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Toxicon. 2003 Feb;41(2):229-36.

An epidermal growth factor-like toxin and two sodium channel toxins from the sea anemone Stichodactyla gigantea.

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Department of Food Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Fisheries, Konan-4, Minato-ku, 108-8477, Tokyo, Japan.


Three peptide toxins (gigantoxins I-III) with crab toxicity were isolated from the sea anemone Stichodactyla gigantea by gel filtration on Sephadex G-50 and reverse-phase HPLC on TSKgel ODS-120T and their complete amino acid sequences were determined. Gigantoxins II (44 residues) and III (48 residues) have LD(50) (against crabs) of 70 and 120 microg/kg, respectively, and are analogous to the known type 1 and 2 sea anemone sodium channel toxins, respectively. On the other hand, gigantoxin I (48 residues) is potently paralytic to crabs (ED(50) 215 microg/kg), although its lethality is very weak (LD(50)>1000 microg/kg). Interestingly, gigantoxin I has 31-33% homologies with mammalian epidermal growth factors (EGFs), with the same location of six cysteine residues. In accordance with the sequence similarity, gigantoxin I exhibits EGF activity as evidenced by rounding of A431 cells and tyrosine phosphorylation of the EGF receptor in the cells, although much less potently than human EGF. Gigantoxin I is the first example of EGF-like toxins of natural origin.

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