JZTX-IV, a unique acidic sodium channel toxin isolated from the spiderChilobrachys jingzhao

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Neurotoxins are important tools to explore the structure and function relationship of different ion channels. From the venom of Chinese spider Chilobrachys jingzhao, a novel toxin, Jingzhaotoxin-IV (JZTX-IV), is isolated and characterized. It consists of 34 amino acid residues including six acidic residues clustered with negative charge (pI = 4.29). The full-length cDNA of JZTX-IV encodes an 86-amino acid precursor containing a signal peptide of 21 residues, a mature peptide of 34 residues and an intervening sequence of 29 residues with terminal Lys–Gly as the signal of amidation. Under whole-cell patch clamp conditions, JZTX-IV inhibits current and slows the inactivation of sodium channels by shifting the voltage dependence of activation to more depolarized potentials on DRG neurons, therefore, differs from the classic site 4 toxins that shift voltage dependence of activation in the opposite direction. In addition, JZTX-IV shows a slowing inactivation of sodium channel with a hyperpolarizing shift of the steady-state inactivation on acutely isolated rat cardiac cell and DRG neurons, differs from the classic site 3 toxins that do not affect the steady-state of inactivation. At high concentration, JZTX-IV has no significant effect on tetrodotoxin-resistant (TTX-R) sodium channels on rat DRG neurons and tetrodotoxin-sensitive (TTX-S) sodium channels on hippocampal neurons. Our data establish that, contrary to known toxins, JZTX-IV neither binds to the previously characterized classic site 4, nor site 3 by modifying channel gating, thus making it a novel probe of channel gating in sodium channels with potential to shed new light on this process.

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