MPŠ MP&Scaron MP&Scaron MP&Scaron Avtorji

Jožef Stefan
Postgraduate School

Jamova 39
SI-1000 Ljubljana

Phone: +386 1 477 31 00
Fax: +386 1 477 31 10


Course Description

Protein Toxins -Characterisations and Applications in Cellular Biology


Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies, third-level study programme


prof. dr. Igor Križaj


To inform the students about:
• recent experimental methods and techniques for purification of protein toxins,
• recent experimental methods and techniques for biochemical and patho-physiological characterization of protein toxins,
• the main examples of application of protein toxins as research tools,
• the main examples of the use of protein toxins in medical applications.


• Survey of most important sources of protein toxins,
• proteomic characterization of venoms – venomics; natural venom libraries,
• survey of recent experimental methods and techniques for purification of protein toxins,
• survey of recent experimental methods and techniques for characterization of protein toxins, their physico-chemical characteristics, structure and biochemical features,
• survey of recent experimental methods and techniques for characterization of patho-physiological characteristics of the main protein toxin groups; the use of cell cultures,
• molecular mechanisms of action of selected protein toxins,
• the use of selected protein toxins in research,
• the use of selected protein toxins in therapeutic applications.

Course literature:

1. Zapiski predavanj / Lecture notes

2. Südhof T. C. and Starke K. (eds.) 2008: Pharmacology of neurotransmitter release. Handb. Exp. Pharmacol. 184; Springer, Berlin.

3. Menez, A. (ed.) 2002: Perspectives in Molecular Toxinology; John Wiley & Sons, Chichester.

4. Rappuoli, R. and Montecucco, C. (eds.) 1997: Guidebook to protein toxins and their use in cell biology. Sambrook & Tooze Publication at Oxford University Press, Oxford.

5. Izbrani pregledni članki npr. / Selected review papers e.g.
- Anderluh, G. and Lakey, J. H. (2008) Disparate proteins use similar architectures to damage membranes. Trends Biochem. Sci. 33, 482-490.
- Han, T. S., Teichert, R. W., Olivera, B. M. and Bulaj, G. (2008) Conus venoms - a rich source of peptide-based therapeutics. Curr. Pharm. Des. 14, 2462-2479.
- Pungerčar, J. and Križaj, I. (2007) Understanding the molecular mechanism underlying the presynaptic toxicity of sercerted phospolipases A2. Toxicon 50, 871-892.
- Baldari, C. T., Tonello, F., Paccani, S. R. and Montecucco, C. (2006) Anthrax toxins: A paradigm of bacterial immune suppression. Trends Immunol. 27, 434-440.
- Montecucco, C. and Molgó, J. (2005) Botulinal neurotoxins: revival of an old killer. Curr. Opin. Pharmacol. 5, 274-279.
- Mouhat, S., Jouirou, B., Mosbah, A., De Waard, M. and Sabatier, J. M. (2004) Diversity of folds in animal toxins acting on ion channels. Biochem. J. 378, 717–726.
- Schiavo, G. and van der Goot, F. G. (2001): The bacterial toxin toolkit. Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 2, 530-537.

Significant publications and references:

1. JENKO PRAŽNIKAR, Zala, KOVAČIČ, Lidija, ROWAN, Edward G., ROMIH, Rok, RUSMINI, Paola, POLETTI, Angelo, KRIŽAJ, Igor, PUNGERČAR, Jože. A presynaptically toxic secreted phospholipase A2 is internalized into motoneuron-like cells where it is rapidly translocated into the cytosol. Biochim. biophys. acta, Mol. cell res., 2008, vol. 1783, no. 6, 1129-1139.

2. LOGONDER, Uroš, KRIŽAJ, Igor, ROWAN, Edward G., HARRIS, J. B. Neurotoxicity of ammodytoxin A in the envenoming bites of Vipera ammodytes ammodytes. J. neuropathol. exp. neurol., 2008, issue 10, vol. 67, str. 1011-1019.

3. PREMZL, Aleš, KOVAČIČ, Lidija, HALASSY, Beata, KRIŽAJ, Igor. Generation of ammodytoxin-anti-cathepsin B immuno-conjugate as a model for delivery of secretory phospholipase A2 into cancer cells. Toxicon, 2008, vol. 51, no. 5, 754-764.

4. LEONARDI, Adrijana, FOX, Jay W., TRAMPUŠ-BAKIJA, Alenka, KRIŽAJ, Igor. Two coagulation factor X activators from Vipera a. ammodytes venom with potential to treat patients with dysfunctional factors IXa or VIIa. Toxicon, 2008, vol. 52, no. 5, 628-637.

5. KOVAČIČ, Lidija, ŠRIBAR, Jernej, KRIŽAJ, Igor. A new photoprobe for studying biological activities of secreted phospholipases A2. Bioorg. chem., 2007, vol. 35, 295-305.

6. ŠRIBAR, Jernej, KOVAČIČ, Lidija, DRAŠKOVIČ, Petra, FAURE, Grazyna, KRIŽAJ, Igor. The first phospholipase inhibitor from the serum of Vipera ammodytes ammodytes. FEBS j., 2007, vol. 274, no. 23, 6055-6064.

7. ŠRIBAR, Jernej, ANDERLUH, Gregor, FOX, Jay W., KRIŽAJ, Igor. Protein disulphide isomerase binds ammodytoxin strongly : possible implications for toxin trafficking. Biochem. biophys. res. commun., 2005, vol. 329, 741-745.

8. PETROVIČ, Uroš, ŠRIBAR, Jernej, MATIS, Maja, ANDERLUH, Gregor, PETER KATALINIĆ, Jasna, KRIŽAJ, Igor, GUBENŠEK, Franc. Ammodytoxin, a secretory phospholipase A2, inhibits G2 cell-cycle. Biochem. j., 2005, vol. 391, 383-388.

9. PETROVIČ, Uroš, ŠRIBAR, Jernej, PARIŠ, Alenka, RUPNIK, Marjan, KRŽAN, Mojca, VARDJAN, Nina, GUBENŠEK, Franc, ZOREC, Robert, KRIŽAJ, Igor. Ammodytoxin, a neurotoxic secreted phospholipase A2 can act in the cytosol of the nerve cell. Biochem. biophys. res. commun., 2004, vol. 324, 981-985.


Seminar and oral exam.

Students obligations:

Seminar and oral exam.