Distinct disulfide isomers of u-conotoxins KIIIA and KIIIB block voltage-gated sodium channels

Keith K Khoo, Kallol Gupta, Brad Reed Green, Min-Min Zhang, Maren Watkins, Baldomero M Olivera, Padmanabhan Balaram, Doju Yoshikami, Grzegorz Bulaj, Raymond Stanley Norton

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62 Citations (Scopus)


In the preparation of synthetic conotoxins containing multiple disulfide bonds, oxidative folding can produce numerous permutations of disulfide bond connectivities. Establishing the native disulfide connectivities thus presents a significant challenge when the venom-derived peptide is not available, as is increasingly the case when conotoxins are identified from cDNA sequences. Here, we investigate the disulfide connectivity of mu-conotoxin KIIIA, which was predicted originally to have a [C1-C9,C2-C15,C4-C16] disulfide pattern based on homology with closely related mu-conotoxins. The two major isomers of synthetic mu-KIIIA formed during oxidative folding were purified and their disulfide connectivities mapped by direct mass spectrometric collision-induced dissociation fragmentation of the disulfide-bonded polypeptides. Our results show that the major oxidative folding product adopts a [C1-C15,C2-C9,C4-C16] disulfide connectivity, while the minor product adopts a [C1-C16,C2-C9,C4-C15] connectivity. Both of these peptides were potent blockers of Na(v)1.2 (K-d values of 5 and 230 nM, respectively). The solution structure for mu-KIIIA based on nuclear magnetic resonance data was recalculated with the [C1-C15,C2-C9,C4-C16] disulfide pattern; its structure was very similar to the mu-KIIIA structure calculated with the incorrect [C1-C9,C2-C15,C4-C16] disulfide pattern, with an alpha-helix spanning residues 7-12. In addition, the major folding isomers of mu-KIIIB, an N-terminally extended isoform of mu-KIIIA, identified from its cDNA sequence, were isolated. These folding products had the same disulfide connectivities as mu-KIIIA, and both blocked Na(v)1.2 (K-d values of 470 and 26 nM, respectively). Our results establish that the preferred disulfide pattern of synthetic mu-KIIIA and mu-KIIIB folded in vitro is 1-5/2-4/3-6 but that other disulfide isomers are also potent sodium channel blockers. These findings raise questions about the disulfide pattern(s) of mu-KIIIA in the venom of Conus kinoshitai; indeed, the presence of multiple disulfide isomers in the venom could provide a means of further expanding the snail s repertoire of active peptides.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9826 - 9835
Number of pages10
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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