ProTx-I and ProTx-II: Gating modifiers of voltage-gated sodium channels

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The tarantula venom peptides ProTx-I and ProTx-II inhibit voltage-gated sodium channels by shifting their voltage dependence of activation to a more positive potential, thus acting by a mechanism similar to that of potassium channel gating modifiers such as hanatoxin and VSTX1. ProTx-I and ProTx-II inhibit all sodium channel (Nav1) subtypes tested with similar potency and represent the first potent peptidyl inhibitors of TTX-resistant sodium channels. Like gating modifiers of potassium channels, ProTx-I and ProTx-II conform to the inhibitory cystine knot motif, and ProTx-II was demonstrated to bind to sodium channels in the closed state. Both toxins have been synthesized chemically, and ProTx-II, produced by recombinant means, has been used to map the interaction surface of the peptide with the Nav1.5 channel. In comparison, β-scorpion toxins activate sodium channels by shifting the voltage dependence of activation to more negative potentials, and together these peptides represent valuable tools for exploring the gating mechanism of sodium channels.

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