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Molding the business end of neurotoxins
Date:2/23/2012

ces of the molecules which tend to contribute to a toxin's structural stability experience the opposite type of evolutionary force, preventing these surfaces from changing greatly from generation to generation. This makes sense from a fitness perspective, since mutations that significantly change the structure of a toxin run a greater risk of damaging the toxin's efficacy.

"We were pleased to learn how nicely the data fit our initial hypothesis, and how broad this phenomenon is," says Noam Zilberberg, Ben Gurion University microbiologist and lead author of the study. "Our approach should help in locating novel interaction sites between as-yet unstudied toxins and their targets."

The work supports the so-called "Red Queen's hypothesis," which states that constant change is needed for organisms to maintain fitness in a competitive environment. As a next step, the team would like to refine their results by expanding the dataset to include more toxins.

The presentation, "Molding the business end of neurotoxins by diversifying evolution," is at 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, in the San Diego Convention Center, Hall FGH. ABSTRACT: http://tinyurl.com/7a6zrk4


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Contact: Ellen R. Weiss
eweiss@biophysics.org
240-290-5606
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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