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Toxins 2019, 11(2), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11020106

A Recurrent Motif: Diversity and Evolution of ShKT Domain Containing Proteins in the Vampire Snail Cumia reticulata

1
Department of Life Science, Trieste University, I-34127 Trieste, Italy
2
Department of Science, Roma Tre University, I-00143 Rome, Italy
3
Department of Biology and Biotechnologies “Charles Darwin”, La Sapienza University of Rome, I-00185 Rome, Italy
4
UMR5247, University of Montpellier, CC 1703-Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier, France
5
Department of Integrative Marine Ecology, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, I-80121 Naples, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 January 2019 / Revised: 4 February 2019 / Accepted: 7 February 2019 / Published: 12 February 2019
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Abstract

Proteins of the ShK superfamily are characterized by a small conserved domain (ShKT), first discovered in small venom peptides produced by sea anemones, and acting as specific inhibitors of voltage-dependent and calcium-activated K+ channels. The ShK superfamily includes both small toxic peptides and larger multifunctional proteins with various functions. ShK toxins are often important components of animal venoms, where they perform different biological functions including neurotoxic and immunosuppressive effects. Given their high specificity and effectiveness, they are currently regarded as promising pharmacological lead compounds for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Here, we report on the molecular analysis of ShKT domain containing proteins produced by the Mediterranean vampire snail Cumia reticulata, an ectoparasitic gastropod that feeds on benthic fishes. The high specificity of expression of most ShK transcripts in salivary glands identifies them as relevant components of C. reticulata venom. These ShK proteins display various structural architectures, being produced either as single-domain secretory peptides, or as larger proteins combining the ShKT with M12 or CAP domains. Both ShKT-containing genes and their internal ShKT domains undergo frequent duplication events in C. reticulata, ensuring a high level of variability that is likely to play a role in increasing the range of their potential molecular targets. View Full-Text
Keywords: ShKT; CRISP; Astacin; Gastropoda; haematophagy; parasitism; domain duplication; gene duplication ShKT; CRISP; Astacin; Gastropoda; haematophagy; parasitism; domain duplication; gene duplication
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Gerdol, M.; Cervelli, M.; Mariottini, P.; Oliverio, M.; Dutertre, S.; Modica, M.V. A Recurrent Motif: Diversity and Evolution of ShKT Domain Containing Proteins in the Vampire Snail Cumia reticulata. Toxins 2019, 11, 106.

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