Isolation of δ-missulenatoxin-Mb1a, the major vertebrate-active spider δ-toxin from the venom of Missulena bradleyi (Actinopodidae)

Publication Type:
Journal Article
FEBS Letters, 2003, 554 (1-2), pp. 211 - 218
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The present study describes the isolation and pharmacological characterisation of the neurotoxin δ-missulenatoxin-Mb1a (δ-MSTX-Mb1a) from the venom of the male Australian eastern mouse spider, Missulena bradleyi. This toxin was isolated using reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography and was subsequently shown to cause an increase in resting tension, muscle fasciculation and a decrease in indirect twitch tension in a chick biventer cervicis nerve-muscle bioassay. Interestingly, these effects were neutralised by antivenom raised against the venom of the Sydney funnel-web spider Atrax robustus. Subsequent whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology on rat dorsal root ganglion neurones revealed that δ-MSTX-Mb1a caused a reduction in peak tetrodotoxin (TTX)-sensitive sodium current, a slowing of sodium current inactivation and a hyperpolarising shift in the voltage at half-maximal activation. In addition, δ-MSTX-Mb1a failed to affect TTX-resistant sodium currents. Subsequent Edman degradation revealed a 42-residue peptide with unusual N- and C-terminal cysteines and a cysteine triplet (Cys14-16). This toxin was highly homologous to a family of δ-atracotoxins (δ-ACTX) from Australian funnel-web spiders including conservation of all eight cysteine residues. In addition to actions on sodium channel gating and kinetics to δ-ACTX, δ-MSTX-Mb1a caused significant insect toxicity at doses up to 2000 pmol/g. δ-MSTX-Mb1a therefore provides evidence of a highly conserved spider δ-toxin from a phylogenetically distinct spider family that has not undergone significant modification. © 2003 Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies.
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