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Structural diversity of arthropod venom toxins
- Daly, Norelle L., Wilson, David
- Toxicon 2018 v.152 pp. 46-56
- Araneae, Crustacea, Scorpiones, arthropod venoms, arthropods, bioactive compounds, peptides, pharmacology, proteins, therapeutics, toxins
- Arthropods are a diverse and ancient group of invertebrate animals, which constitute approximately 75–85% of all known species on earth. Many arthropod species, such as spiders, scorpions and even some crustaceans, contain venoms that can be very complex, representing natural combinatorial libraries of bioactive compounds. Characterization of the compounds in these libraries has helped the development of tools for pharmacology, and the discovery of lead molecules for therapeutic treatments. A critical aspect in the characterization of venom compounds is determination of three-dimensional structure. Structural analysis can provide insight into many processes including understanding target interactions and developing more potent and selective drug leads. Arthropod venoms are an extremely rich source of novel structures and this review provides an overview of this structural diversity, including structures of proteins, peptides and small molecules.