The VRC's mission is to provide global research, training, and resources that will lead to the discovery of medically important toxins found in venoms.
The Viper Resource Center (VRC) is located in the Natural Toxins Research Center at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Snake venoms are rich, stable sources of disintegrins, metalloproteinases, and fibrinolytic enzymes. The objectives of the VRC are to: 1) provide reliable sources of venoms and other snake products that are not available from other vendors; 2) breed venomous snakes in captivity that are endangered or difficult to acquire; 3) characterize medically important venoms by electrophoretic titration (ET), high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), enzyme activities, and cell-based assays; 4) conduct research that provides insights into structure/function relationships of venom proteins; and 5) develop a snake and venom database that will be useful to other investigators worldwide.
The primary research focus is to characterize disintegrins found in snake venoms that have potential applications to medicine. Disintegrins are competitive inhibitors of normal integrin function. Disintegrins found in snake venoms are low-molecular-weight polypeptides, most of which have an Arg-Gly-Asp sequence, also known as an RGD region, which is the universal recognition sequence for integrin receptors. The RGD motif in disintegrins can affect the shape, orientation, and movement of cells. Since disintegrins interfere with integrin function on the surface of cells, disintegrins have important applications in the discovery of new drugs for treatment of cancer, heart attacks, and stroke. Compounds in snake venoms are being purified, characterized, and screened for disintegrin-like activities.
The Natural Toxins Research Center's serpentarium currently houses more than 450 venomous snakes representing 29 species, with the goal to eventually include all venomous species from North America. The serpentarium has built-in snake cages with computer-controlled lighting and temperature. Individual snake venoms are collected, lyophilized, and entered into the database. The snakes are cataloged on the Internet database along with their geographical location data, hemorrhagic and proteolytic activities, and HPLC and ET profiles. The VRC provides snake venoms, glands, skins, blood, and organs found in snakes. The database can be queried according to scientific name, common name, sex, and identification number.
Sponsors: This resource was supported by NTRC (Grant number: P40 RR018300).
Resource Type: Resource
Version: Latest Version
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One Mind Biospecimen Bank Listing, Biobank
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database, biomaterial supply resource, biomaterial analysis service, organism supplier, chemical supplier
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