Cobra venom action, molecular model

Cobra venom action, molecular model

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Credit: LAGUNA DESIGN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cobra (Naja sp.) venom action. Molecular model showing top (upper centre) and side (lower centre) views of the secondary structure of an alpha-cobratoxin (snake venom protein) bound to an acetylcholine binding protein (AChBP) from another animal. The acetylcholine binding protein (circular, ranging in colour from blue to yellow) is part of the acetylcholine receptor, which is an essential link between the brain and the muscles. The venom (five outer structures, orange and red) acts by blocking this region of the acetylcholine receptor, causing paralysis.

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