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Papers of the Week

Papers: 27 Aug 2022 - 2 Sep 2022

Pharmacology/Drug Development

2022 Sep 01

ACS Chem Biol

Discovery and Structural and Functional Characterization of a Novel A-Superfamily Conotoxin Targeting α9α10 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor.


Huang Q, Chu X, Zhang H, Yu S, Zhang L, Zhang X, Yu R, Guo C, Dai Q
ACS Chem Biol. 2022 Sep 01.
PMID: 36048451.


Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are pentameric ligand-gated ion channels widely distributed in the central peripheral nervous system and muscles which participate in rapid synaptic transmission. The α9α10 nAChR is an acetylcholine receptor subtype and is involved in chronic pain. In the present study, a new A-superfamily conotoxin Bt14.12 cloned from was found to selectively inhibit α9α10 nAChRs with an IC of 62.3 nM. Unlike α-conotoxins and other A-superfamily conotoxins, Bt14.12 contains a four Cys (C-C-C-C) framework with a unique disulfide bond connection "C1-C4, C2-C3". The structure-activity studies of Bt14.12 demonstrate that all amino acid residues contribute to its potency. Interestingly, mutation experiments show that the deletion of Asp or the addition of three Arg residues at the N-terminus of Bt14.12 significantly enhances its inhibitory activity (IC is 21.9 nM or 12.7 nM, respectively) by 2- or 4-fold compared to the wild-type Bt14.12. The NMR structure of Bt14.12 shows that it contains α-helix- and β-turn-like elements, and further computational modelings of the interaction between Bt14.12 and the α9α10 nAChR demonstrate that Bt14.12 possesses a distinctive mode of action and displays a different structure-activity relationship from known α9α10 nAChR targeting α-conotoxins. Our findings provide a novel conotoxin that potently targets α9α10 nAChRs and a new motif for designing potent inhibitors against α9α10 nAChRs.