05/10/2012 - 08:43

The cone snails are predators of the sea. They capture fish by injecting a venom into the prey that consists of a cocktail of different substances. The single components of the snails’ venom, so-called conopeptides, are known for their extraordinary pharmacological properties and potential. One example is Ziconotid (Prialt), a conopeptide that is prescribed as a pain medicine. That makes it one of the first medicines to contain substances from marine organisms.

03/30/2012 - 09:46

When tropical marine cone snails sink their harpoon-like teeth into their prey, they inject paralyzing venoms made from a potent mix of more than 100 different neurotoxins. Biologists have known for more than a decade that the genes which provide the recipes for cone snail toxins are among the fastest-evolving genes in the animal kingdom, enabling these predatory gastropods to constantly refine their venoms to more precisely target the neuromuscular systems of their prey.