Scientists have found how molecules «cousin» of Botox

© Fotolia / psdesign1Бактериальная infectionScientists have found how molecules «cousin» of Botox© Fotolia / psdesign1

Physicists and biologists from Sweden for the first time received the full three-dimensional formula tetanospasmin, the toxin of tetanus bacilli, very similar in structure and manner of action on the nervous system to Botox, according to a paper published in the journal EMBO Reports.

«We started working on it, for one simple reason – we have long been interested in why these two poison, despite the similar composition, affect the body in the opposite way. Tetanospasmin causes spasms, penetrating from the peripheral nerves into the spinal cord, and Botox remains in them and paralyzes the muscles. The study of how they do it, will help us to create drugs that can penetrate the brain,» says Paul Stenmark (Stenmark Pal) from Stockholm University (Sweden).

And botulism, and tetanus is called the two types of bacteria of the genus Clostridium, Clostridium botulinum and Clostridium tetani living in the soil and usually do not come in contact with the person. The hit of the colonies and those and others in the human intestines with food or water, and in wounds on the skin leads to severe paralysis of the nervous system or to the onset of spasms, which in most cases, if the patient receives an injection of the antidote ends with his death.

She and the other bacteria today are not dangerous for mankind, as the doctors long enough to have created a vaccine that helps the body to destroy these microbes and to cope with their toxins. On the other hand, the nature of the action of poisons, and bacteria quite a long time attracted scientists and cosmetologists. First interested in the ability of these substances to penetrate into the brain and spinal cord, and the second is the ability to use poisons for wrinkles.

For the disclosure of all these mysteries Stenmark and his colleagues froze a few molecules of tetanospasmin and enlighten them with a powerful x-ray accelerator. This allowed them to know where is located each of the 20 thousand atoms in a molecule of this poison, and to understand how they interact.

As it turned out, his three-dimensional form was indeed very similar to the structure of Botox, with a few small but very important differences, explaining why the toxin of tetanus coli causes cramps, not paralysis.

«We found out that the toxin can take two different forms depending on the level of acid-alkaline balance. For example, in an acidic environment, he looks quite different from how it works in a neutral environment. We believe that these transformation tetanospasmin directly related to his ability to penetrate from the wound to the spinal cord through the chain of nerve cells to adapt to different conditions inside them» — continues scientist.

Three-dimensional formula tetanospasmin hopes Stenmark will help pharmacists and biologists to create a new antidote to combat tetanus. In addition, it will help to solve one of the main goals of modern neuroscience – the discovery of the method of drug delivery in the brain and spinal cord, isolated from the rest of the body the so-called blood-brain barrier.