The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports that over 2.4 million Botox injections were given in the U.S. in 2008. At an average cost of $443 per injection, Botox generates revenue of over $1 billion a year. Botox has been a commercial success, but producing Botox is work intensive and costly, limiting profitability.
Dr. Paul Fletcher and his co-investigators from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and the NIH have discovered a novel protein that has similar functionality to Botox®. Antarease is a 25.5 kDa zinc metalloprotease that is derived from the venom of the Brazilian Scorpion, Tityus serrulatus. The protein cleaves the synaptobrevin, vesicle-associated membrane protein 2, 3, 7 and 8 (VAMP2, 3, 7 and 8), which is found on the outside of vesicles. Cleavage of VAMP prevents the fusion of vesicles with membranes, leading to a reduction in the release of molecules . In addition to VAMP, the protease also cleaves SNAP25.
al "Isolation and Pharmacological Characterization of Four Novel Na+
Channel-Blocking Toxins from the Scorpion Centruroides noxius Hoffman." J. Biochem.
116:1383-1391 1994 PMID: 7706233