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Trends Pharmacol Sci. 1999 Nov;20(11):444-7.

A unified nomenclature for short-chain peptides isolated from scorpion venoms: alpha-KTx molecular subfamilies.

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Laboratory of Toxicology, University of Leuven, E. Van Evenstraat 4, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.


Peptidyl toxins are used extensively to determine the pharmacology of ion channels. Four families of peptides have been purified from scorpion venom. In this article, the classification of K+-channel-blocking peptides belonging to family 2 peptides and comprising 30-40 amino acids linked by three or four disulfide bridges, will be discussed. Evidence is provided for the existence of 12 molecular subfamilies, named alpha-KTx1-12, containing 49 different peptides. Because of the pharmacological divergence of these peptides, the principle of classification was based on a primary sequence alignment, combined with maximum parsimony and Neighbour-Joining analysis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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