Volume 95 Issue 36 | p. 8 | Concentrates
Issue Date: September 11, 2017

How poison dart frogs avoid poisoning themselves

A single amino acid swap in a membrane protein confers resistance to keep frogs safe from their own toxin
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Biological SCENE, Organic SCENE
Keywords: toxicology, batrachotoxin, poison dart frog

Scientists have wondered how golden poison dart frogs resist succumbing to the high doses of toxin they store in their skin. Certain species of Phyllobates frogs are loaded with enough batrachotoxin—up to 2 mg in adults—to kill more than 20,000 mice, yet their voltage-gated sodium channel membrane protein is immune to its paralytic effects. Sho-Ya Wang and Ging Kuo Wang of the University at Albany now report that a single amino acid . . .

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