Natural mutations change the affinity of μ-theraphotoxin-Hhn2a to voltage-gated sodium channels

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Abstract

μ-Theraphotoxin-Hhn2a (HNTX-III) isolated from the venom of the spider Ornithoctonus hainana is a selective antagonist of neuronal tetrodotoxin-sensitive (TTX-S) voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs). Intriguingly, previous transcriptomic study revealed HNTX-III family consists of more than 15 precursors, in which the 20th and 24th residues of the mature sequences are variable. Try20 and Ser24 of HNTX-III are mutated to His20 and Asn24 of other members, respectively. In addition, the alkaline residue His26 of the potent VGSC inhibitor HNTX-III is substituted by acidic residue Asp of the weak VGSC inhibitor HNTX-I. Therefore, four mutants of HNTX-III, HNTX-III-Y20H, -S24N, -H26D and -Y20H/24N, were synthesized to examine the effects of these natural mutations on the inhibitory activity of HNTX-III. They were subjected to an electrophysiological screening on five VGSC subtypes (Nav1.3–1.5, Nav1.7 and Nav1.8) expressed on HEK293 cells by whole-cell patch clamp. Like HNTX-III, all mutants only displayed inhibitory activity on Nav1.3 and Nav1.7 among the five subtypes, but the inhibitory potency was much lower than that of HNTX-III. Regarding Nav1.7, the IC50 values of HNTX-III-Y20H, -S24N, -H26D and -Y20H/S24N were increased by approximately 62-, 8.4-, 49- and 19.5-folds compared with that of HNTX-III, respectively. Similar data were obtained for Nav1.3. Our results provide new insights into the activity-related residues of HNTX-III at genic level. Furthermore, the reduced potency of the four mutants probably reflects natural selection might favor and reserve the most potent bioactivity of HNTX-III which is one of the most abundant fractions of the venom.

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