Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Snail's Pace

Fish-hunting cone snails as a source of peptides with potential biomedical application

27 April 2022

Snail's Pace

Far from the harmless garden snail, marine cone snails are venomous predators, whose sophisticated chemical weapons have already inspired drug discovery. Among fish-hunting species, the deep water-dwelling Conus neocostatus, in the Asprella group of cone snails, has an unusual tactic, injecting prey with a slow-acting venom (pictured) then consuming them once they become incapacitated. Studying the venom from a closely-related species identified a peptide, named consommatin Ro1, which causes matching symptoms in mice. Its sequence is similar to somatostatin, a human hormone with wide-ranging functions, currently being investigated as a possible therapeutic for conditions from diabetes to cancer. Tests in mice suggest consommatin Ro1 can provide pain relief, and may perform even better than somatostatin itself; more stable, it actually more closely resembles modified somatostatin analogues under development as potential drugs. Similar peptides also exist in other cone snail species, suggesting that yet more effective compounds could still be discovered.

Written by Emmanuelle Briolat

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.