Publications by authors named "Nitza Ilan"

14 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Partial agonist and antagonist activities of a mutant scorpion beta-toxin on sodium channels.

J Biol Chem 2010 Oct 3;285(40):30531-8. Epub 2010 Aug 3.

Department of Plant Sciences, George S Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Scorpion β-toxin 4 from Centruroides suffusus suffusus (Css4) enhances the activation of voltage-gated sodium channels through a voltage sensor trapping mechanism by binding the activated state of the voltage sensor in domain II and stabilizing it in its activated conformation. Here we describe the antagonist and partial agonist properties of a mutant derivative of this toxin. Substitution of seven different amino acid residues for Glu(15) in Css4 yielded toxin derivatives with both increased and decreased affinities for binding to neurotoxin receptor site 4 on sodium channels. Css4(E15R) is unique among this set of mutants in that it retained nearly normal binding affinity but lost its functional activity for modification of sodium channel gating in our standard electrophysiological assay for voltage sensor trapping. More detailed analysis of the functional effects of Css4(E15R) revealed weak voltage sensor trapping activity, which was very rapidly reversed upon repolarization and therefore was not observed in our standard assay of toxin effects. This partial agonist activity of Css4(E15R) is observed clearly in voltage sensor trapping assays with brief (5 ms) repolarization between the conditioning prepulse and the test pulse. The effects of Css4(E15R) are fit well by a three-step model of toxin action involving concentration-dependent toxin binding to its receptor site followed by depolarization-dependent activation of the voltage sensor and subsequent voltage sensor trapping. Because it is a partial agonist with much reduced efficacy for voltage sensor trapping, Css4(E15R) can antagonize the effects of wild-type Css4 on sodium channel activation and can prevent paralysis by Css4 when injected into mice. Our results define the first partial agonist and antagonist activities for scorpion toxins and open new avenues of research toward better understanding of the structure-function relationships for toxin action on sodium channel voltage sensors and toward potential toxin-based therapeutics to prevent lethality from scorpion envenomation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M110.150888DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2945547PMC
October 2010

Molecular requirements for recognition of brain voltage-gated sodium channels by scorpion alpha-toxins.

J Biol Chem 2009 Jul 9;284(31):20684-91. Epub 2009 Jun 9.

Department of Plant Sciences, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv 69978, Tel Aviv, Israel.

The scorpion alpha-toxin Lqh2 (from Leiurus quinquestriatus hebraeus) is active at various mammalian voltage-gated sodium channels (Na(v)s) and is inactive at insect Na(v)s. To resolve the molecular basis of this preference we used the following strategy: 1) Lqh2 was expressed in recombinant form and key residues important for activity at the rat brain channel rNa(v)1.2a were identified by mutagenesis. These residues form a bipartite functional surface made of a conserved "core domain" (residues of the loops connecting the secondary structure elements of the molecule core), and a variable "NC domain" (five-residue turn and the C-tail) as was reported for other scorpion alpha-toxins. 2) The functional role of the two domains was validated by their stepwise construction on the similar scaffold of the anti-insect toxin LqhalphaIT. Analysis of the activity of the intermediate constructs highlighted the critical role of Phe(15) of the core domain in toxin potency at rNa(v)1.2a, and has suggested that the shape of the NC-domain is important for toxin efficacy. 3) Based on these findings and by comparison with other scorpion alpha-toxins we were able to eliminate the activity of Lqh2 at rNa(v)1.4 (skeletal muscle), hNa(v)1.5 (cardiac), and rNa(v)1.6 channels, with no hindrance of its activity at Na(v)1.1-1.3. These results suggest that by employing a similar approach the design of further target-selective sodium channel modifiers is imminent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M109.021303DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2742833PMC
July 2009

Miniaturization of scorpion beta-toxins uncovers a putative ancestral surface of interaction with voltage-gated sodium channels.

J Biol Chem 2008 May 13;283(22):15169-76. Epub 2008 Mar 13.

Department of Plant Sciences, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv, Tel-Aviv, Israel.

