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Tarantula Venom and Chili Peppers Share Receptor 58

Posted by samzenpus
from the it-tastes-like-burning dept.
FiReaNGeL writes "Scientists have discovered that venom from a West Indian tarantula has been shown to cause pain by exciting the same nerve cells in mice that sense high temperatures and the hot, spicy ingredient in chili peppers. The findings demonstrate that some plants and animals have evolved the same molecular strategy to deter predators — triggering pain by activating a specific receptor on sensory nerves. The research provides new tools to understand how these pain- and heat-sensing neurons work, and to help develop drugs that ease persistent pain."
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Tarantula Venom and Chili Peppers Share Receptor

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  • Wrong Headline! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gameforge (965493) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @07:09AM (#16782665) Journal
    Maybe I'm missing something, but should the headline "Tarantula Venom and Chili Peppers Share Receptor" not actually read "Tarantula Venom and Chili Peppers Target Same Receptor"?

    It would be truly shocking if they actually shared the same receptor... has that ever happened? A plant growing an animal cell? Just curious...

    Incidentally, the article doesn't really say if the same proteins are used by the pepper and the arachnid to provoke this receptor. Somehow I doubt it, since TFA says that just simple heat from the sun, as well as "peppery food, mustard oil and other compounds" also target it. Seems more coincidental than anything; a porcupine and a cactus would be another example of a plant and an animal developing a similar defense mechanism, no? Plant or animal, we do all seem to share the same world here...

    In case anyone's interested, this particular species of tarantula, Psalmopoeus cambridgei [bighairyspiders.com], is quite cool looking [bighairyspiders.com]... not quite as cool as, say, Avicularia versicolor [papiliophoto.com] or Haplopelma lividum [bighairyspiders.com], but cooler than I expected. :)

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