We have isolated a novel family of insect-selective neurotoxins that appear to be the most potent blockers of insect voltage-gated calcium channels reported to date. These toxins display exceptional phylogenetic specificity, with at least a 10,000-fold preference for insect versus vertebrate calcium channels. The structure of one of the toxins reveals a highly structured, disulfide-rich core and a structurally disordered C-terminal extension that is essential for channel blocking activity. Weak structural/functional homology with ω-agatoxin-IVA/B, the prototypic inhibitor of vertebrate P-type calcium channels, suggests that these two toxin families might share a similar mechanism of action despite their vastly different phylogenetic specificities.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of Biological Chemistry|
|Publication status||Published - 26 Oct 2001|