α-Elapitoxin-Aa2a, a long-chain snake α-neurotoxin with potent actions on muscle (α1)2βγδ nicotinic receptors, lacks the classical high affinity for neuronal α7 nicotinic receptors

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Biochemical Pharmacology, 2011, 81 (2), pp. 314 - 325
Issue Date:
2011-01-15
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In contrast to all classical long-chain α-neurotoxins possessing the critical fifth disulfide bond, α-elapitoxin-Aa2a (α-EPTX-Aa2a), a novel long-chain α-neurotoxin from the common death adder Acanthophis antarcticus, lacks affinity for neuronal α7-type nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) α-EPTX-Aa2a (8850 Da; 0.1-1 μM) caused a concentration-dependent inhibition of indirect twitches, and blocked contractures to cholinergic agonists in the isolated chick biventer cervicis nerve-muscle preparation, consistent with a postsynaptic curaremimetic mode of action. α-EPTX-Aa2a (1-10 nM) produced a potent pseudo-irreversible antagonism of chick muscle nAChRs, with an estimated pA2value of 8.311 ± 0.031, which was not reversed by monovalent death adder antivenom. This is only 2.5-fold less potent than the prototypical long-chain α-neurotoxin, α-bungarotoxin. In contrast, α-EPTX-Aa2a produced complete, but weak, inhibition of125I-α-bungarotoxin binding to rat hippocampal α7 nAChRs (pKI= 3.670), despite high sequence homology and similar mass to a wide range of long-chain α-neurotoxins. The mostly likely cause for the loss of α7 binding affinity is a leucine substitution, in loop II of α-EPTX-Aa2a, for the highly conserved Arg33in long-chain α-neurotoxins. Arg33has been shown to be critical for both neuronal and muscle activity. Despite this substitution, α-EPTX-Aa2a retains high affinity for muscle (α1)2βγδ nAChRs. This is probably as a result of an Arg29residue, previously shown to be critical for muscle (α1)2βγδ nAChR affinity, and highly conserved across all short-chain, but not long-chain, α-neurotoxins. α-EPTX-Aa2a therefore represents a novel atypical long-chain α-neurotoxin that includes a fifth disulfide but exhibits differential affinity for nAChR subtypes. Copyright © 2010 Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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