The bioactive surface of scorpion beta-toxins that interact with receptor site-4 at voltage-gated sodium channels is constituted of residues of the conserved betaalphabetabeta core and the C-tail. In an attempt to evaluate the extent by which residues of the toxin core contribute to bioactivity, the anti-insect and anti-mammalian beta-toxins Bj-xtrIT and Css4 were truncated at their N and C termini, resulting in miniature peptides composed essentially of the core secondary structure motives. The truncated beta-toxins (DeltaDeltaBj-xtrIT and DeltaDeltaCss4) were non-toxic and did not compete with the parental toxins on binding at receptor site-4. Surprisingly, DeltaDeltaBj-xtrIT and DeltaDeltaCss4 were capable of modulating in an allosteric manner the binding and effects of site-3 scorpion alpha-toxins in a way reminiscent of that of brevetoxins, which bind at receptor site-5. While reducing the binding and effect of the scorpion alpha-toxin Lqh2 at mammalian sodium channels, they enhanced the binding and effect of LqhalphaIT at insect sodium channels. Co-application of DeltaDeltaBj-xtrIT or DeltaDeltaCss4 with brevetoxin abolished the brevetoxin effect, although they did not compete in binding. These results denote a novel surface at DeltaDeltaBj-xtrIT and DeltaDeltaCss4 capable of interaction with sodium channels at a site other than sites 3, 4, or 5, which prior to the truncation was masked by the bioactive surface that interacts with receptor site-4. The disclosure of this hidden surface at both beta-toxins may be viewed as an exercise in "reverse evolution," providing a clue as to their evolution from a smaller ancestor of similar scaffold.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M801229200DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2397468PMC
May 2008

Mammalian skeletal muscle voltage-gated sodium channels are affected by scorpion depressant "insect-selective" toxins when preconditioned.

Mol Pharmacol 2007 Nov 24;72(5):1220-7. Epub 2007 Aug 24.

Department of Plant Sciences, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv 69978, Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Among scorpion beta- and alpha-toxins that modify the activation and inactivation of voltage-gated sodium channels (Na(v)s), depressant beta-toxins have traditionally been classified as anti-insect selective on the basis of toxicity assays and lack of binding and effect on mammalian Na(v)s. Here we show that the depressant beta-toxins LqhIT2 and Lqh-dprIT3 from Leiurus quinquestriatus hebraeus (Lqh) bind with nanomolar affinity to receptor site 4 on rat skeletal muscle Na(v)s, but their effect on the gating properties can be viewed only after channel preconditioning, such as that rendered by a long depolarizing prepulse. This observation explains the lack of toxicity when depressant toxins are injected in mice. However, when the muscle channel rNa(v)1.4, expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes, was modulated by the site 3 alpha-toxin LqhalphaIT, LqhIT2 was capable of inducing a negative shift in the voltage-dependence of activation after a short prepulse, as was shown for other beta-toxins. These unprecedented results suggest that depressant toxins may have a toxic impact on mammals in the context of the complete scorpion venom. To assess whether LqhIT2 and Lqh-dprIT3 interact with the insect and rat muscle channels in a similar manner, we examined the role of Glu24, a conserved "hot spot" at the bioactive surface of beta-toxins. Whereas substitutions E24A/N abolished the activity of both LqhIT2 and Lqh-dprIT3 at insect Na(v)s, they increased the affinity of the toxins for rat skeletal muscle channels. This result implies that depressant toxins interact differently with the two channel types and that substitution of Glu24 is essential for converting toxin selectivity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/mol.107.039057DOI Listing
November 2007

Design of a specific activator for skeletal muscle sodium channels uncovers channel architecture.

J Biol Chem 2007 Oct 8;282(40):29424-30. Epub 2007 Aug 8.

Department of Plant Sciences, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv, 69978 Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Gating modifiers of voltage-gated sodium channels (Na(v)s) are important tools in neuroscience research and may have therapeutic potential in medicinal disorders. Analysis of the bioactive surface of the scorpion beta-toxin Css4 (from Centruroides suffusus suffusus) toward rat brain (rNa(v)1.2a) and skeletal muscle (rNa(v)1.4) channels using binding studies revealed commonality but also substantial differences, which were used to design a specific activator, Css4(F14A/E15A/E28R), of rNa(v)1.4 expressed in Xenopus oocytes. The therapeutic potential of Css4(F14A/E15A/E28R) was tested using an rNa(v)1.4 mutant carrying the same mutation present in the genetic disorder hypokalemic periodic paralysis. The activator restored the impaired gating properties of the mutant channel expressed in oocytes, thus offering a tentative new means for treatment of neuromuscular disorders with reduced muscle excitability. Mutant double cycle analysis employing toxin residues involved in the construction of Css4(F14A/E15A/E28R) and residues whose equivalents in the rat brain channel rNa(v)1.2a were shown to affect Css4 binding revealed significant coupling energy (>1.3 kcal/mol) between F14A and E592A at Domain-2/voltage sensor segments 1-2 (D2/S1-S2), R27Q and E1251N at D3/SS2-S6, and E28R with both E650A at D2/S3-S4 and E1251N at D3/SS2-S6. These results show that despite the differences in interactions with the rat brain and skeletal muscle Na(v)s, Css4 recognizes a similar region on both channel subtypes. Moreover, our data indicate that the S3-S4 loop of the voltage sensor module in Domain-2 is in very close proximity to the SS2-S6 segment of the pore module of Domain-3 in rNa(v)1.4. This is the first experimental evidence that the inter-domain spatial organization of mammalian Na(v)s resembles that of voltage-gated potassium channels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M704651200DOI Listing
October 2007

