[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The 6-hydroxytrypargine (6-HT) is an alkaloidal toxin of the group of tetrahydro-β-carbolines (THβC) isolated from the venom of the colonial spider Parawixia bistriata. These alkaloids are reversible inhibitors of the monoamine-oxidase enzyme (MAO), with hallucinogenic, tremorigenic and anxiolytic properties. The toxin 6-HT was the first THβC chemically reported in the venom of spiders; however, it was not functionally well characterized up to now. The action of 6-HT was investigated by intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) and intravenous (i.v.) applications of the toxin in adult male Wistar rats, followed by the monitoring of the expression of fos-protein, combined with the use of double labeling immunehistochemistry protocols for the detection of some nervous receptors and enzymes related to the metabolism of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system (CNS). We also investigated the epileptiform activity in presence of this toxin. The assays were carried out in normal hippocampal neurons and also in a model of chronic epilepsy obtained by the use of neurons incubated in free-magnesium artificial cerebro-spinal fluid (ACSF). Trypargine, a well known THβC toxin, was used as standard compound for comparative purposes. Fos-immunoreactive cells (fos-ir) were observed in hypothalamic and thalamic areas, while the double-labeling identified nervous receptors of the sub-types rGlu2/3 and NMR1, and orexinergic neurons. The 6-HT was administrated by perfusion and ejection in "brain slices" of hippocampus, inducing epileptic activity after its administration; the toxin was not able to block the epileptogenic crisis observed in the chronic model of the epilepsy, suggesting that 6-HT did not block the overactive GluRs responsible for this epileptic activity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nigriventrine was isolated from the "armed" spider Phoneutria nigriventer, in which it constitutes about 0.4% of the total venom content. Its structure was determined to be [1,1'-(1-hydroxyhydrazine-1,2-diyl)bis(oxy)bis(4-hydroxy-2,6-dioxopiperidine-4 carboxylic acid)] by NMR, HR-ES/IMS and MS/MS methods. The intracerebroventricular application of nigriventrine in rat brain, followed by the detection of c-Fos protein expression, indicated that the compound was neuroactive in the motor cortex, sensory cortex, piriform cortex, median preoptic nucleus, dorsal endopiriform nucleus, lateral septal nucleus and hippocampus of rat brain. Nigriventrine causes convulsions in rats, even when peripherally applied.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Peptides constitute the largest group of Hymenoptera venom toxins; some of them interact with GPCR, being involved with the activation of different types of leukocytes, smooth muscle contraction and neurotoxicity. Most of these toxins vary from dodecapeptides to tetradecapeptides, amidated at their C-terminal amino acid residue. The venoms of social wasps can also contains some tetra-, penta-, hexa- and hepta-peptides, but just a few of them have been structurally and functionally characterized up to now. Protonectin (ILGTILGLLKGL-NH(2)) is a polyfunctional peptide, presenting mast cell degranulation, release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) from mast cells, antibiosis against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and chemotaxis for polymorphonucleated leukocytes (PMNL), while Protonectin (1-6) (ILGTIL-NH(2)) only presents chemotaxis for PMNL. However, the mixture of Protonectin (1-6) with Protonectin in the molar ratio of 1:1 seems to potentiate the biological activities dependent of the membrane perturbation caused by Protonectin, as observed in the increasing of the activities of mast cell degranulation, LDH releasing from mast cells, and antibiosis. Despite both peptides are able to induce PMNL chemotaxis, the mixture of them presents a reduced activity in comparison to the individual peptides. Apparently, when mixed both peptides seems to form a supra-molecular structure, which interact with the receptors responsible for PMNL chemotaxis, disturbing their individual docking with these receptors. In addition to this, a comparison of the sequences of both peptides suggests that the sequence ILGTIL is conserved, suggesting that it must constitute a linear motif for the structural recognition by the specific receptor which induces leukocytes migration.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Colonial spiders evolved a differential prey-capture behaviour in concert with their venom chemistry, which may be a source of novel drugs. Some highly active tetrahydro-beta-carboline (THbetaC) toxins were recently isolated from the venom of the colonial spider Parawixia bistriata; the spiders use these toxins as part of their chemical arsenal to kill and/or paralyze preys. The major THbetaC compound isolated from this venom was identified as 6-hydroxytrypargine, also known as PwTX-I. Most natural compounds of animal origin occur in low abundance, and the natural abundance of PwTX-I is insufficient for complete functional characterization. Thus, PwTx-I was synthesized using a Pictet-Spengler condensation strategy, and the stereoisomers of the synthetic toxin were separated by chiral chromatography. The fraction of venom containing a mixture of three natural THbetaC toxins and enantiomers of PwTx-I were analyzed for inhibition of monoamine oxidase (MAO)-A and -B and for toxicity to insects. We reveal that the mixture of the natural THbetaC toxins, as well as the enantiomers of PwTx-I, were non-competitive inhibitors of MAO-A and MAO-B and caused potent paralysis of honeybees. The (-)-PwTX-I enantiomer is 2-fold more potent than the (+)-PwTX-I enantiomer in the assays performed.