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Biopolymers. 2014 Apr;101(4):347-54. doi: 10.1002/bip.22368.

Re-engineering the μ-conotoxin SIIIA scaffold.

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Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), The University of Queensland, Brisbane, 4072, Queensland, Australia.


Voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channels are responsible for generation and propagation of action potentials throughout the nervous system. Their malfunction causes several disorders and chronic conditions including neuropathic pain. Potent subtype specific ligands are essential for deciphering the molecular mechanisms of Nav channel function and development of effective therapeutics. µ-Conotoxin SIIIA is a potent mammalian Nav 1.2 channel blocker that exhibits analgesic activity in rodents. We undertook to reengineer loop 1 through a strategy involving charge alterations and truncations which led to the development of µ-SIIIA mimetics with novel selectivity profiles. A novel [N5K/D15A]SIIIA(3-20) mutant with enhanced net positive charge showed a dramatic increase in its Nav 1.2 potency (IC50 of 0.5 nM vs. 9.6 nM for native SIIIA) though further truncations led to loss of potency. Unexpectedly, it appears that SIIIA loop 1 significantly influences its Nav channel interactions despite loop 2 and 3 residues constituting the pharmacophore. This minimal functional conotoxin scaffold may allow further development of selective NaV blockers.


NMR spectroscopy; SPPS; peptides; peptidomimetics; structure activity relationships; voltage gated sodium channels; μ-SIIIA; μ-conotoxin

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