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Biochemistry. 1999 May 11;38(19):6317-26.

Biochemical characterization and nuclear magnetic resonance structure of novel alpha-conotoxins isolated from the venom of Conus consors.

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Laboratoire de Synthèses et Etudes de Substances Naturelles à Activités Biologiques, Université de La Rochelle, Pôle Sciences, Av. Marillac, 17042 La Rochelle Cedex, France.


Two novel alpha-conotoxins were purified and characterized from the venom of the fish-hunting cone snail Conus consors. These peptides were identified by screening HPLC fractions of the crude venom and by binding experiments with Torpedo nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. The toxins named alpha-CnIA and alpha-CnIB exhibited sequences of 14 and 12 amino acids, respectively. The alpha-CnIA represents the main alpha-conotoxin contained in the venom, whereas alpha-CnIB is present in a relatively small amount. Chemical synthesis of alpha-CnIA was carried out using the Fmoc methodology by selective disulfide bond formation. The biological activity of the toxin was assessed in fish and mice. The alpha-CnIA inhibited the fixation of iodinated alpha-bungarotoxin to Torpedo nicotinic acetylcholine receptors with an IC50 of 0.19 microM which can be compared to the IC50 of 0.31 microM found for the previously characterized alpha-MI isolated from the piscivorous Conus magus. The synthetic alpha-CnIA blocked spontaneous and evoked synaptic potentials in frog and mouse isolated neuromuscular preparations at sub-micromolar concentrations. Solution NMR of this toxin indicated a conformational heterogeneity with the existence of different conformers in solution, at slow and intermediate exchange rates relative to the NMR chemical shift time scale, similar to that reported for alpha-GI and alpha-MI. NMR structures were calculated for the major NMR signals representing more than 80% of the population at 5 degrees C.

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