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Scorpion Venom Kills MRSA

Peptides extracted from scorpion venom fights off drug-resistant bacterial infections in mice.

By | July 12, 2012

image: Scorpion Venom Kills MRSA A Mesobuthus martensii scorpionWikimedia Commons, Ja

Virologists from China’s Wuhan University may have the next new weapon in the battle against the dreaded methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria, or any of a number of rising microbes that show resistance to common antibiotics—scorpion venom. Extracting a peptide called BmKn2 from the venom of the scorpion Mesobuthus martensii Karsch, then modifying it into another peptide called Kn2-7, the team was able to boost BmKn2’s natural antibacterial activity while decreasing the unwanted side effect of hemolysis. In vitro, Kn2-7 killed a variety of gram-positive and gram-negative strains of bacteria, including MRSA, a growing cause of hospital infections around the world. The peptide also successfully fought off skin infections in mice.

“They showed it’s possible to take this peptide and turn it into an antimicrobial peptide that can kill a broad range of bacteria that are harmful to humans,” immunologist Michael Zasloff of Georgetown University, who was not involved in the study, told Wired Science.

Further investigation revealed that the peptide binds to the bacteria’s cell walls and causes them to burst. But in contrast to previously tested peptides from scorpion venom, Kn2-7 caused significantly less damage to human red blood cells. The researchers reported their results last week (July 5) in PLoS ONE.

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Comments

Avatar of: jgonzo220

jgonzo220

Posts: 2

July 12, 2012

Could be promising, especially now when MRSA strains are becoming harder and harder to treat---It's important to remember that a lot of drug "ingenuity" is derived from nature. 

July 12, 2012

what are the impacts of harvesting the scorpion venom on the scorpions themselves and to what extent does the Kn2-7 damage red blood cells? - important to consider.

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