurite outgrowth of immature neurons in adult mice by up-regulating brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

    PubMed

    Wang, Tao; Wang, Shi-Wei; Zhang, Yue; Wu, Xue-Fei; Peng, Yan; Cao, Zhen; Ge, Bi-Ying; Wang, Xi; Wu, Qiong; Lin, Jin-Tao; Zhang, Wan-Qin; Li, Shao; Zhao, Jie

    2014-01-01

    Scorpion venom heat-resistant peptide (SVHRP) is a component purified from Buthus martensii Karsch scorpion venom. Although scorpions and their venom have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to treat chronic neurological disorders, the underlying mechanisms of these treatments remain unknown. We applied SVHRP in vitro and in vivo to understand its effects on the neurogenesis and maturation of adult immature neurons and explore associated molecular mechanisms. SVHRP administration increased the number of 5-bromo-2'-dexoxyuridine (BrdU)-positive cells, BrdU-positive/neuron-specific nuclear protein (NeuN)-positive neurons, and polysialylated-neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM)-positive immature neurons in the subventricular zone (SVZ) and subgranular zone (SGZ) of hippocampus. Furthermore immature neurons incubated with SVHRP-pretreated astrocyte-conditioned medium exhibited significantly increased neurite length compared with those incubated with normal astrocyte-conditioned medium. This neurotrophic effect was further confirmed in vivo by detecting an increased average single area and whole area of immature neurons in the SGZ, SVZ and olfactory bulb (OB) in the adult mouse brain. In contrast to normal astrocyte-conditioned medium, higher concentrations of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) but not nerve growth factor (NGF) or glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) was detected in the conditioned medium of SVHRP-pretreated astrocytes, and blocking BDNF using anti-BDNF antibodies eliminated these SVHRP-dependent neurotrophic effects. In SVHRP treated mouse brain, more glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-positive cells were detected. Furthermore, immunohistochemistry revealed increased numbers of GFAP/BDNF double-positive cells, which agrees with the observed changes in the culture system. This paper describes novel effects of scorpion venom-originated peptide on the stem cells and suggests the potential therapeutic values of SVHRP.

  6. Multiple actions of φ-LITX-Lw1a on ryanodine receptors reveal a functional link between scorpion DDH and ICK toxins

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Jennifer J.; Vetter, Irina; Lewis, Richard J.; Peigneur, Steve; Tytgat, Jan; Lam, Alexander; Gallant, Esther M.; Beard, Nicole A.; Alewood, Paul F.; Dulhunty, Angela F.

    2013-01-01

    We recently reported the isolation of a scorpion toxin named U1-liotoxin-Lw1a (U1-LITX-Lw1a) that adopts an unusual 3D fold termed the disulfide-directed hairpin (DDH) motif, which is the proposed evolutionary structural precursor of the three-disulfide-containing inhibitor cystine knot (ICK) motif found widely in animals and plants. Here we reveal that U1-LITX-Lw1a targets and activates the mammalian ryanodine receptor intracellular calcium release channel (RyR) with high (fM) potency and provides a functional link between DDH and ICK scorpion toxins. Moreover, U1-LITX-Lw1a, now described as φ-liotoxin-Lw1a (φ-LITX-Lw1a), has a similar mode of action on RyRs as scorpion calcines, although with significantly greater potency, inducing full channel openings at lower (fM) toxin concentrations whereas at higher pM concentrations increasing the frequency and duration of channel openings to a submaximal state. In addition, we show that the C-terminal residue of φ-LITX-Lw1a is crucial for the increase in full receptor openings but not for the increase in receptor subconductance opening, thereby supporting the two-binding-site hypothesis of scorpion toxins on RyRs. φ-LITX-Lw1a has potential both as a pharmacological tool and as a lead molecule for the treatment of human diseases that involve RyRs, such as malignant hyperthermia and polymorphic ventricular tachycardia. PMID:23671114

  7. Hepatitis C in African Americans.

    PubMed

    Saab, Sammy; Jackson, Christian; Nieto, Jose; Francois, Fritz

    2014-10-01

    The care of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in African Americans represents an opportunity to address a major health disparity in medicine. In all facets of HCV infection, African Americans are inexplicably affected, including in the prevalence of the virus, which is higher among them compared with most of the racial and ethnic groups. Ironically, although fibrosis rates may be slow, hepatocellular carcinoma and mortality rates appear to be higher among African Americans. Sustained viral response (SVR) rates have historically significantly trailed behind Caucasians. The reasons for this gap in SVR are related to both viral and host factors. Moreover, low enrollment rates in clinical trials hamper the study of the efficacy of anti-viral therapy. Nevertheless, the gap in SVR between African Americans and Caucasians may be narrowing with the use of direct-acting agents. Gastroenterologists, hepatologists, primary care physicians, and other health-care providers need to address modifiable risk factors that affect the natural history, as well as treatment outcomes, for HCV among African Americans. Efforts need to be made to improve awareness among health-care providers to address the differences in screening and referral patterns for African Americans.

  8. The three-dimensional structural surface of two beta-sheet scorpion toxins mimics that of an alpha-helical dihydropyridine receptor segment.

    PubMed Central

    Green, Daniel; Pace, Suzi; Curtis, Suzanne M; Sakowska, Magdalena; Lamb, Graham D; Dulhunty, Angela F; Casarotto, Marco G

    2003-01-01

    An alpha-helical II-III loop segment of the dihydropyridine receptor activates the ryanodine receptor calcium-release channel. We describe a novel manipulation in which this agonist's activity is increased by modifying its surface structure to resemble that of a toxin molecule. In a unique system, native beta-sheet scorpion toxins have been reported to activate skeletal muscle ryanodine receptor calcium channels with high affinity by binding to the same site as the lower-affinity alpha-helical dihydropyridine receptor segment. We increased the alignment of basic residues in the alpha-helical peptide to mimic the spatial orientation of active residues in the scorpion toxin, with a consequent 2-20-fold increase in the activity of the alpha-helical peptide. We hypothesized that, like the native peptide, the modified peptide and the scorpion toxin may bind to a common site. This was supported by (i) similar changes in ryanodine receptor channel gating induced by the native or modified alpha-helical peptide and the beta-sheet toxin, a 10-100-fold reduction in channel closed time, with a < or = 2-fold increase in open dwell time and (ii) a failure of the toxin to further activate channels activated by the peptides. These results suggest that diverse structural scaffolds can present similar conformational surface properties to target common receptor sites. PMID:12429019

  9. Biochemical and physiological characterization of a new Na(+)-channel specific peptide from the venom of the Argentinean scorpion Tityus trivittatus.

    PubMed

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