* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received April 7, 2009; Revision received June 5, 2009
Spider venom, a factor that has played a decisive role in the evolution of one of the most successful groups of living organisms, is reviewed. Unique molecular diversity of venom components including substances of variable structure (from simple low molecular weight compounds to large multidomain proteins) with different functions is considered. Special attention is given to the structure, properties, and biosynthesis of toxins of polypeptide nature.
KEY WORDS: spider venom, toxin, neurotoxin, cytolytic peptide, acylpolyamine, latrotoxin, toxic enzymes, protein structure and function, biosynthesis