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Definition of Melittin

Melittin: The principal toxic component in bee venom. Melittin is a relatively short peptide consisting of 26 amino acids. It is a powerful cell lytic agent and binds rapidly to red blood cells causing the release of hemoglobin in the blood plasma. Lysis of these cells occurs when the organization of a lipid bilayer is perturbed.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=40544
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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