Spiders, chilies use same scare tactics

Tarantula spiders and chili peppers use the same molecular method to scare off predators, according to an unusual study into spider venom.

Spiders, chilies use same scare tactics

Three molecules isolated from the poison off the West Indian tarantula, Psalmopoeus cambridgei, work by latching on to sensory neuron cells and then activating the cells, sending a pain signal to the brain.

The discovery was made by a team led by David Julius of the University of California at San Francisco.

They tested it on mice that had either the key receptor on the neuron cells or had been genetically engineered to lack it.

Rodents that had the receptor suffered inflammation and reacted in pain when the molecules were injected into a hind paw, but the "knock-out" mice showed no such reaction.

The receptor is also activated by capsaicin, the active component in chili peppers. Tarantula venom and spicy chili proteins are of course different, but they use the same method to convey the message of pain.

The study appears Thursday in Nature, the weekly British science journal.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16