Ricin is a toxic protein that is naturally produced by the castor oil plant Ricinus communis
. Ricin's mechanism of toxicity is to inhibit protein synthesis by inactivating ribosomes. Ricin is structurally composed of two chains: Ricin A Chain(RTA) and Ricin B Chain(RTB). RTB(a lectin) mediates entry into cell cytosol while RTA is responsible for inactivation of ribosomes. RTA inactivates ribosomes by cleaving a glycosidic bond in the 60S ribosomal subunit, and then irreversibly hydrolyzing a glycosidic bond in a region which is required for Elongation Facotor binding - therefore causing toxicity by preventing protein synthesis. However, very large quantities of ricin would be necessary to be lethal for half of a population. Therefore, while Ricin has been considered for chemical warfare, it is unlikely to cause as many casualties as other more potent toxic agents such as anthrax or botulinum.
Wikipedia page for Ricin: Wikipedia:Ricin
Pubmed record a publication which reported the sequence of the Ricinus communis
genome: Chan AP et al
. Draft genome sequence of the oilseed species Ricinus communis.
Nat Biotechnol. 2010 Sep;28(9):951-6. doi: 10.1038/nbt.1674. Epub 2010 Aug 22.
Genbank page for Ricin protein sequence: Genbank:P02879.1
-- %TEACHINGWEB%.SuhaniVora - 08 Sep 2011
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