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Novel conorfamides from Conus austini venom modulate both nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and acid-sensing ion channels.

Jin A.H., Cristofori-Armstrong B., Rash L.D., Roman-Gonzalez S.A., Espinosa R.A., Lewis R.J., Alewood P.F., Vetter I.

Conorfamides are a poorly studied family of cone snail venom peptides with broad biological activities, including inhibition of glutamate receptors, acid-sensing ion channels, and voltage-gated potassium channels. The aim of this study was to characterize the pharmacological activity of two novel linear conorfamides (conorfamide_As1a and conorfamide_As2a) and their non-amidated counterparts (conopeptide_As1b and conopeptide_As2b) that were isolated from the venom of the Mexican cone snail Conus austini. Although As1a, As2a, As1b and As2b were identified by activity-guided fractionation using a high-throughput fluorescence imaging plate reader (FLIPR) assay assessing α7 nAChR activity, sequence determination revealed activity associated with four linear peptides of the conorfamide rather than the anticipated α-conotoxin family. Pharmacological testing revealed that the amidated peptide variants altered desensitization of acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) 1a and 3, and the native lysine to arginine mutation differentiating As1a and As1b from As2a and As2b introduced ASIC1a peak current potentiation. Surprisingly, these conorfamides also inhibited α7 and muscle-type nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) at nanomolar concentrations. This is the first report of conorfamides with dual activity, with the nAChR activity being the most potent molecular target of any conorfamide discovered to date.

Biochem. Pharmacol. 164:342-348(2019) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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