The death of brain cells will stop… spider venom

On the basis of some neurodegenerative diseases of the Central nervous system are disorders of the activity of receptors in the brain and if these changes will correct the work and to overcome related diseases. That is what, according to the edition of Neuron, was sent to study international group of scientists. And, as it turned out, this will help the poison spider crporate.

The study was aimed at studying the glutamate receptors. The fact that they, logically, are activated in the body due to the effect of glutamate by the addition of special proteins and they open the ion channel, permeable to positively charged ions. This results in the appearance of the electric potential, which applies to all processes of the neurons. In some diseases of the nervous system is over-activation of glutamate receptors. A particular risk in this case are the receptors that conduct calcium because large quantities leads to cell death (as a result of starting the process of apoptosis). Therefore, to develop a substance that blocks the glutamate receptors, calcium channels, is an important task.

In the course of their work, scientists studied the structure of the receptor, decided to act on it in three different compounds, the first of which was a poison to the already mentioned spider crporate (Argiope lobata) and two of its synthetic analogues. Each consists of two parts, the so-called “head” and “tail”. As stated by one of the participants, Alexander Sobolewski, a graduate of MIPT, now a fellow at Columbia University

“These blockers penetrate the receptor when the latter is opened by the action of glutamate, while they put their positively charged tail in a narrow negatively charged part of the ion channel. Go channel blockers do not allows head stuck in the inner cavity of the receptor.”

It turned out that the spider toxin and synthetic drugs that selectively block those receptors, which let in a lot of calcium. However, they do not affect the receptors, the discovery of which calcium does not participate. Thus, drugs based on spider venom can act only affected receptors and does not affect the operation of the healthy part of the neurons of the brain. The information obtained can be used for therapy for conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, epilepsy and cell death in the Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

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