Role of Heparan Sulfates and Glycosphingolipids in the Pore Formation of Basic Polypeptides of Cobra Cardiotoxin

  • Wen-guey Wu
  • Siu-Cin Tjong
  • Po-long Wu
  • Je-hung Kuo
  • Karen Wu
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 677)


Cobra venom contains cardiotoxins (CTXs) that induce tissue necrosis and systolic heart arrest in bitten victims. CTX-induced membrane pore formation is one of the major mechanisms responsible for the venom’s designated cytotoxicity. This chapter examines how glycoconjugates such as heparan sulfates (HS) and glycosphingolipids, located respectively in the extracellular matrix and lipid bilayers of the cell membranes, facilitate CTX pore formation. Evidences for HS-facilitated cell surface retention and glycosphingolipid-facilitated membrane bilayer insertion of CTX are reviewed. We suggest that similar physical steps could play a role in the mediation of other pore forming toxins (PFT). The membrane pores formed by PFT are expected to have limited lifetime on biological cell surface as a result of membrane dynamics during endocytosis and/or rearrangement of lipid rafts.


Heparan Sulfate Pore Formation Membrane Binding Cobra Venom Basic Polypeptide 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wen-guey Wu
    • 1
  • Siu-Cin Tjong
    • 1
  • Po-long Wu
    • 1
  • Je-hung Kuo
    • 1
  • Karen Wu
    • 1
  1. 1.National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center and Department of Life ScienceNational Tsing Hua UniversityHsinchuTaiwan

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