An unusual fold for potassium channel blockers: NMR structure of three toxins from the scorpion Opisthacanthus madagascariensis.
ABSTRACT The Om-toxins are short peptides (23-27 amino acids) purified from the venom of the scorpion Opisthacanthus madagascariensis. Their pharmacological targets are thought to be potassium channels. Like Csalpha/beta (cystine-stabilized alpha/beta) toxins, the Om-toxins alter the electrophysiological properties of these channels; however, they do not share any sequence similarity with other scorpion toxins. We herein demonstrate by electrophysiological experiments that Om-toxins decrease the amplitude of the K+ current of the rat channels Kv1.1 and Kv1.2, as well as human Kv1.3. We also determine the solution structure of three of the toxins by use of two-dimensional proton NMR techniques followed by distance geometry and molecular dynamics. The structures of these three peptides display an uncommon fold for ion-channel blockers, Csalpha/alpha (cystine-stabilized alpha-helix-loop-helix), i.e. two alpha-helices connected by a loop and stabilized by two disulphide bridges. We compare the structures obtained and the dipole moments resulting from the electrostatic anisotropy of these peptides with those of the only other toxin known to share the same fold, namely kappa-hefutoxin1.
Article: New tricks of an old pattern: structural versatility of scorpion toxins with common cysteine spacing.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Scorpion venoms are a rich source of K(+) channel-blocking peptides. For the most part, they are structurally related small disulfide-rich proteins containing a conserved pattern of six cysteines that is assumed to dictate their common three-dimensional folding. In the conventional pattern, two disulfide bridges connect an α-helical segment to the C-terminal strand of a double- or triple-stranded β-sheet, conforming a cystine-stabilized α/β scaffold (CSα/β). Here we show that two K(+) channel-blocking peptides from Tityus scorpions conserve the cysteine spacing of common scorpion venom peptides but display an unconventional disulfide pattern, accompanied by a complete rearrangement of the secondary structure topology into a CS helix-loop-helix fold. Sequence and structural comparisons of the peptides adopting this novel fold suggest that it would be a new elaboration of the widespread CSα/β scaffold, thus revealing an unexpected structural versatility of these small disulfide-rich proteins. Acknowledgment of such versatility is important to understand how venom structural complexity emerged on a limited number of molecular scaffolds.Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2012; 287(15):12321-30. · 4.77 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Although the basic scorpion K(+) channel toxins (KTxs) are well-known pharmacological tools and potential drug candidates, characterization the acidic KTxs still has the great significance for their potential selectivity towards different K(+) channel subtypes. Unfortunately, research on the acidic KTxs has been ignored for several years and progressed slowly. Here, we describe the identification of nine new acidic KTxs by cDNA cloning and bioinformatic analyses. Seven of these toxins belong to three new α-KTx subfamilies (α-KTx28, α-KTx29, and α-KTx30), and two are new members of the known κ-KTx2 subfamily. ImKTx104 containing three disulfide bridges, the first member of the α-KTx28 subfamily, has a low sequence homology with other known KTxs, and its NMR structure suggests ImKTx104 adopts a modified cystine-stabilized α-helix-loop-β-sheet (CS-α/β) fold motif that has no apparent α-helixs and β-sheets, but still stabilized by three disulfide bridges. These newly described acidic KTxs exhibit differential pharmacological effects on potassium channels. Acidic scorpion toxin ImKTx104 was the first peptide inhibitor found to affect KCNQ1 channel, which is insensitive to the basic KTxs and is strongly associated with human cardiac abnormalities. ImKTx104 selectively inhibited KCNQ1 channel with a K(d) of 11.69 µM, but was less effective against the basic KTxs-sensitive potassium channels. In addition to the ImKTx104 toxin, HeTx204 peptide, containing a cystine-stabilized α-helix-loop-helix (CS-α/α) fold scaffold motif, blocked both Kv1.3 and KCNQ1 channels. StKTx23 toxin, with a cystine-stabilized α-helix-loop-β-sheet (CS-α/β) fold motif, could inhibit Kv1.3 channel, but not the KCNQ1 channel. These findings characterize the structural and functional diversity of acidic KTxs, and could accelerate the development and clinical use of acidic KTxs as pharmacological tools and potential drugs.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(4):e35154. · 4.09 Impact Factor