Opossum Protein Seen as Antidote to Poisons

Monday, 09 Jul 2012 07:05 PM

By Todd Beamon

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A protein found in the American opossum may someday provide an antidote to nearly all forms of poison.

The Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins has found that opossums produce a protein known as Lethal Toxin-Neutralizing Factor (LTNF), Yahoo News reports. The protein seeks out otherwise lethal poisons that have entered an opossum's body and neutralizes them.

Tests on LTNF found that the protein even left the opossums immune to poisons from snakes on other continents that the American creature had not been previously exposed to.

In laboratory tests, mice were injected with the LTNF protein and subjected to venom from such creatures as Thailand cobras, Australian taipans, Brazilian rattlesnakes, scorpions and honeybees.

And when the venom did not kill the rodents, the mice were then exposed to deadly poisons like ricin and botulinum toxin. And again, the LTNF protein was able to diffuse the poison, leaving the rodents unharmed.



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