Sea anemones: Quiet achievers in the field of peptide toxins

Peter J. Prentis, Ana Pavasovic, Raymond S. Norton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Sea anemones have been understudied as a source of peptide and protein toxins, with relatively few examined as a source of new pharmacological tools or therapeutic leads. This is surprising given the success of some anemone peptides that have been tested, such as the potassium channel blocker from Stichodactyla helianthus known as ShK. An analogue of this peptide, ShK-186, which is now known as dalazatide, has successfully completed Phase 1 clinical trials and is about to enter Phase 2 trials for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. One of the impediments to the exploitation of sea anemone toxins in the pharmaceutical industry has been the difficulty associated with their high-throughput discovery and isolation. Recent developments in multiple ‘omic’ technologies, including genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics, coupled with advanced bioinformatics, have opened the way for large-scale discovery of novel sea anemone toxins from a range of species. Many of these toxins will be useful pharmacological tools and some will hopefully prove to be valuable therapeutic leads.

Original languageEnglish
Article number36
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2018


  • Autoimmune disease
  • Evolution
  • Genomics
  • Peptide
  • Potassium channel
  • Proteomics
  • Sea anemone
  • ShK
  • Transcriptomics

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