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Structural and Functional Characterization of Crotoxin and its Basic Subunit in the Neuromuscular Junction and Influence of Neutralizing Agents

Grant number: 12/00428-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2012
Effective date (End): January 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Pharmacology - Biochemical and Molecular Pharmacology
Principal Investigator:Marcos Roberto de Mattos Fontes
Grantee:Walter Luís Garrido Cavalcante
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IBB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Botucatu. Botucatu , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:08/57898-0 - National Institute of Science and Technology on Toxins, AP.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):13/03624-5 - Biological characterization of crotoxin and its basic subunit in the neuromuscular junction: radiochemical and real-time video-microscopy studies, BE.EP.PD


The crotoxin is the main toxic fraction present in the venom of Crotalus durissus terrificus. This protein is a heterodimeric complex consisting of a basic phospholipase A2 (PLA2),crotoxin B (CB), associated with a chaperon and nonenzymatic subunit, crotapotina (CA). Pharmacological studies have revealed that the neuromuscular junction is a important site of action of this toxin, which causes muscle paralysis due to a sum of pre and postsynaptic effects. Recently, crystallographic studies have elucidated the three dimensional structure of the CB (from the venon of Crotalus durissus terrificus), which has advanced the current knowledge of the molecular toxic sites of this toxin. Unfortunately, despite the efforts devoted to this subject, the mechanism of action and the molecular site of action of crotoxin are unknown. Thus, the objective of this project is to identify potential inhibitors of crotoxin (or its subunit) and to elucidate the theoretical sites of interaction between the inhibitor and the CB. In addition, we will investigate the kinects of the neurotransmitter released under the influence of crotoxin or CB through the quantification of tritium-labeled with acetylcholine. We will also evaluate the real time exocytosis of the chemical mediator.

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
CAVALCANTE, WALTER L. G.; NORONHA-MATOS, JOSE B.; TIMOTEO, MARIA A.; FONTES, MARCOS R. M.; GALLACCI, MARCIA; CORREIA-DE-SA, PAULO. Neuromuscular paralysis by the basic phospholipase A(2) subunit of crotoxin from Crotalus durissus terrificus snake venom needs its acid chaperone to concurrently inhibit acetylcholine release and produce muscle blockage. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, v. 334, p. 8-17, . (13/17864-8, 13/03624-5, 12/00428-8)

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