Author(s): Hamon A, Gilles N, Sautire P, Martinage A, Kopeyan C,
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Abstract Two novel toxins, Lqh6 and Lqh7, isolated from the venom of the scorpion Leiurus quinquestriatus hebraeus, have in their sequence a molecular signature (8Q/KPE10) associated with a recently defined group of alpha-toxins that target Na channels, namely the alpha-like toxins [reviewed in Gordon, D., Savarin, P., Gurevitz, M. & Zinn-Justin, S. (1998) J. Toxicol. Toxin Rev. 17, 131-159]. Lqh6 and Lqh7 are highly toxic to insects and mice, and inhibit the binding of alpha-toxins to cockroach neuronal membranes. Although they kill rodents by intracerebroventricular injection, they do not inhibit the binding of antimammal alpha-toxins (e.g. Lqh2) to rat brain synaptosomes, not even at high concentrations. Furthermore, in voltage-clamp experiments, rat brain Na channels IIA (rNav1.2A) expressed in Xenopus oocytes are not affected by Lqh6 nor by Lqh7 below 3 micro m. In contrast, muscular Na channels (rNav1.4 and hNav1.5) expressed in the same cells respond to nanomolar concentrations of Lqh6 and Lqh7 by slowing of Na current inactivation and a leftward shift of the peak conductance-voltage curve. The structural and pharmacological properties of the new toxins are compared to those of other scorpion alpha-toxins in order to re-examine the hallmarks previously set for the alpha-like toxin group.
This article was published in Eur J Biochem
and referenced in Biochemistry & Pharmacology: Open Access