[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this work, a novel M-superfamily conotoxin, designated lt3a, was purified from the crude venom of Conus litteratus. Combined with peptide sequencing, MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry and cDNA cloning techniques, the amino acid sequence of lt3a was supposed to be DgammaCCgamma OQWCDGACDCCS, where O is hydroxyproline and gamma is carboxyglutamate. The Cys framework of lt3a (-CC-C-C-CC-) is similar to that of psi-, mu-, kappaM-conotoxins, which are representatives of M-conotoxins. Peptide lt3a is categorized into M1 branch based on the number of residues in the last Cys loop. Whole cell patch-clamp study on adult rat dorsal root ganglion neurons indicated that lt3a could enhance tetrodotoxin-sensitive sodium currents. This is a previously unknown function of M-superfamily conotoxins.
Archives of Toxicology 07/2009; 83(10):925-32. · 5.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A novel conotoxin named lt6c, an O-superfamily conotoxin, was identified from the cDNA library of venom duct of Conus litteratus. The full-length cDNA contains an open reading frame encoding a predicted 22-residue signal peptide, a 22-residue proregion and a mature peptide of 28 amino acids. The signal peptide sequence of lt6c is highly conserved in O-superfamily conotoxins and the mature peptide consists of six cysteines arranged in the pattern of C-C-CC-C-C that is defined the O-superfamily of conotoxins. The mature peptide fused with thioredoxin, 6-His tag, and a Factor Xa cleavage site was successfully expressed in Escherichia coli. About 12 mg lt6c was purified from 1L culture. Under whole-cell patch-clamp mode, lt6c inhibited sodium currents on adult rat dorsal root ganglion neurons. Therefore, lt6c is a novel O-superfamily conotoxin that is able to block sodium channels.
Journal of Peptide Science 10/2008; 14(10):1077-83. · 2.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A T-1-conotoxin, lt5d, was purified and characterized from the venom of vermivorous hunting cone snails Conus litteratus. The complete amino acid sequence of lt5d (DCCPAKLLCCNP) has been determined by Edman degradation. With two disulfide bonds, the calculated average mass is 1274.57 Da, which is confirmed by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry (average mass 1274.8778). Under whole cell patch-clamp mode, lt5d inhibits tetrodotoxin-sensitive sodium currents on adult rat dorsal root ganglion neurons, but has no effects on tetrodotoxin-resistant sodium currents. The inhibition of TTX-sensitive sodium currents by lt5d was found to be concentration-dependent with the IC(50) value of 156.16 nM. Thus, this is the first T-superfamily conotoxin identified to block TTX-sensitive sodium channels.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HKABF, Hippocampus kuda antibacterial factor, is a putative antimicrobial peptide identified from the cDNA library of the brooding pouch of H. kuda Bleeker. The putative mature peptide, fused with a 6His-tag, an anionic peptide (SAPLNPDNID) and to an enterokinase cleavage site was expressed in Pichia pastoris. The mature HKABF peptide, released by enterokinase cleavage, showed antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus saprophyticus at low concentrations (0.5–2.5 μg/ml). The recombinant mature peptide was heat-stable and had low hemolytic activity. Circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy data indicates its classification as a CSαβ-type antimicrobial peptide. This study serves as an impetus for the production and further research of this antimicrobial peptide.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Conotoxins are a diverse array of small peptides mostly with multiple disulfide bridges. These peptides become an increasing significant source of neuro-pharmacological probes and drugs as a result of the high selectivity for ion channels and receptors. Usually, the analogue of natural conotoxins is produced by means of chemical synthesis. Here, we present a simple and fast strategy of producing disulfide-rich conotoxins via recombinant expression. By fused with thioredoxin and His tag, a novel O-superfamily conotoxin lt7a was successfully expressed in Escherichia coli and purified, resulting in a high yield of recombinant lt7a about 6 mg/l. The purity of target protein is up to 95% as identified by HPLC results. Whole cell patch-clamp recording revealed that the new conotoxin blocked voltage-sensitive sodium channels in rat dorsal root ganglion neurons, indicating it might be a novel microO-conotoxin.
Journal of Biotechnology 02/2007; 128(1):184-93. · 3.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cone snails are attracting increasing scientific attention due to their unprecedented diversity of invaluable channel-targeted peptides. As arguably the largest and most successful evolutionary genus of invertebrates, Conus also may become the model system to study the evolution of multigene families and biodiversity. Here, a set of 897 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) derived from a Conus litteratus venom duct was analyzed to illuminate the diversity and evolution mechanism of conotoxins. Nearly half of these ESTs represent the coding sequences of conotoxins, which were grouped into 42 novel conotoxin cDNA sequences (seven superfamilies), with T-superfamily conotoxins being the dominant component. The gene expression profile of conotoxin revealed that transcripts are expressed with order-of-magnitude differences, sequence divergence within a superfamily increases from the N to the C terminus of the open reading frame, and even multiple scaffold-different mature peptides exist in a conotoxin gene superfamily. Most excitingly, we identified a novel conotoxin superfamily and three novel cysteine scaffolds. These results give an initial insight into the C. litteratus transcriptome that will contribute to a better understanding of conotoxin evolution and the study of the cone snail genome in the near future.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Conus litteratus is a worm-hunting cone snail with a highly sophisticated neuropharmacological defense strategy using small peptides in its venom. By analyzing different clones in the cDNA library of venom ducts from C. litteratus, we identified the peptide lt14a which displays a characteristic signal peptide sequence in its precursor and a unique arrangement of Cys residues (-C-C-C-C-) in its mature peptide region. RT-PCR analysis suggested that lt14a is abundantly expressed throughout the whole venom duct. An intensive analysis in sequence suggested that lt14a is similar to alpha-conotoxin qc1.1 cloned from Conus quercinus. We conducted the chemical synthesis of lt14a. The synthetic lt14a has a remarkable biological activity to suppress pain and inhibits the neuronal-type nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cone snails (genus Conus) are predatory marine gastropods that use venom peptides for interacting with prey, predators and competitors. A majority of these peptides, generally known as conotoxins demonstrate striking selectivity in targeting specific subtypes of ion channels and neurotransmitter receptors. So they are not only useful tools in neuroscience to characterize receptors and receptor subtypes, but offer great potential in new drug research and development as well. Here, a cDNA library from the venom ducts of a fish-hunting cone snail species, Conus striatus is described for the generation of expressed sequence tags (ESTs). A total of 429 ESTs were grouped into 137 clusters or singletons. Among these sequences, 221 were toxin sequences, accounting for 52.1% (corresponding to 19 clusters) of all transcripts. A-superfamily (132 ESTs) and O-superfamily conotoxins (80 ESTs) constitute the predominant toxin components. Some non-disulfide-rich Conus peptides were also found. The expression profile of conotoxins also explained to some extent the pharmacological and physiological reactions elicited by this typical piscivorous species. For the first time, a nonstop transcript of conotoxin was identified, which is suggestive that alternative polyadenylation may be a means of post-transcriptional regulation of conotoxin production. A comparison analysis of these conotoxins reveals the different variation and divergence patterns in these two superfamilies. Our investigations indicate that focal hyper-mutation, block substitution and exon shuffling are three main mechanisms leading to the conotoxin diversity in a species. The comprehensive set of Conus gene sequences allowed the identification of the representative classes of conotoxins and related components, which may lay the foundation for further research and development of conotoxins.