10 Facts About Abrin


Abrin is an extremely toxic toxalbumin found in the seeds of the rosary pea, Abrus precatorius.

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Abrin is a ribosome inhibiting protein like ricin, a toxin which can be found in the seeds of the castor oil plant, and pulchellin, a toxin which can be found in the seeds of Abrus pulchellus.

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Abrin-a is the most potent of the four isotoxins, encoded for by an intron-free gene, and consists of two subunits or chains, A and B The primary product of protein biosynthesis, preproabrin, consists of a signal peptide sequence, the amino acid sequences for subunits A and B, and a linker.

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Abrin-a is formed after the cleavage of a signal peptide sequence and post-translational modifications such as glycosylation and disulfide bridge formation in the endoplasmic reticulum .

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Abrin is not known to have been weaponised due to its high toxicity and the possibility of being processed into an aerosol, the use of abrin as a biological weapon is possible in principle.

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Abrin naturally occurs in the seeds of the rosary pea, a plant common to tropical regions that is occasionally employed as an herbal remedy for certain conditions.

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Abrin has been shown to act as an immunoadjuvant in the treatment of cancer in mice.

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Abrin resembles ricin in that it is a type 2 ribosome-inactivating protein and has a similar mode of action, but abrin's effect is more potent than ricin's.

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Abrin can be absorbed through broken skin or absorbed through the skin if dissolved in certain solvents.

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Abrin poisoning is treated with supportive care to minimize the effects of the poisoning.

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