Washington, Jan 14 (ANI): Scientists claim to have unravelled the chemical composition of duck-billed platypus' venom, which causes immediate, excruciating pain, leaving victims incapacitated for weeks.
They deciphered the chemical composition of the venom and have found a dozen protein building blocks.
Lead researchers Masaki Kita and Daisuke Uemura revealed that spurs in the hind limb of the male platypus could deliver the venom, a cocktail of substances that cause excruciating pain.
It was previously shown that the venom triggers certain chemical changes in cultured human nerve cells that can lead to the sensation of pain.
Until now, however, scientists did not know the exact components of the venom responsible for this effect.
During the study, the scientists collected samples of platypus venom and used high-tech analytical instruments to separate and characterize its components.
They identified 11 new peptides, or protein subunits, in the venom.
Studies using nerve cells suggest that one of these substances, called Heptapeptide 1, is the main agent responsible for triggering pain.
The substance appears to work by interacting with certain receptors in the nerve cells, they added.
The study appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a weekly publication. (ANI)