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Eur J Biochem 2003 Jun 01;27012:2663-70. doi: 10.1046/j.1432-1033.2003.03643.x.
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An 'Old World' scorpion beta-toxin that recognizes both insect and mammalian sodium channels.

Gordon D , Ilan N , Zilberberg N , Gilles N , Urbach D , Cohen L , Karbat I , Froy O , Gaathon A , Kallen RG , Benveniste M , Gurevitz M .

Scorpion toxins that affect sodium channel (NaCh) gating in excitable cells are divided into alpha- and beta-classes. Whereas alpha-toxins have been found in scorpions throughout the world, anti-mammalian beta-toxins have been assigned, thus far, to 'New World' scorpions while anti-insect selective beta-toxins (depressant and excitatory) have been described only in the 'Old World'. This distribution suggested that diversification of beta-toxins into distinct pharmacological groups occurred after the separation of the continents, 150 million years ago. We have characterized a unique toxin, Lqhbeta1, from the 'Old World' scorpion, Leiurus quinquestriatus hebraeus, that resembles in sequence and activity both 'New World'beta-toxins as well as 'Old World' depressant toxins. Lqhbeta1 competes, with apparent high affinity, with anti-insect and anti-mammalian beta-toxins for binding to cockroach and rat brain synaptosomes, respectively. Surprisingly, Lqhbeta1 also competes with an anti-mammalian alpha-toxin on binding to rat brain NaChs. Analysis of Lqhbeta1 effects on rat brain and Drosophila Para NaChs expressed in Xenopus oocytes revealed a shift in the voltage-dependence of activation to more negative membrane potentials and a reduction in sodium peak currents in a manner typifying beta-toxin activity. Moreover, Lqhbeta1 resembles beta-toxins by having a weak effect on cardiac NaChs and a marked effect on rat brain and skeletal muscle NaChs. These multifaceted features suggest that Lqhbeta1 may represent an ancestral beta-toxin group in 'Old World' scorpions that gave rise, after the separation of the continents, to depressant toxins in 'Old World' scorpions and to various beta-toxin subgroups in 'New World' scorpions.

PubMed ID: 12787033
Article link: Eur J Biochem