Discovery and characterization of a family of insecticidal neurotoxins with a rare vicinal disulfide bridge

Xiu Hong Wang, Mark Connor, Ross Smith, Mark W. Maciejewski, Merlin E H Howden, Graham M. Nicholson, Macdonald J. Christie, Glenn F. King*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

157 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We have isolated a family of insect-selective neurotoxins from the venom of the Australian funnel-web spider that appear to be good candidates for biopesticide engineering. These peptides, which we have named the Janus-faced atracotoxins (J-ACTXs), each contain 36 or 37 residues, with four disulfide bridges, and they show no homology to any sequences in the protein/DNA databases. The three-dimensional structure of one of these toxins reveals an extremely rare vicinal disulfide bridge that we demonstrate to be critical for insecticidal activity. We propose that J-ACTX comprises an ancestral protein fold that we refer to as the disulfide-directed β-hairpin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-513
Number of pages9
JournalNature Structural Biology
Volume7
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes

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