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One-of-a-kind imaging probe reveals secrets useful for drug discovery

ison said. "But why is the glucose there? It may be something the walking stick uses to enable it to safely store the toxic material in the insect's gland until it is ready for use as a venom, to improve the properties of the spray or some other reason we haven't yet considered. It's the kind of thing that may provide hints about drug discovery in future."

More than 40 years ago, Jerrold Meinwald, Ph.D., an emeritus professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Cornell University, led landmark chemical studies of walking stick venom. He was pleased to know the insect was being studied in Florida.

"We used not dozens but thousands of walking sticks to get enough secretions to do analyses and, no, it's not easy to do," Meinwald said. "When we started you could hardly work with natural materials in terms of milligrams. Now you can do chemistry on the microgram scale. NMR has made enormous progress - it has thousands of times the sensitivity it used to have. The findings in Florida represent the great improvement that has taken place in the state of the art. It's nice to see it applied to this insect."


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Source:University of Florida


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