University of Dhaka

Department of Genetic Engineering &
Biotechnology, University of Dhaka
Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh


Cardiotoxins are components that are specifically toxic to the heart. They bind to particular sites on the surface of muscle cells and cause depolarization, i.e., the toxin prevents muscle contraction. These toxins may cause the heart to beat irregularly or stop beating, causing death.

Snake cardiotoxins are highly basic (pI > 10) small molecular weight (approximately 6.5 kDa), all beta-sheet proteins. They exhibit a broad spectrum of interesting biological activities. The secondary structural elements in these toxins include antiparallel double and triple stranded beta-sheets. The 3D structures of these toxins reveal an unique asymmetric distribution of the hydrophobic and hydrophilic amino acids.

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