Volume 94 Issue 46 | p. 5 | News of The Week
Issue Date: November 21, 2016 | Web Date: November 17, 2016

Synthesis of poison dart frog toxin brings surprises

Asymmetric route to batrachotoxin opens avenues for studying sodium channels
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: natural products, batrachotoxin, sodium channel

Brightly colored frogs from the Phyllobates genus hop about the Colombian rain forest without fear of being gobbled up by predators, thanks to (-)-batrachotoxin, a potent steroidal toxin in their skin. Natives of the region capture the frogs to use this toxin on the tips of blowdarts, giving the amphibians their more common name: poison dart frogs.

Toxic to the heart and nervous system, (-)-batrachotoxin is an agonist that forces open voltage-gated sodium ion channels. . . .

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