Nine publically available biosafety protocols for safely handling conotoxin peptides were tested to evaluate their decontamination efficacy. Circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy and mass spectrometry (MS) were used to assess the effect of each chemical treatment on the secondary and primary structure of α-CTx MII (L10V, E11A). Of the nine decontamination methods tested, treatment with 1% (m
) solution of the enzymatic detergent Contrex™ EZ resulted in a 76.8% decrease in α-helical content as assessed by the mean residue ellipticity at 222 nm, and partial peptide digestion was demonstrated using high performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS). Additionally, treatment with 6% sodium hypochlorite (m
) resulted in 80.5% decrease in α-helical content and complete digestion of the peptide. The Contrex™ EZ treatment was repeated with three additional α-conotoxins (α-CTxs), α-CTxs LvIA, ImI and PeIA, which verified the decontamination method was reasonably robust. These results support the use of either 1% Contrex™ EZ solution or 6% sodium hypochlorite in biosafety protocols for the decontamination of α-CTxs in research laboratories.
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