Lizard venom can treat high blood pressure

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 - 00:00

Washington: Scientists claim to have found evidence that newly discovered venoms from `anguimorph` lizards contain toxins which can be used to treat high blood
pressure levels in people.

For its research, an international team, led by Dr Bryan Fry of University of Melbourne examined the unexplored group of venomous lizards called anguimorphs -- a group that
includes monitor, alligator and legless lizards.

"We only recently discovered that venom in lizards was not restricted to the gila monster and beaded lizard, but it is in fact much more widespread - so we set out to examine
this unique group, and discovered completely novel toxins.

"We showed a great diversity of toxins in anguimorph venoms. The drug design potential of these novel venoms is highlighted by the fact that three of these new toxins act to lower blood pressure," Dr Fry said.

The research took four years to complete and involved collecting venom from lizards all over the world, followed by complex laboratory studies to analyse the exact properties of
the venom.

"It was a huge undertaking but the result is well worth the effort - we have discovered completely novel venoms, and shed light on evolution of venom systems in animals.

"The results obtained highlight the importance of utilising evolution-based search strategies for biodiscovery and emphasise the largely untapped drug design and development potential of lizard venoms," Dr Fry said.

The findings have been published in the `Journal of Molecular and Cellular Proteomics`.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 - 00:00

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