Hormone-like peptides in the venoms of marine cone snails

Samuel D Robinson, Qing Li, Pradip K. Bandyopadhyay, Joanna Gajewiak, Mark Yandell, Anthony T. Papenfuss, Anthony Purcell, Raymond S Norton, Helena Safavi-Hemami

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21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The venoms of cone snails (genus Conus) are remarkably complex, consisting of hundreds of typically short, disulfide-rich peptides termed conotoxins. These peptides have diverse pharmacological targets, with injection of venom eliciting a range of physiological responses, including sedation, paralysis and sensory overload. Most conotoxins target the prey's nervous system but evidence of venom peptides targeting neuroendocrine processes is emerging. Examples include vasopressin, RFamide neuropeptides and recently also insulin. To investigate the diversity of hormone/neuropeptide-like molecules in the venoms of cone snails we systematically mined the venom gland transcriptomes of several cone snail species and examined secreted venom peptides in dissected and injected venom of the Australian cone snail Conus victoriae. Using this approach we identified several novel hormone/neuropeptide-like toxins, including peptides similar to the bee brain hormone prohormone-4, the mollusc ganglia neuropeptide elevenin, and thyrostimulin, a member of the glycoprotein hormone family, and confirmed the presence of insulin. We confirmed that at least two of these peptides are not only expressed in the venom gland but also form part of the injected venom cocktail, unambiguously demonstrating their role in envenomation. Our findings suggest that hormone/neuropeptide-like toxins are a diverse and integral part of the complex envenomation strategy of Conus. Exploration of this group of venom components offers an exciting new avenue for the discovery of novel pharmacological tools and drug candidates, complementary to conotoxins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
Volume244
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Conotoxin
  • Elevenin
  • Hormone
  • Neuropeptide
  • Prohormone-4
  • Venom

Cite this

Robinson, S. D., Li, Q., Bandyopadhyay, P. K., Gajewiak, J., Yandell, M., Papenfuss, A. T., Purcell, A., Norton, R. S., & Safavi-Hemami, H. (2017). Hormone-like peptides in the venoms of marine cone snails. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 244, 11-18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2015.07.012