The Action of Spider Toxins on the Insect Nerve-Muscle System

  • P. N. R. Usherwood
Part of the Proceedings in Life Sciences book series (LIFE SCIENCES)


In the search for new classes of pesticides it is perhaps surprising that only relatively scant attention has been given to the natural products found in the venoms of a variety of insect predators. Extensive use has been made of vertebrate and invertebrate toxins to gain information on the structure and function of central and peripheral nervous systems across the animal kingdom but for a variety of reasons these are of little interest to the chemical industry. However, many insect predators produce venoms, most of which remain largely uncharacterized, which may well contain active principles of commercial interest. Insect neurobiologists have compelling reasons to ponder over the possible potential of these compounds as research tools since many of the developments which recently have taken place in neuroscience have depended upon the use of venoms and toxins. For example, toxins from snake and spider venoms have been used to study transmitter storage, release and turnover at peripheral and central synapses and the snake toxin, α-bungarotoxin has been particularly instrumental in providing an understanding of the molecular properties of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor protein.


Venom Gland Insect Predator Crude Venom Spider Venom Mitter Storage 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1985 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. N. R. Usherwood
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyNottingham UniversityNottinghamUK

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