Venom of Cupiennius salei (Ctenidae)

Kuhn-Nentwig, Lucia Gerda; Schaller, J; Schürch, S; Nentwig, Wolfgang (2015). Venom of Cupiennius salei (Ctenidae). In: Gopalakrishnakone, P.; Corzo, Gerardo A.; Diego-Garcia, Elia; de Lima, Maria Elena (eds.) Spider Venoms. Toxinology (pp. 1-19). Springer 10.1007/978-94-007-6646-4_12-1

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The venom of the ctenid spider Cupiennius salei contains a variety of low molecular mass compounds, many small cationic peptides, disulfiderich peptides, and several enzymes. Among the low molecular mass compounds are taurine, histamine, and citric acid. Some small cationic peptides act membranolytically and destroy prokaryotic as well as eukaryotic cells. More than 40 small cationic peptides (SCPs) have been identified and characterized so far, of which several exert strong cytolytic effects and enable other venom compounds to reach their targets. Most of the disulfiderich peptides follow the ICK motifand act as neurotoxins or support the activity of other neurotoxins as enhancers. More than a dozen different Cupiennius salei toxins (CsTx) can be distinguished so far. CsTx-1 is the most abundant and most insecticidal neurotoxin in the venom of C. salei. It is composed of two domains, an N-terminal part exhibiting the ICK motif, which inhibits L-type Ca2+ ion channels, and a highly cationic C-terminal tailadopting an a-helical conformation, which destroys cell membranes. Several CsTx peptides consisting of two chains, connected by two disulfide bonds, enhance in nontoxic concentrations the insecticidal activity of other toxins. Among the enzymes, a highly active hyaluronidase is crucial for destroying tissue and assisting other venom compounds to spread into the target organism. The combined effects of synergistic and enhancing interactions between these components enable C. salei to inject a minimum quantity of venom to achieve maximum toxicity, thus optimizing its venom investment.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)

UniBE Contributor:

Kuhn-Nentwig, Lucia Gerda and Nentwig, Wolfgang


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology










Alexander Strauss

Date Deposited:

17 Nov 2016 12:27

Last Modified:

09 Sep 2017 00:39

Publisher DOI:





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