ABSTRACT: Conotoxins are multiple disulfide-bonded peptides isolated from marine cone snail venom. These toxins have been classified into several families based on their disulfide pattern and biological properties. Here, we report a new family of Conus peptides, which have a novel cysteine motif. Three peptides of this family (CMrVIA, CMrVIB, and CMrX) have been purified from Conus marmoreus venom, and their structures have been determined. Their amino acid sequences are VCCGYK-LCHOC (CMrVIA), NGVCCGYKLCHOC (CMrVIB), and GICCGVSFCYOC (CMrX), where O represents 4-trans-hydroxyproline. Two of these peptides (CMrVIA and CMrX) have been chemically synthesized. Using a selective protection and deprotection strategy during disulfide bond formation, peptides with both feasible cysteine-pairing combinations were generated. The disulfide pattern (C(1)-C(4), C(2)-C(3)) in native toxins was identified by their co-elution with the synthetic disulfide-isomeric peptides on reverse-phase high pressure liquid chromatography. Although cysteine residues were found in comparable positions with those of alpha-conotoxins, these toxins exhibited a distinctly different disulfide bonding pattern; we have named this new family "lambda -conotoxins." CMrVIA and CMrX induced different biological effects when injected intra-cerebroventricularly in mice; CMrVIA induces seizures, whereas CMrX induces flaccid paralysis. The synthetic peptide with lambda-conotoxin folding is about 1150-fold more potent in inducing seizures than the mispaired isomer with alpha-conotoxin folding. Thus it appears that the unique disulfide pattern, and hence the "ribbon" conformation, in lambda-conotoxins is important for their biological activity.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2001; 275(50):39516-22. · 4.77 Impact Factor