Publication Details

Callaghan, B. P., Haythornthwaite, A., Berecki, G., Clark, R. J., Craik, D. J. & Adams, D. J. (2008). Analgesic α-conotoxins Vc1.1 and Rg1A inhibit N-type calcium channels in rat sensory neurons via GABAB receptor activation. The Journal of Neuroscience, 28 (43), 10943-10951.


α-Conotoxins Vc1.1 and Rg1A are peptides from the venom of marine Conus snails that are currently in development as a treatment for neuropathic pain. Here we report that the α9α10 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor-selective conotoxins Vc1.1 and Rg1A potently and selectively inhibit high-voltage-activated (HVA) calcium channel currents in dissociated DRG neurons in a concentration-dependent manner. The post-translationally modified peptides vc1a and [P6O]Vc1.1 were inactive, as were all other α-conotoxins tested. Vc1.1 inhibited the ω-conotoxin-sensitive HVA currents in DRG neurons but not those recorded from Xenopus oocytes expressing CaV2.2, Ca V2.1, CaV2.3, or CaV1.2 channels. Inhibition of HVA currents by Vc1.1 was not reversed by depolarizing prepulses but was abolished by pertussis toxin (PTX), intracellular GDPβS, or a selective inhibitor of pp60c-src tyrosine kinase. These data indicate that Vc1.1 does not interact with N-type calcium channels directly but inhibits them via a voltage-independent mechanism involving a PTX-sensitive, G-protein-coupled receptor. Preincubation with a variety of selective receptor antagonists demonstrated that only the GABAB receptor antagonists, [S-(R*,R*)][-3-[[1-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)ethyl]amino]-2-hydroxy propyl]([3,4]-cyclohexylmethyl) phosphinic acid hydrochloride (2S)-3[[(1S)-1-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-ethyl]amino-2-hydroxypropyl](phenylmethyl) phosphinic acid and phaclofen, blocked the effect of Vc1.1 and Rg1A on Ca 2+ channel currents. Together, the results identify CaV2.2 as a target of Vc1.1 and Rg1A, potentially mediating their analgesic actions. We propose a novel mechanism by which α-conotoxins Vc1.1 and Rg1A modulate native N-type (CaV2.2) Ca2+ channel currents, namely acting as agonists via G-protein-coupled GABAB receptors.



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