Dr Sam Robinson,
Institute for Molecular Bioscience

Molecular mechanisms underlying sting pain:

Animal venoms are complex mixtures, typically containing tens to hundreds of peptide and protein toxins. The primary role of venom for many animals that possess a venom delivery system is predation, where specific toxins act to subjugate prey by targeting vital processes in one or all of the nervous, musculoskeletal or cardiovascular systems. But almost all venomous animals also use their venoms for defensive purposes—many solely. Defensive envenomations are often associated with intense pain and my hypothesis is that this pain is produced by toxins that directly target sensory neurons, hijacking or overstimulating neuronal transmission. The goal of my current research is to identify, from a range of pain-producing animal venoms, the responsible pain-causing toxins and to determine their mechanism of action. In this talk I will describe the collection of venom from target species; the identification, isolation and synthesis of active algogenic toxins; and the elucidation, using a high content imaging assay, of their molecular mechanisms of action. The identification and characterisation of new algogenic toxins has provided new knowledge about methods of chemical defence by venomous animals and has the potential to elucidate new components of mammalian pain signalling pathways.


About CAI Seminar Series

The perfect opportunity to attend cutting-edge research presentations involving CAI researchers or collaborators, each Tuesday at 9:30am in the CAI Seminar Room, entry via CAI main doors, facing Wep Harris oval (see map).

If you would like weekly email notification for the seminar series or are interested in presenting, please contact Maria Moran.