The unique pharmacology of the scorpion alpha-like toxin Lqh3 is associated with its flexible C-tail.

FEBS J 2007 Apr 9;274(8):1918-31. Epub 2007 Mar 9.

Department of Plant Sciences, George S.Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel.

The affinity of scorpion alpha-toxins for various voltage-gated sodium channels (Na(v)s) differs considerably despite similar structures and activities. It has been proposed that key bioactive residues of the five-residue-turn (residues 8-12) and the C-tail form the NC domain, whose topology is dictated by a cis or trans peptide-bond conformation between residues 9 and 10, which correlates with the potency on insect or mammalian Na(v)s. We examined this hypothesis using Lqh3, an alpha-like toxin from Leiurus quinquestriatus hebraeus that is highly active in insects and mammalian brain. Lqh3 exhibits slower association kinetics to Na(v)s compared with other alpha-toxins and its binding to insect Na(v)s is pH-dependent. Mutagenesis of Lqh3 revealed a bi-partite bioactive surface, composed of the Core and NC domains, as found in other alpha-toxins. Yet, substitutions at the five-residue turn and stabilization of the 9-10 bond in the cis conformation did not affect the activity. However, substitution of hydrogen-bond donors/acceptors at the NC domain reduced the pH-dependency of toxin binding, while retaining its high potency at Drosophila Na(v)s expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Based on these results and the conformational flexibility and rearrangement of intramolecular hydrogen-bonds at the NC domain, evident from the known solution structure, we suggest that acidic pH or specific mutations at the NC domain favor toxin conformations with high affinity for the receptor by stabilizing the bound toxin-receptor complex. Moreover, the C-tail flexibility may account for the slower association rates and suggests a novel mechanism of dynamic conformer selection during toxin binding, enabling alpha-like toxins to affect a broad range of Na(v)s.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1742-4658.2007.05737.xDOI Listing
April 2007

The differential preference of scorpion alpha-toxins for insect or mammalian sodium channels: implications for improved insect control.

Toxicon 2007 Mar 28;49(4):452-72. Epub 2006 Nov 28.

Department of Plant Sciences, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv 69978, Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Receptor site-3 on voltage-gated sodium channels is targeted by a variety of structurally distinct toxins from scorpions, sea anemones, and spiders whose typical action is the inhibition of sodium current inactivation. This site interacts allosterically with other topologically distinct receptors that bind alkaloids, lipophilic polyether toxins, pyrethroids, and site-4 scorpion toxins. These features suggest that design of insecticides with specificity for site-3 might be rewarding due to the positive cooperativity with other toxins or insecticidal agents. Yet, despite the central role of scorpion alpha-toxins in envenomation and their vast use in the study of channel functions, molecular details on site-3 are scarce. Scorpion alpha-toxins vary greatly in preference for sodium channels of insects and mammals, and some of them are highly active on insects. This implies that despite its commonality, receptor site-3 varies on insect vs. mammalian channels, and that elucidation of these differences could potentially be exploited for manipulation of toxin preference. This review provides current perspectives on (i) the classification of scorpion alpha-toxins, (ii) their mode of interaction with sodium channels and pharmacological divergence, (iii) molecular details on their bioactive surfaces and differences associated with preference for channel subtypes, as well as (iv) a summary of the present knowledge about elements involved in constituting receptor site-3. These details, combined with the variations in allosteric interactions between site-3 and the other receptor sites on insect and mammalian sodium channels, may be useful in new strategies of insect control and future design of anti-insect selective ligands.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.toxicon.2006.11.016DOI Listing
March 2007

The insecticidal potential of scorpion beta-toxins.

