Serotherapy against Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel-Targeting α-Toxins from Androctonus Scorpion Venom


  • Martin-Eauclaire Marie-France
  • Adi-Bessalem Sonia
  • Hammoudi-Triki Djelila
  • Laraba-Djebari Fatima
  • Bougis Pierre


  • Toxin
  • Venom
  • Scorpion
  • Serotherapy
  • Nav channel
  • Androctonus

document type



Because of their venom lethality towards mammals, scorpions of the Androctonus genus are considered a critical threat to human health in North Africa. Several decades of exploration have led to a comprehensive inventory of their venom components at chemical, pharmacological, and immunological levels. Typically, these venoms contain selective and high affinity ligands for the voltage-gated sodium (Na v) and potassium (K v) channels that dictate cellular excitability. In the well-studied Androctonus australis and Androctonus mauretanicus venoms, almost all the lethality in mammals is due to the so-called α-toxins. These peptides commonly delay the fast inactivation process of Na v channels, which leads to increased sodium entry and a subsequent cell membrane depolarization. Markedly, their neutralization by specific antisera has been shown to completely inhibit the venom's lethal activity, because they are not only the most abundant venom peptide but also the most fatal. However, the structural and antigenic polymorphisms in the α-toxin family pose challenges to the design of efficient serotherapies. In this review, we discuss past and present accomplishments to improve serotherapy against Androctonus scorpion stings.

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