Chlorotoxin (CTX) is a 36-amino-acid disulfide-containing peptide derived from the venom of the scorpion Leiurus quinquestriatus
. CTX alters physiology in numerous ways. It interacts with voltage gated chloride channels, Annexin-2, and matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2). CTX-based bioconjugates have been widely subjected to phase I/II clinical trials and have shown substantial promise. Many studies have demonstrated that CTX preferentially binds to neuroectodermal tumors, such as glioblastoma, without cross-reactivity to normal brain cells. With its ability to penetrate the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) and its tyrosine residue allows covalent conjugation with functional moieties, CTX is an attractive platform to explore development of diagnostic and therapeutic agents for gliomas. In this review, we outline CTX structure and its molecular targets, summarize molecular variations of CTX developed for glioma imaging, and discuss future trends and perspectives for CTX conjugates as a theranostic agent.
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