“FEARnet.com Amazing Video Shows Slow Motion Scorpion Sting FEARnet.com All in the name of science, host David Prager recently subjected himself to the sting of a scorpion, to show us viewers what such an attack looks like, in slow motion.”
Tests by French site Mac4Ever.com found that current model Retina MacBook Pro machines can use their Thunderbolt 2 connections to drive the Sharp PN-K321 4K display at 60Hz when running Windows 8.1 with the latest NVidia drivers, rather than the 30Hz possible with OS X. This suggests that OS X will be able to do the same when Apple updates the rMBP video/Thunderbolt 2 drivers.
Via Andre Bontems
“Scientist How Scorpion Gets Its Sting Science Daily (press release) Based on structural similarity, it was proposed that scorpion toxins and antimicrobial invertebrate defensins could have a common ancestor.”
This may sting a little: Scorpions have about 10,000 more genes than humans do. The Chinese golden scorpion, Mesobuthus martensii, has at least 32,016 genes, Zhijian Cao of Wuhan University in China and colleagues report October 15 in Nature Communications. Humans have just over 22,000 genes.
The researchers found 116 genes that encode neurotoxins, including 45 previously unknown ones. Many of the neurotoxins paralyze proteins in cell membranes that open and close to generate electrical signals, which nerve cells use to communicate. Mutations in the scorpion’s own membrane protein genes make the arachnid immune to its own venom.
Scorpions also have 160 enzymes that help them digest fats and detoxify plant chemicals from the herbivorous insects they eat. Some of these enzymes transform a chemical called coumarin into fluorescent compounds that make the animals glow blue under UV light, the team found.
The animals also make a type of light-sensing protein called Mmopsin3 in their tails. The protein senses ultraviolet to blue light. At least 20 other proteins made in the scorpion’s tail help transmit the light signal from the skin to the brain, the researchers discovered.
As the first complete scorpion genome and the second in Chelicerata, M. martensii is found to have the most protein-coding genes among sequenced arthropods. The M. martensii genome expands the genetic repertoire of arthropods into a previously unknown territory, which will aid further studies on the comparative genomics and evolution of arthropods. Considered a special type of arthropods, extant scorpions have preserved the primary features of Paleozoic ancestors from the Cambrian age. However, the Mesobuthus lineage is found to have a gene family turnover at a level significantly greater than the insects, challenging the common wisdom that scorpions apparently evolved more conservatively as ‘living fossils’. The data reveal the decoupling of the molecular and morphological evolution in scorpions, a phenomenon documented for the first time in an arthropod.
Underlying the molecular evolution of the M. martensii genome are the expansion of the gene families enriched in the basic metabolic pathways, signalling and stress response pathways, neurotoxins, and cytochrome P450 families of enzymes, and the different dynamics of expansion between the shared and the scorpion lineage-specific gene families. Genomic and transcriptomic analyses further illustrate the genetic features in M. martensii associated with the prey, nocturnal behaviour, feeding and detoxification, which are believed to be important to its long-term adaptation. These include the diversification of neurotoxins and their receptor genes, the expression of light-signal transduction genes enabling photosensor in the tail and the expansion of P450 families involved in detoxification and hormone biosynthesis. Taken together, these analyses on the scorpion genome reveal a unique adaptation model distinctive to other sequenced arthropods. The genomics study on M. martensii yields new insights into the evolution of arthropods, and raises some new questions as well, for example, the cause of the accelerating expansion of the scorpion lineage-specific gene families, and the general roles of the non-visual photosensor in the evolution of arthropods. This work builds a foundation for future exploration of these intriguing creatures, and also provides a valuable resource for addressing those fundamentally important questions.
“Liverpool Echo Don't mess with mum! Scorpion gives birth to 20 babies at World Museum Liverpool Echo You wouldn't want to upset mum if you were one of these babies recently born in the Bug House at Liverpool's World Museum.”
“How the scorpion got its venom Fox News A team led by Shunyi Zhu of the Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences found that a common protein used as part of the scorpion's immune system was the origin of the scorpion's venom.”
Mechanism for pain resistance in grasshopper mice suggests potential drug target.
When the grasshopper mouse attacks a bark scorpion, it barely notices the arachnid's intensely painful sting. Now researchers know why: the rodents have a mutation in the cellular pathway that controls their pain response, making them resistant to scorpion venom.
The finding, published recently in Science, suggests a potential target for researchers trying to develop pain-relieving drugs. “It’s a nice, complete study — from behavior right down to the molecule that explains the behaviour,” says Ewan Smith, a neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge, UK, who was not involved with the research.
The resistance to the venom helps grasshopper mice, which belong to the genus Onychomys and are only distantly related to ordinary house mice (Mus musculus), survive in the deserts of the southwestern United States. There, bark scorpions are plentiful, but other food resources are less common. Ashlee Rowe, an evolutionary neurobiologist at Michigan State University in East Lansing, and her colleagues confirmed field observations of the grasshopper mouse’s ability to withstand scorpion stings by injecting the paws of grasshopper mice and house mice with a small amount of venom. The house mice repeatedly licked their paws, indicating discomfort, but the grasshopper mice licked only a few times.
In a second experiment, the researchers injected house mice and grasshopper mice with venom and then with formalin, a chemical known to cause pain. The grasshopper mice still licked their paws less than the house mice, suggesting that the venom blocked the ability of the grasshopper mice to feel pain from the formalin.
The researchers next identified the molecular pathway that is modified in the neurons of grasshopper mice. Two sodium channels are necessary to transmit a pain signal in mammals: one that initiates the signal and one that propagates it. Drug research has focused mainly on the former; in humans, a rare mutation in that channel causes the inability to feel pain. Scorpion venom stimulates the initiating channel, but in grasshopper mice, it also inhibits the channel that controls propagation of the pain signal — thus preventing the pain it is supposed to cause.
Researchers think that a small structural difference between the pain-propagating sodium channels of the grasshopper mouse and of the house mouse can explain the species’ reactions to scorpion venom. In grasshopper mice, the protein making up the sodium channel differs by one amino acid near the channel's opening. Without that change, venom cannot inhibit the channel propogating pain signals.
Kill Kill Kill: Cannibal Scorpion Deathmatch! Uproxx Oh hell yes. It's not often we get two evenly matched killing machines, so this is a rare treat. NatGeo tries to ruin it by superimposing sword-fighting sounds when the scorpion tails clash.
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