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J Pept Res. 1999 Nov;54(5):369-76.

Chemical synthesis and structure-activity relationships of Ts kappa, a novel scorpion toxin acting on apamin-sensitive SK channel.

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Biochemistry Laboratory, CNRS UMR 6560, Faculty of Medicine North, Marseille, France.


Tityus kappa (Ts kappa), a novel toxin from the venom of the scorpion Tityus serrulatus, is a 35-residue polypeptide cross-linked by three disulphide bridges and acts on small-conductance calcium-activated potassium channels (SK channels). Ts K was chemically synthesized using the solid-phase method and characterized. The synthetic product, sTs kappa, was indistinguishable from the natural toxin when tested in vitro in competition assay with radiolabelled apamin for binding to rat brain synaptosomes (IC50 = 3 nM). The sTs kappa was further tested in vivo for lethal activity to mice following intracerebroventricular inoculation (LD50 = 70 ng per mouse). The half-cystine pairings were formerly established by enzyme-based cleavage of sTs kappa; they were between Cys7-Cys28, Cys13-CyS33 and Cys17-Cys35, which is a disulphide bridge pattern similar to that of other short scorpion toxins. According to previous studies on SK channel-acting toxins, the putative influence of certain basic residues of Ts kappa (i.e. Arg6, Arg9, Lys18, Lys19) in its pharmacological activity was investigated using synthetic point-mutated analogues of the toxin with an Ala substitution at these positions. Data from binding assay, together with conformational analysis of the synthetic analogues by 1H-NMR, suggest that Arg6, and to a lesser extent Arg9, are important residues for an high-affinity interaction of this toxin with SK channels; interestingly these residues are located outside the alpha-helical structure, whereas the pharmacologically important basic residues from other SK channel-specific toxins had been located inside the alpha-helix.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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