Next Article in Journal
Editorial for Special Issue: The Insecticidal Bacterial Toxins in Modern Agriculture
Next Article in Special Issue
Bee Venom Suppresses the Differentiation of Preadipocytes and High Fat Diet-Induced Obesity by Inhibiting Adipogenesis
Previous Article in Journal
Molecular Modeling and Simulation Tools in the Development of Peptide-Based Biosensors for Mycotoxin Detection: Example of Ochratoxin
Previous Article in Special Issue
Direct Fibrinolytic Snake Venom Metalloproteinases Affecting Hemostasis: Structural, Biochemical Features and Therapeutic Potential
Article Menu
Issue 12 (December) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessReview
Toxins 2017, 9(12), 397;

Cone Snails: A Big Store of Conotoxins for Novel Drug Discovery

1,* and 2,4,*
Hainan Provincial Key Laboratory of Research and Development of Tropical Medicinal Plants, Hainan Medical University, Haikou 571199, China
Shenzhen Key Lab of Marine Genomics, Guangdong Provincial Key Lab of Molecular Breeding in Marine Economic Animals, BGI Academy of Marine Sciences, BGI Marine, BGI, Shenzhen 518083, China
Micro Pharmtech, Ltd., Wuhan 430075, China
BGI Education Center, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen 518083, China
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Steve Peigneur
Received: 26 October 2017 / Revised: 28 November 2017 / Accepted: 4 December 2017 / Published: 7 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxins in Drug Discovery and Pharmacology)
Full-Text   |   PDF [5169 KB, uploaded 15 December 2017]   |  


Marine drugs have developed rapidly in recent decades. Cone snails, a group of more than 700 species, have always been one of the focuses for new drug discovery. These venomous snails capture prey using a diverse array of unique bioactive neurotoxins, usually named as conotoxins or conopeptides. These conotoxins have proven to be valuable pharmacological probes and potential drugs due to their high specificity and affinity to ion channels, receptors, and transporters in the nervous systems of target prey and humans. Several research groups, including ours, have examined the venom gland of cone snails using a combination of transcriptomic and proteomic sequencing, and revealed the existence of hundreds of conotoxin transcripts and thousands of conopeptides in each Conus species. Over 2000 nucleotide and 8000 peptide sequences of conotoxins have been published, and the number is still increasing quickly. However, more than 98% of these sequences still lack 3D structural and functional information. With the rapid development of genomics and bioinformatics in recent years, functional predictions and investigations on conotoxins are making great progress in promoting the discovery of novel drugs. For example, ω-MVIIA was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004 to treat chronic pain, and nine more conotoxins are at various stages of preclinical or clinical evaluation. In short, the genus Conus, the big family of cone snails, has become an important genetic resource for conotoxin identification and drug development. View Full-Text
Keywords: conotoxin; cone snail; transcriptome; proteome; drug development conotoxin; cone snail; transcriptome; proteome; drug development

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Gao, B.; Peng, C.; Yang, J.; Yi, Y.; Zhang, J.; Shi, Q. Cone Snails: A Big Store of Conotoxins for Novel Drug Discovery. Toxins 2017, 9, 397.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Toxins EISSN 2072-6651 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top