Spooky toxin (SsTx) is a small peptideneurotoxin. It is found in the venom of Chinese red-headed centipedes (Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans), also known as golden head centipedes. It is originally composed of 76 amino acids, with a molecular weight of 6017.5 Daltons, but loses 23 residues and becomes 53 residues long. As of today, SsTx is unique to Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans.
Through KCNQ channel blocking (preventing potassium from flowing into and out of cells) SsTx disrupts cardiovascular, respiratory, muscular, and nervous systems; where snake venoms typically only affect circulatory or nervous systems, and venom from spiders, scorpions, and snails typically only target nervous systems. This allows for golden headed centipedes to target larger prey up to 15 times their size.
The venom of the Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans is already being widely used as a traditional medicine in Asian countries. Claimed medicinal uses include antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anticancer.
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