Author(s): Kerkis I, Silva Fde S, Pereira A, Kerkis A, RdisBaptista G
Abstract Share this page
Abstract IMPORTANCE OF THE FIELD: Molecules isolated from animals, insects, plants or microorganisms can provide prototypes for design of biopharmaceutical products. Some venom toxins and their derivatives are used in medicine, while others provide templates for development of new drugs. AREAS COVERED IN THIS REVIEW: The mild toxin, crotamine, a small basic low-molecular-weight polypeptide purified from the venom of a South American rattlesnake, Crotalus durissus terrificus. Crotamine was discovered more than 50 years ago and only in the past six years has its exceptional biological versatility been demonstrated. Particularly, its cell-penetrating ability, which allows crotamine to cross cell membranes and to accumulate in the nucleus; its use for intracellular vesicle tracking and as a cell cycle marker and its capability for delivering DNA into replicating mammalian cells. Both antimicrobial action and potential selective antitumor activity of crotamine have also been found. WHAT THE READER WILL GAIN: Multidisciplinary approaches and pathways of discovery placed crotamine in a rare category of versatile biomolecules, in which concentration, molecular target preference, structural ancestry and specificity toward biological membranes play an integral role. TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Crotamine is a druggable peptide with high potential for use as an imaging agent for detecting dividing cells, for intracellular delivery of hydrophilic biomolecules, and as an alternative chemotherapeutic compound against aggressive types of cancer.
This article was published in Expert Opin Investig Drugs
and referenced in Cloning & Transgenesis