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Eur J Biochem. 2004 Jun;271(12):2320-6.

Structure-activity relationships of alpha-conotoxins targeting neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.

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Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.


alpha-Conotoxins that target the neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor have a range of potential therapeutic applications and are valuable probes for examining receptor subtype selectivity. The three-dimensional structures of about half of the known neuronal specific alpha-conotoxins have now been determined and have a consensus fold containing a helical region braced by two conserved disulfide bonds. These disulfide bonds define the two-loop framework characteristic for alpha-conotoxins, CCX(m)CX(n)C, where loop 1 comprises four residues (m = 4) and loop 2 between three and seven residues (n = 3, 6 or 7). Structural studies, particularly using NMR spectroscopy have provided an insight into the role and spatial location of residues implicated in receptor binding and biological activity.

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