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J Mol Biol. 2015 Jan 16;427(1):158-175. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2014.07.027. Epub 2014 Aug 1.

From foe to friend: using animal toxins to investigate ion channel function.

Author information

1
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Pune; Pune, Maharashtra 411 008 India.
2
Division of Biological Sciences; University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211 USA.
3
Department of Physiology; Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205 USA.
4
Institute for Molecular Bioscience; The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072 Australia.
5
Department of Biology; University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112 USA.
6
Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience; Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205 USA.
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Contributed equally

Abstract

Ion channels are vital contributors to cellular communication in a wide range of organisms, a distinct feature that renders this ubiquitous family of membrane-spanning proteins a prime target for toxins found in animal venom. For many years, the unique properties of these naturally occurring molecules have enabled researchers to probe the structural and functional features of ion channels and to define their physiological roles in normal and diseased tissues. To illustrate their considerable impact on the ion channel field, this review will highlight fundamental insights into toxin-channel interactions and recently developed toxin screening methods and practical applications of engineered toxins.

KEYWORDS:

animal toxin; screening approaches; toxin engineering; transient receptor potential channel; voltage-gated ion channel

PMID:
25088688
PMCID:
PMC4277912
DOI:
10.1016/j.jmb.2014.07.027
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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