Stanford Scientists Identify Protein That Allows Poison Dart Frogs to Accumulate Toxins Safely; Similarity to Human Hormone-Transporting Proteins Noted

The Diablito poison dart frog, Oophaga sylvatica, is native to Colombia and Ecuador [Credit
Marie-Therese Fischer (CC BY 4.0)]
Scientists from Stanford University and colleagues have identified the protein that helps poison dart frogs safely accumulate their namesake toxins, according to a study published December 19, 2023 in eLife. The article is titledBinding and Sequestration of Poison Frog Alkaloids by a Plasma Globulin.” The findings solve a long-standing scientific mystery and may suggest potential therapeutic strategies for treating humans poisoned with similar molecules. [Editor’s note from Wikipedia: “These amphibians are often called "dart frogs" due to the aboriginal South Americans' use of their toxic secretions to poison the tips of blowdarts. However, out of over 170 species, only 4 have been documented as being used for this purpose (curare plants are more commonly used for aboriginal South American darts)--all of which come from the genus Phyllobates, which is characterized by the relatively large size and high levels of toxicity of its members.”]
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