A previously unrecognized superfamily of macro-conotoxins includes an inhibitor of the sensory neuron calcium channel Cav2.3

Publication Name

PLoS Biology


AU Animal: Pleaseconfirmthatallheadinglevelsarerepresentedcorrectly venom peptides represent valuable compounds for biomedical : exploration. The venoms of marine cone snails constitute a particularly rich source of peptide toxins, known as conotoxins. Here, we identify the sequence of an unusually large conotoxin, Mu8.1, which defines a new class of conotoxins evolutionarily related to the well-known con-ikot-ikots and 2 additional conotoxin classes not previously described. The crystal structure of recombinant Mu8.1 displays a saposin-like fold and shows structural similarity with con-ikot-ikot. Functional studies demonstrate that Mu8.1 curtails calcium influx in defined classes of murine somatosensory dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. When tested on a variety of recombinantly expressed voltage-gated ion channels, Mu8.1 displayed the highest potency against the R-type (Cav2.3) calcium channel. Ca2+ signals from Mu8.1-sensitive DRG neurons were also inhibited by SNX-482, a known spider peptide modulator of Cav2.3 and voltage-gated K+ (Kv4) channels. Our findings highlight the potential of Mu8.1 as a molecular tool to identify and study neuronal subclasses expressing Cav2.3. Importantly, this multidisciplinary study showcases the potential of uncovering novel structures and bioactivities within the largely unexplored group of macro-conotoxins.

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8 August

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Funding Sponsor

Villum Fonden



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