Worms don’t like the blues. At least not the blue-tinged toxic bacteria that are common in the environments where they live. But how does a bacteria-foraging worm — without eyes, photoreceptors, or the opsin genes that help animals perceive color — know to avoid the toxic, blue-reflecting bacterium known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa? (more…)
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Screening more than 100 spider toxins, Yale researchers identified a protein from the venom of the Peruvian green velvet tarantula that blunts activity in pain-transmitting neurons. The findings, reported in the March 3 issue of the journal Current Biology, show the new screening method used by the scientists has the potential to search millions of different spider toxins for safe pain-killing drugs and therapies.
The researchers note that they tested the spider toxins on only one of a dozen suspected human pain channels. (more…)