Toxicon 2007 Mar 28;49(4):473-89. Epub 2006 Nov 28.

Department of Plant Sciences, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv 69978, Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Voltage-gated sodium channels are a major target for toxins and insecticides due to their central role in excitability, but due to the conservation of these channels in Animalia most insecticides do not distinguish between those of insects and mammals, thereby imposing risks to humans and livestock. Evidently, as long as modern agriculture depends heavily on the use of insecticides there is a great need for new substances capable of differentiating between sodium channel subtypes. Such substances exist in venomous animals, but ways for their exploitation have not yet been developed due to problems associated with manufacturing, degradation, and delivery to the target channels. Engineering of plants for expression of anti-insect toxins or use of natural vectors that express toxins near their target site (e.g. baculoviruses) are still problematic and raise public concern. In this problematic reality a rational approach might be to learn from nature how to design highly selective anti-insect compounds preferably in the form of peptidomimetics. This is a complex task that requires the elucidation of the face of interaction between insect-selective toxins and their sodium channel receptor sites. This review delineates current progress in: (i) elucidation of the bioactive surfaces of scorpion beta-toxins, especially the excitatory and depressant groups, which show high preference for insects and bind insect sodium channels with high affinity; (ii) studies of the mode of interaction of scorpion beta-toxins with receptor site-4 on voltage-gated sodium channels; and (iii) clarification of channel elements that constitute receptor site-4. This information may be useful in future attempts to mimic the bioactive surface of the toxins for the design of anti-insect selective peptidomimetics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.toxicon.2006.11.015DOI Listing
March 2007

Direct evidence that receptor site-4 of sodium channel gating modifiers is not dipped in the phospholipid bilayer of neuronal membranes.

J Biol Chem 2006 Jul 23;281(30):20673-20679. Epub 2006 May 23.

Department of Plant Sciences, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv 69978, Tel-Aviv, Israel. Electronic address:

In a recent note to Nature, R. MacKinnon has raised the possibility that potassium channel gating modifiers are able to partition in the phospholipid bilayer of neuronal membranes and that by increasing their partial concentration adjacent to their receptor, they affect channel function with apparent high affinity (Lee and MacKinnon (2004) Nature 430, 232-235). This suggestion was adopted by Smith et al. (Smith, J. J., Alphy, S., Seibert, A. L., and Blumenthal, K. M. (2005) J. Biol. Chem. 280, 11127-11133), who analyzed the partitioning of sodium channel modifiers in liposomes. They found that certain modifiers were able to partition in these artificial membranes, and on this basis, they have extrapolated that scorpion beta-toxins interact with their channel receptor in a similar mechanism as that proposed by MacKinnon. Since this hypothesis has actually raised a new conception, we examined it in binding assays using a number of pharmacologically distinct scorpion beta-toxins and insect and mammalian neuronal membrane preparations, as well as by analyzing the rate by which the toxin effect on gating of Drosophila DmNa(v)1 and rat brain rNa(v)1.2a develops. We show that in general, scorpion beta-toxins do not partition in neuronal membranes and that in the case in which a depressant beta-toxin partitions in insect neuronal membranes, this partitioning is unrelated to its interaction with the receptor site and the effect on the gating properties of the sodium channel. These results negate the hypothesis that the high affinity of beta-toxins for sodium channels is gained by their ability to partition in the phospholipid bilayer and clearly indicate that the receptor site for scorpion beta-toxins is accessible to the extracellular solvent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M603212200DOI Listing
July 2006

Genetic polymorphism and expression of a highly potent scorpion depressant toxin enable refinement of the effects on insect Na channels and illuminate the key role of Asn-58.

Biochemistry 2005 Jun;44(25):9179-87

Department of Plant Sciences, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv 69978, Tel-Aviv, Israel.

