Black widow spider venom

Effect of purified toxin on lipid bilayer membranes

Alan Finkelstein, Lee L. Rubin, Mu Chin Tzeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

142 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A purified toxin (the B5 fraction) from black widow spider venom added to the solution on one side of a lipid bilayer membrane interacts irreversibly with the membrane to produce a continuous, linear rise of membrane conductance with time. Conductances greater than 10-4 reciprocal ohm per square centimeter can eventually be attained without any loss of membrane stability. Membranes treated with toxin are ideally selective for alkali cations over unions and are substantially permeable to calcium ion. These effects of the toxin result from the formation of permanent channels in the membrane of uniform conductance, 3.6 × 10-10 reciprocal ohm (in 0.1 molar potassium chloride), that remain open almost all the time. Both the divalent cation permeability and the smaller conductances at low pH of toxin-treated membranes suggest that there is negative charge (possibly from carboxyl groups) associated with the channels. We discuss the possible relation of the action of this toxin on lipid bilayer membranes to its ability to stimulate massive transmitter release at the neuromuscular junction and to produce profound morphological changes on tissue cultured neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1009-1011
Number of pages3
JournalScience
Volume193
Issue number4257
StatePublished - 1976

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Lipid Bilayers
Membranes
Potassium Chloride
Neuromuscular Junction
Divalent Cations
Alkalies
black widow spider venom
Ion Channels
Cations
Permeability
Ions
Calcium
Neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Finkelstein, A., Rubin, L. L., & Tzeng, M. C. (1976). Black widow spider venom: Effect of purified toxin on lipid bilayer membranes. Science, 193(4257), 1009-1011.

Black widow spider venom : Effect of purified toxin on lipid bilayer membranes. / Finkelstein, Alan; Rubin, Lee L.; Tzeng, Mu Chin.

In: Science, Vol. 193, No. 4257, 1976, p. 1009-1011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Finkelstein, A, Rubin, LL & Tzeng, MC 1976, 'Black widow spider venom: Effect of purified toxin on lipid bilayer membranes', Science, vol. 193, no. 4257, pp. 1009-1011.
Finkelstein A, Rubin LL, Tzeng MC. Black widow spider venom: Effect of purified toxin on lipid bilayer membranes. Science. 1976;193(4257):1009-1011.
Finkelstein, Alan ; Rubin, Lee L. ; Tzeng, Mu Chin. / Black widow spider venom : Effect of purified toxin on lipid bilayer membranes. In: Science. 1976 ; Vol. 193, No. 4257. pp. 1009-1011.
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