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Curr Opin Drug Discov Devel. 2009 Mar;12(2):231-9.

Neuroprotective and cardioprotective conopeptides: an emerging class of drug leads.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Utah, 257 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.


The peptides in the venoms of predatory marine snails belonging to the genus Conus ('cone snails') have well-established therapeutic applications for the treatment of pain and epilepsy. This review discusses the neuroprotective and cardioprotective potential of four families of Conus peptides (conopeptides), including omega-conotoxins that target voltage-gated Ca2+ channels, conantokins that target NMDA receptors, mu-conotoxins that target voltage-gated Na+ channels, and kappa- and kappaM-conotoxins that target K+ channels. The diversity of Conus peptides that have already been shown to exhibit neuroprotective/cardioprotective activity suggests that marine snail venoms are a potentially rich source of drug leads with diverse mechanisms.

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