We isolated from the venom of the scorpion Leiurus quinquestriatus hebraeus an extremely active anti-insect selective depressant toxin, Lqh-dprIT(3). Cloning of Lqh-dprIT(3) revealed a gene family encoding eight putative polypeptide variants (a-h) differing at three positions (37A/G, 50D/E, and 58N/D). All eight toxin variants were expressed in a functional form, and their toxicity to blowfly larvae, binding affinity for cockroach neuronal membranes, and CD spectra were compared. This analysis links Asn-58, which appears in variants a-d, to a toxin conformation associated with high binding affinity for insect sodium channels. Variants e-h, bearing Asp-58, exhibit a different conformation and are less potent. The importance of Asn-58, which is conserved in other depressant toxins, was further validated by construction and analysis of an N58D mutant of the well-characterized depressant toxin, LqhIT(2). Current and voltage clamp assays using the cockroach giant axon have shown that despite the vast difference in potency, the two types of Lqh-dprIT(3) variants (represented by Lqh-dprIT(3)-a and Lqh-dprIT(3)-e) are capable of blocking the action potentials (manifested as flaccid paralysis in blowfly larvae) and shift the voltage dependence of activation to more negative values, which typify the action of beta-toxins. Moreover, the stronger and faster shift in voltage dependence of activation and lack of tail currents observed in the presence of Lqh-dprIT(3)-a suggest an extremely efficient trapping of the voltage sensor compared to that of Lqh-dprIT(3)-e. The current clamp assays revealed that repetitive firing of the axon, which is reflected in contraction paralysis of blowfly larvae, can be obtained with either the less potent Lqh-dprIT(3)-e or the highly potent Lqh-dprIT(3)-a at more negative membrane potentials. Thus, the contraction symptoms in flies are likely to be dominated by the resting potential of neuronal membranes. This study clarifies the electrophysiological basis of the complex symptoms induced by scorpion depressant toxins in insects, and highlights for the first time molecular features involved in their activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bi050235tDOI Listing
June 2005

Common features in the functional surface of scorpion beta-toxins and elements that confer specificity for insect and mammalian voltage-gated sodium channels.

J Biol Chem 2005 Feb 29;280(6):5045-53. Epub 2004 Nov 29.

Department of Plant Sciences, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv 69978, Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Scorpion beta-toxins that affect the activation of mammalian voltage-gated sodium channels (Navs) have been studied extensively, but little is known about their functional surface and mode of interaction with the channel receptor. To enable a molecular approach to this question, we have established a successful expression system for the anti-mammalian scorpion beta-toxin, Css4, whose effects on rat brain Navs have been well characterized. A recombinant toxin, His-Css4, was obtained when fused to a His tag and a thrombin cleavage site and had similar binding affinity for and effect on Na currents of rat brain sodium channels as those of the native toxin isolated from the scorpion venom. Molecular dissection of His-Css4 elucidated a functional surface of 1245 A2 composed of the following: 1) a cluster of residues associated with the alpha-helix, which includes a putative "hot spot" (this cluster is conserved among scorpion beta-toxins and contains their "pharmacophore"); 2) a hydrophobic cluster associated mainly with the beta2 and beta3 strands, which is likely to confer the specificity for mammalian Navs; 3) a single bioactive residue (Trp-58) in the C-tail; and 4) a negatively charged residue (Glu-15) involved in voltage sensor trapping as inferred from our ability to uncouple toxin binding from activity upon its substitution. This study expands our understanding about the mode of action of scorpion beta-toxins and illuminates differences in the functional surfaces that may dictate their specificities for mammalian versus insect sodium channels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M408427200DOI Listing
February 2005

A delta-conotoxin from Conus ermineus venom inhibits inactivation in vertebrate neuronal Na+ channels but not in skeletal and cardiac muscles.

J Biol Chem 2004 Feb 13;279(6):4680-5. Epub 2003 Nov 13.

Laboratoire de Neurobiologie Cellulaire et Moléculaire, UPR 9040, CNRS, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette cedex, France.

We have isolated delta-conotoxin EVIA (delta-EVIA), a conopeptide in Conus ermineus venom that contains 32 amino acid residues and a six-cysteine/four-loop framework similar to that of previously described omega-, delta-, microO-, and kappa-conotoxins. However, it displays low sequence homology with the latter conotoxins. delta-EVIA inhibits Na+ channel inactivation with unique tissue specificity upon binding to receptor site 6 of neuronal Na+ channels. Using amphibian myelinated axons and spinal neurons, we showed that delta-EVIA increases the duration of action potentials by inhibiting Na+ channel inactivation. delta-EVIA considerably enhanced nerve terminal excitability and synaptic efficacy at the frog neuromuscular junction but did not affect directly elicited muscle action potentials. The neuronally selective property of delta-EVIA was confirmed by showing that a fluorescent derivative of delta-EVIA labeled motor nerve endings but not skeletal muscle fibers. In a heterologous expression system, delta-EVIA inhibited inactivation of rat neuronal Na+ channel subtypes (rNaV1.2a, rNaV1.3, and rNaV1.6) but did not affect rat skeletal (rNaV1.4) and human cardiac muscle (hNaV1.5) Na+ channel subtypes. delta-EVIA, in the range of concentrations used, is the first conotoxin found to affect neuronal Na+ channels without acting on Na+ channels of skeletal and cardiac muscle. Therefore, it is a unique tool for discriminating voltage-sensitive Na+ channel subtypes and for studying the distribution and modulation mechanisms of neuronal Na+ channels, and it may serve as a lead to design new drugs adapted to treat diseases characterized by defective nerve conduction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M309576200DOI Listing
February 2004

