Category Archives: Venom

Man-of-War venom, and the discovery of anaphylaxis

Two jellies have contributed to Nobel Prize winning research: The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1913 and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008. In both cases the animals were actually hydrozoans: Physalia physalis, the Portuguese Man-of-War, and Aequorea victoria, the Crystal jelly. The 2008 prize was awarded for the discovery of green fluorescent protein, also known as GFP, isolated from

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Stung by a Moon – Celebration of the Aurelia aurita genome

On 3 December 2018, the first jellyfish genome was published online at Nature Ecology and Evolution. To clarify, the is the first genome of a cnidarian with a jellyfish stage (i.e. medusa). There are currently a few other jellies, like Hydra and Nematostella, that have had their genome available for several years. What was the lucky medusa-bearing species? Aurelia aurita (species 1 complex), the

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Stinging Cells from the Summer!

I am busy cranking away at the Smithsonian NMNH, but I wanted to share some photos of one of my favorite complex animal features: the stinging cell! Stinging cells house nematocysts, the stinging cell organelles distinctive to all cnidarians (hence the Latin translation, nettle-bearing animals). Nematocysts are thread-like capsules secreted by stinging cells that are mechanically or chemically discharged through

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Octopi Venom, Directly to the Eyeball

I was inspired by a segment on the first show of Science Friday’s Cephalopod Week when Dr. Janet Voight  (12:11 – 13:44) casually mentioned how the Curled Octopus envenomates its crustacean prey. Directly to the eyeball. Terrifying as that is (imagine the last thing you ever see are jaws puncturing your eyes, leaving you blind and paralyzed), this is a pretty

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Sea Anemones, Peptide Super Heros

Review of: J. Prentis, P., Pavasovic, A., & S Norton, R. (2018). Sea Anemones: Quiet Achievers in the Field of Peptide Toxins. Toxins, 10(1), 36. DOI:10.3390/toxins10010036 If you search the VenomZone website and look under the cnidarian section, you will notice most of these toxins are derived from sea anemones (Class Anthozoa, order Actiniaria). My first literature review is a paper about these “quiet

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