UniProt release 7.7
Published May 16, 2006
In order to provide the scientific community with a summary of the current knowledge on animal protein toxins, the Swiss-Prot group initiated the Tox-Prot annotation project. The aim of this program is the annotation of all toxin proteins produced by venomous animals, such as snakes, scorpions, spiders, jellyfish, insects, cone snails, sea anemones, lizards, some fish, and platypus.
Toxins are small (usually less than 100 amino acids) and extremely stable. They undergo numerous post-translational modifications and they have very specific targets. The 3D-structure of about 15% of the known toxins has been unravelled, which provides clues to the understanding of their specificity. Many toxins, such as those synthetized by cone snails (conotoxins), can be used as drugs and some are presently tested in clinical trials.
At the level of annotation and ultimately for the sequence retrieval by our users, the lack of a systematic nomenclature represents a real problem. This issue is currently being addressed by the scientific community and an official nomenclature has been developed for potassium channel scorpion toxins: Tytgat et al. (1999) and Rodriguez de la Vega and Possani (2004). With the help of Dr. Ricardo C. Rodriguez de la Vega and Prof. Lourival D. Possani, we have created a document which provides links between the official nomenclature and the associated UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot entries.
Finally, we would like to draw your attention on the fact that many toxin sequences are not submitted to any databases and have to be manually retrieved by Swiss-Prot annotators. This step slows down the annotation process itself and may be error-prone. We thus would like to encourage researchers to share their data by submitting it to public databases such as EMBL/GenBank/DDBJ for nucleic acid sequences, and UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot for protein sequences. Experimental data can also be directly submitted by e-mail. For any comments or suggestions concerning the Tox-Prot annotation project, don't hesitate to contact us.
Nomenclature of scorpion potassium channel toxins
The document scorpktx.txt lists the potassium-channel-specific scorpion toxins known to date, according to the nomenclature system first described in 1999 by Tytgat et al. and extended in de la Vega et al.. This document contains, for each individual UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot scorpion potassium channel toxin, the UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot accession number, the UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot entry name, the systematic name, together with other scorpion potassium channel toxin names.