Special Issue "Venoms and Ion Channels"

A special issue of Toxins (ISSN 2072-6651). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Venoms".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2019.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Steve Peigneur
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Toxicology and Pharmacology, Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven, Campus Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium
Tel. +3216343208

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Venomous animals are specialized predators that have evolved the most sophisticated peptide chemistry and neuropharmacology for their own biological purposes by producing venoms that contain a structural and functional diversity of neurotoxins. Venoms from marine and terrestrial animals (cone snails, scorpions, spiders, snakes, centipedes, cnidarian, etc.) can be seen as an untapped cocktail of biologically active compounds, being increasingly recognized as new emerging source of peptide-based therapeutics. Ion channels account for the action potential of excitable cells, and their malfunction relates to many diseases. As such, they form an important drug target. Venoms and their components have also shown to be highly selective ligands for a wide range of ion channels and receptors. Therefore, neurotoxins have proved invaluable in unraveling ion channel structure and function. Neurotoxins thus represent interesting lead compounds for the development of, for example, analgesics, anticancer drugs, and drugs for neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, etc.

This Special Issue of Toxins aims to provide a comprehensive look at venoms and their components and will focus on the mechanism of action, structure–function, and evolution of pharmacological interesting venom components, including but not limited to recent developments relating to the emergence of venoms as an underutilized source of highly evolved bioactive peptides with clinical potential.

Dr. Steve Peigneur
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxins is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sodium channels
  • potassium channels
  • calcium channels
  • TRP channels
  • acetylcholine receptors
  • cone snail venom peptides
  • spider venom peptides
  • sea anemone toxins
  • scorpion toxins
  • snake toxins

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Venomic, Transcriptomic, and Bioactivity Analyses of Pamphobeteus verdolaga Venom Reveal Complex Disulfide-Rich Peptides That Modulate Calcium Channels
Toxins 2019, 11(9), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11090496 - 27 Aug 2019
Abstract
Pamphobeteus verdolaga is a recently described Theraphosidae spider from the Andean region of Colombia. Previous reports partially characterized its venom profile. In this study, we conducted a detailed analysis that includes reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (rp-HPLC), calcium influx assays, tandem mass spectrometry analysis [...] Read more.
Pamphobeteus verdolaga is a recently described Theraphosidae spider from the Andean region of Colombia. Previous reports partially characterized its venom profile. In this study, we conducted a detailed analysis that includes reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (rp-HPLC), calcium influx assays, tandem mass spectrometry analysis (tMS/MS), and venom-gland transcriptome. rp-HPLC fractions of P. verdolaga venom showed activity on CaV2.2, CaV3.2, and NaV1.7 ion channels. Active fractions contained several peptides with molecular masses ranging from 3399.4 to 3839.6 Da. The tMS/MS analysis of active fraction displaying the strongest activity to inhibit calcium channels showed sequence fragments similar to one of the translated transcripts detected in the venom-gland transcriptome. The putative peptide of this translated transcript corresponded to a toxin, here named ω-theraphositoxin-Pv3a, a potential ion channel modulator toxin that is, in addition, very similar to other theraphositoxins affecting calcium channels (i.e., ω-theraphotoxin-Asp1a). Additionally, using this holistic approach, we found that P. verdolaga venom is an important source of disulfide-rich proteins expressing at least eight superfamilies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Venoms and Ion Channels)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of the Spider (Phlogiellus genus) Phlotoxin 1 and Synthetic Variants as Antinociceptive Drug Candidates
Toxins 2019, 11(9), 484; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11090484 - 22 Aug 2019
Abstract
Over the two last decades, venom toxins have been explored as alternatives to opioids to treat chronic debilitating pain. At present, approximately 20 potential analgesic toxins, mainly from spider venoms, are known to inhibit with high affinity the NaV1.7 subtype of [...] Read more.
Over the two last decades, venom toxins have been explored as alternatives to opioids to treat chronic debilitating pain. At present, approximately 20 potential analgesic toxins, mainly from spider venoms, are known to inhibit with high affinity the NaV1.7 subtype of voltage-gated sodium (NaV) channels, the most promising genetically validated antinociceptive target identified so far. The present study aimed to consolidate the development of phlotoxin 1 (PhlTx1), a 34-amino acid and 3-disulfide bridge peptide of a Phlogiellus genus spider, as an antinociceptive agent by improving its affinity and selectivity for the human (h) NaV1.7 subtype. The synthetic homologue of PhlTx1 was generated and equilibrated between two conformers on reverse-phase liquid chromatography and exhibited potent analgesic effects in a mouse model of NaV1.7-mediated pain. The effects of PhlTx1 and 8 successfully synthetized alanine-substituted variants were studied (by automated whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology) on cell lines stably overexpressing hNaV subtypes, as well as two cardiac targets, the hCaV1.2 and hKV11.1 subtypes of voltage-gated calcium (CaV) and potassium (KV) channels, respectively. PhlTx1 and D7A-PhlTx1 were shown to inhibit hNaV1.1–1.3 and 1.5–1.7 subtypes at hundred nanomolar concentrations, while their affinities for hNaV1.4 and 1.8, hCaV1.2 and hKV11.1 subtypes were over micromolar concentrations. Despite similar analgesic effects in the mouse model of NaV1.7-mediated pain and selectivity profiles, the affinity of D7A-PhlTx1 for the NaV1.7 subtype was at least five times higher than that of the wild-type peptide. Computational modelling was performed to deduce the 3D-structure of PhlTx1 and to suggest the amino acids involved in the efficiency of the molecule. In conclusion, the present structure–activity relationship study of PhlTx1 results in a low improved affinity of the molecule for the NaV1.7 subtype, but without any marked change in the molecule selectivity against the other studied ion channel subtypes. Further experiments are therefore necessary before considering the development of PhlTx1 or synthetic variants as antinociceptive drug candidates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Venoms and Ion Channels)
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Open AccessCommunication
Inhibition of Kv2.1 Potassium Channels by MiDCA1, A Pre-Synaptically Active PLA2-Type Toxin from Micrurus dumerilii carinicauda Coral Snake Venom
Toxins 2019, 11(6), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11060335 - 12 Jun 2019
Abstract
MiDCA1, a phospholipase A2 (PLA2) neurotoxin isolated from Micrurus dumerilii carinicauda coral snake venom, inhibited a major component of voltage-activated potassium (Kv) currents (41 ± 3% inhibition with 1 μM toxin) in mouse cultured dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. In [...] Read more.
MiDCA1, a phospholipase A2 (PLA2) neurotoxin isolated from Micrurus dumerilii carinicauda coral snake venom, inhibited a major component of voltage-activated potassium (Kv) currents (41 ± 3% inhibition with 1 μM toxin) in mouse cultured dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. In addition, the selective Kv2.1 channel blocker guangxitoxin (GxTx-1E) and MiDCA1 competitively inhibited the outward potassium current in DRG neurons. MiDCA1 (1 µM) reversibly inhibited the Kv2.1 current by 55 ± 8.9% in a Xenopus oocyte heterologous system. The toxin showed selectivity for Kv2.1 channels over all the other Kv channels tested in this study. We propose that Kv2.1 channel blockade by MiDCA1 underlies the toxin’s action on acetylcholine release at mammalian neuromuscular junctions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Venoms and Ion Channels)
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