Centipedes are among the oldest venomous arthropods that use their venom to subdue the prey. The major components of centipede venom are a variety of low-molecular-weight peptide toxins that have evolved to target voltage-gated ion channels to interfere with the central system of prey and produce pain or paralysis for efficient hunting. Peptide toxins usually contain several intramolecular disulfide bonds, which confer chemical, thermal and biological stability. In addition, centipede peptides generally have novel structures and high potency and specificity and therefore hold great promise both as diagnostic tools and in the treatment of human disease. Here, we review the centipede peptide toxins with reported effects on ion channels, including Nav, Kv, Cav and the nonselective cation channel polymodal transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1).
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