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J Biol Chem. 2002 Dec 13;277(50):48849-57. Epub 2002 Oct 9.

A new level of conotoxin diversity, a non-native disulfide bond connectivity in alpha-conotoxin AuIB reduces structural definition but increases biological activity.

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  • 1Institute for Molecular Bioscience, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.


alpha-Conotoxin AuIB and a disulfide bond variant of AuIB have been synthesized to determine the role of disulfide bond connectivity on structure and activity. Both of these peptides contain the 15 amino acid sequence GCCSYPPCFATNPDC, with the globular (native) isomer having the disulfide connectivity Cys(2-8 and 3-15) and the ribbon isomer having the disulfide connectivity Cys(2-15 and 3-8). The solution structures of the peptides were determined by NMR spectroscopy, and their ability to block the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors on dissociated neurons of the rat parasympathetic ganglia was examined. The ribbon disulfide isomer, although having a less well defined structure, is surprisingly found to have approximately 10 times greater potency than the native peptide. To our knowledge this is the first demonstration of a non-native disulfide bond isomer of a conotoxin exhibiting greater biological activity than the native isomer.

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