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The IASP Pain Research Forum will host a seminar with Irina Vetter, PhD, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. A Q&A session moderated by Sven-Eric Jordt, PhD, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, US, will follow the presentation.
Here is an abstract for the event:
Stinging trees from Australasia produce remarkably persistent and painful stings upon contact of their stiff epidermal hairs, called trichomes, with mammalian skin. Dendrocnide-induced acute pain typically lasts for several hours and intermittent painful flares can persist for days and weeks. Our recent work shows that the venoms of Australian Dendrocnide species contain heretofore unknown pain-inducing peptides that potently activate sensory neurons and delay inactivation of voltage-gated sodium channels. These neurotoxins localize specifically to the stinging hairs and are miniproteins of 4 kDa whose 3D structure is stabilized in an inhibitory cystine knot motif, a characteristic shared with neurotoxins found in spider and cone snail venoms. Our results provide an intriguing example of inter-kingdom convergent evolution of animal and plant venoms with shared modes of delivery, molecular structure and pharmacology.