Novel paradigms on scorpion toxins that affects the activating mechanism of sodium channels

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Scorpion toxins classified as β-class are reviewed using a new paradigm. Four distinct sub types are recognized: “classical”, “Tsγ-like”, “excitatory” and “depressant” β-scorpion toxins. Recent experimental data have made possible to identify the interacting interfaces of the Na+ channel-receptor site 4 with some of these toxins. The voltage-sensor trapping mechanism proposed for the action of these toxic peptides is analyzed in the context of what causes a modification of the activating mechanism of Na+ channels. A cartoon model is presented with the purpose of summarizing the most current knowledge on the field. Finally, the recent advances on the knowledge of the specific interactions of β-toxins and different sub types of Na+ channels are also reviewed.

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