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Altitoxin is a neurotoxin found in the South African scorpion Parabuthus transvaalicus. Injection of altitoxin in mice leads to akinesia, depression and death.[1]


South African spitting scorpion (Parabuthus transvaalicus)

Altitoxin is secreted by the venom gland of the South African spitting (or fattail) scorpion Parabuthus transvaalicus.[1]


Altitoxin is 58 amino acid residues long and has a molecular mass of 6598 Da; it has 3 disulfide bridges.[1] It has large homology to other toxins from the venom of Parabuthus transvaalicus, including bestoxin, birtoxin, ikitoxin and dortoxin.


Altitoxin has sequence homology to scorpion β-toxins, suggesting it might target sodium channels. However, its depressing action following injection into mice [1] is not in agreement with the effect of β-toxins on sodium channels. Related scorpion toxins, which include birtoxin and bestoxin, exhibit highly divergent biological activity,[1] indicating that the mode of action of these toxins is highly diverse.


An injection of 100 ng altitoxin in 20 g mouse (ED99) causes a state of akinesia and depression. Lethality is reached at injecting 200 ng.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f B. Inceoglu, J. Lango, I.N. Pessah, B.D. Hammock. Three structurally related, highly potent, peptides from the venom of the Parabuthus Transvaalicus possess divergent biological activity. Toxicon 45 (2005) 727-733.