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J Med Chem. 2015 Mar 12;58(5):2299-314. doi: 10.1021/jm501765v. Epub 2015 Feb 19.

Engineering potent and selective analogues of GpTx-1, a tarantula venom peptide antagonist of the Na(V)1.7 sodium channel.

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Departments of Therapeutic Discovery, ‡Neuroscience, and §Pharmacokinetics & Drug Metabolism, Amgen Inc. , One Amgen Center Drive, Thousand Oaks, California 91320, United States.


NaV1.7 is a voltage-gated sodium ion channel implicated by human genetic evidence as a therapeutic target for the treatment of pain. Screening fractionated venom from the tarantula Grammostola porteri led to the identification of a 34-residue peptide, termed GpTx-1, with potent activity on NaV1.7 (IC50 = 10 nM) and promising selectivity against key NaV subtypes (20× and 1000× over NaV1.4 and NaV1.5, respectively). NMR structural analysis of the chemically synthesized three disulfide peptide was consistent with an inhibitory cystine knot motif. Alanine scanning of GpTx-1 revealed that residues Trp(29), Lys(31), and Phe(34) near the C-terminus are critical for potent NaV1.7 antagonist activity. Substitution of Ala for Phe at position 5 conferred 300-fold selectivity against NaV1.4. A structure-guided campaign afforded additive improvements in potency and NaV subtype selectivity, culminating in the design of [Ala5,Phe6,Leu26,Arg28]GpTx-1 with a NaV1.7 IC50 value of 1.6 nM and >1000× selectivity against NaV1.4 and NaV1.5.

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