A purifiedPalythoavenom fraction delays sodium current inactivation in sympathetic neurons

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Palythoa caribaeorum is a zoanthid (Phylum Cnidaria, class Anthozoa) commonly found in shallow waters of coral reefs along the Mexican Atlantic coast. Little is known on the pharmacological and biochemical properties of the venom components of this animal group. Toxin peptides from other cnidarian venoms, like sea anemones, target sodium and potassium voltage-gated channels. In this study, we tested the activity of a low molecular weight fraction from the venom of P. caribaeorum on voltage-gated sodium channels of the superior cervical ganglion (SCG) neurons of the rat. Our results showed that this fraction delays tetrodotoxin (TTX)-sensitive sodium channel inactivation indicated by a reversible 2-fold increase of the current at the decay. A peptide responsible for this activity was isolated and characterized. Its sequence showed that it does not resemble any previously reported toxin. Together, these results evidence the presence of neurotoxins in P. caribaeorum that act on sodium channels.

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