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Mol Pharmacol 2007 Nov 01;725:1220-7. doi: 10.4161/cc.6.16.4553.
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Mammalian skeletal muscle voltage-gated sodium channels are affected by scorpion depressant "insect-selective" toxins when preconditioned.

Cohen L , Troub Y , Turkov M , Gilles N , Ilan N , Benveniste M , Gordon D , Gurevitz M .

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.

PubMed ID: 17720763
Article link: Mol Pharmacol
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