An 'Old World' scorpion beta-toxin that recognizes both insect and mammalian sodium channels.

Eur J Biochem 2003 Jun;270(12):2663-70

Department of Plant Sciences, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Israel.

Scorpion toxins that affect sodium channel (NaCh) gating in excitable cells are divided into alpha- and beta-classes. Whereas alpha-toxins have been found in scorpions throughout the world, anti-mammalian beta-toxins have been assigned, thus far, to 'New World' scorpions while anti-insect selective beta-toxins (depressant and excitatory) have been described only in the 'Old World'. This distribution suggested that diversification of beta-toxins into distinct pharmacological groups occurred after the separation of the continents, 150 million years ago. We have characterized a unique toxin, Lqhbeta1, from the 'Old World' scorpion, Leiurus quinquestriatus hebraeus, that resembles in sequence and activity both 'New World'beta-toxins as well as 'Old World' depressant toxins. Lqhbeta1 competes, with apparent high affinity, with anti-insect and anti-mammalian beta-toxins for binding to cockroach and rat brain synaptosomes, respectively. Surprisingly, Lqhbeta1 also competes with an anti-mammalian alpha-toxin on binding to rat brain NaChs. Analysis of Lqhbeta1 effects on rat brain and Drosophila Para NaChs expressed in Xenopus oocytes revealed a shift in the voltage-dependence of activation to more negative membrane potentials and a reduction in sodium peak currents in a manner typifying beta-toxin activity. Moreover, Lqhbeta1 resembles beta-toxins by having a weak effect on cardiac NaChs and a marked effect on rat brain and skeletal muscle NaChs. These multifaceted features suggest that Lqhbeta1 may represent an ancestral beta-toxin group in 'Old World' scorpions that gave rise, after the separation of the continents, to depressant toxins in 'Old World' scorpions and to various beta-toxin subgroups in 'New World' scorpions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1432-1033.2003.03643.xDOI Listing
June 2003

Domain 2 of Drosophila para voltage-gated sodium channel confers insect properties to a rat brain channel.

J Neurosci 2002 Jun;22(11):4364-71

Department of Physiology, Sackler School of Medicine and Plant Sciences, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, 69978 Ramat-Aviv, Israel.

The ability of the excitatory anti-insect-selective scorpion toxin AahIT (Androctonus australis hector) to exclusively bind to and modify the insect voltage-gated sodium channel (NaCh) makes it a unique tool to unravel the structural differences between mammalian and insect channels, a prerequisite in the design of selective pesticides. To localize the insect NaCh domain that binds AahIT, we constructed a chimeric channel composed of rat brain NaCh alpha-subunit (rBIIA) in which domain-2 (D2) was replaced by that of Drosophila Para (paralytic temperature-sensitive). The choice of D2 was dictated by the similarity between AahIT and scorpion beta-toxins pertaining to both their binding and action and the essential role of D2 in the beta-toxins binding site on mammalian channels. Expression of the chimera rBIIA-ParaD2 in Xenopus oocytes gave rise to voltage-gated and TTX-sensitive NaChs that, like rBIIA, were sensitive to scorpion alpha-toxins and regulated by the auxiliary subunit beta(1) but not by the insect TipE. Notably, like Drosophila Para/TipE, but unlike rBIIA/beta(1), the chimera gained sensitivity to AahIT, indicating that the phyletic selectivity of AahIT is conferred by the insect NaCh D2. Furthermore, the chimera acquired additional insect channel properties; its activation was shifted to more positive potentials, and the effect of alpha-toxins was potentiated. Our results highlight the key role of D2 in the selective recognition of anti-insect excitatory toxins and in the modulation of NaCh gating. We also provide a methodological approach to the study of ion channels that are difficult to express in model expression systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/20026426DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6758777PMC
June 2002