Gating modifier toxins isolated from spider venom: Modulation of voltage-gated sodium channels and the role of lipid membranes.
ABSTRACT: Gating modifier toxins (GMTs) are venom-derived peptides isolated from spiders and other venomous creatures and modulate activity of disease-relevant voltage-gated ion channels and are therefore being pursued as therapeutic leads. The amphipathic surface profile of GMTs has prompted the proposal that some GMTs simultaneously bind to the cell membrane and voltage-gated ion channels in a trimolecular complex. Here, we examined whether there is a relationship among spider GMT amphipathicity, membrane binding, and potency or selectivity for voltage-gated sodium (NaV) channels. We used NMR spectroscopy and in silico calculations to examine the structures and physicochemical properties of a panel of nine GMTs and deployed surface plasmon resonance to measure GMT affinity for lipids putatively found in proximity to NaV channels. Electrophysiology was used to quantify GMT activity on NaV1.7, an ion channel linked to chronic pain. Selectivity of the peptides was further examined against a panel of NaV channel subtypes. We show that GMTs adsorb to the outer leaflet of anionic lipid bilayers through electrostatic interactions. We did not observe a direct correlation between GMT amphipathicity and affinity for lipid bilayers. Furthermore, GMT-lipid bilayer interactions did not correlate with potency or selectivity for NaVs. We therefore propose that increased membrane binding is unlikely to improve subtype selectivity and that the conserved amphipathic GMT surface profile is an adaptation that facilitates simultaneous modulation of multiple NaVs.
Project description:Voltage-gated, sodium ion-selective channels (NaV) generate electrical signals contributing to the upstroke of the action potential in animals. NaVs are also found in bacteria and are members of a larger family of tetrameric voltage-gated channels that includes CaVs, KVs, and NaVs. Prokaryotic NaVs likely emerged from a homotetrameric Ca2+-selective voltage-gated progenerator, and later developed Na+ selectivity independently. The NaV signaling complex in eukaryotes contains auxiliary proteins, termed beta (?) subunits, which are potent modulators of the expression profiles and voltage-gated properties of the NaV pore, but it is unknown whether they can functionally interact with prokaryotic NaV channels. Herein, we report that the eukaryotic NaV?1-subunit isoform interacts with and enhances the surface expression as well as the voltage-dependent gating properties of the bacterial NaV, NaChBac in Xenopus oocytes. A phylogenetic analysis of the ?-subunit gene family proteins confirms that these proteins appeared roughly 420 million years ago and that they have no clear homologues in bacterial phyla. However, a comparison between eukaryotic and bacterial NaV structures highlighted the presence of a conserved fold, which could support interactions with the ?-subunit. Our electrophysiological, biochemical, structural, and bioinformatics results suggests that the prerequisites for ?-subunit regulation are an evolutionarily stable and intrinsic property of some voltage-gated channels.
Project description:Voltage-gated sodium channels (NaVs) are a key determinant of neuronal signalling. Neurotoxins from diverse taxa that selectively activate or inhibit NaV channels have helped unravel the role of NaV channels in diseases, including chronic pain. Spider venoms contain the most diverse array of inhibitor cystine knot (ICK) toxins (knottins). This review provides an overview on how spider knottins modulate NaV channels and describes the structural features and molecular determinants that influence their affinity and subtype selectivity. Genetic and functional evidence support a major involvement of NaV subtypes in various chronic pain conditions. The exquisite inhibitory properties of spider knottins over key NaV subtypes make them the best lead molecules for the development of novel analgesics to treat chronic pain.
Project description:Voltage-gated sodium channels (NaVs) are central elements of cellular excitation. Notwithstanding advances from recent bacterial NaV (BacNaV) structures, key questions about gating and ion selectivity remain. Here, we present a closed conformation of NaVAe1p, a pore-only BacNaV derived from NaVAe1, a BacNaV from the arsenite oxidizer Alkalilimnicola ehrlichei found in Mono Lake, California, that provides insight into both fundamental properties. The structure reveals a pore domain in which the pore-lining S6 helix connects to a helical cytoplasmic tail. Electrophysiological studies of full-length BacNaVs show that two elements defined by the NaVAe1p structure, an S6 activation gate position and the cytoplasmic tail "neck", are central to BacNaV gating. The structure also reveals the selectivity filter ion entry site, termed the "outer ion" site. Comparison with mammalian voltage-gated calcium channel (CaV) selectivity filters, together with functional studies, shows that this site forms a previously unknown determinant of CaV high-affinity calcium binding. Our findings underscore commonalities between BacNaVs and eukaryotic voltage-gated channels and provide a framework for understanding gating and ion permeation in this superfamily.
Project description:Voltage-gated sodium channels (Navs) play crucial roles in excitable cells. Although vertebrate Nav function has been extensively studied, the detailed structural basis for voltage-dependent gating mechanisms remain obscure. We have assessed the structural changes of the Nav voltage sensor domain using lanthanide-based resonance energy transfer (LRET) between the rat skeletal muscle voltage-gated sodium channel (Nav1.4) and fluorescently labeled Nav1.4-targeting toxins. We generated donor constructs with genetically encoded lanthanide-binding tags (LBTs) inserted at the extracellular end of the S4 segment of each domain (with a single LBT per construct). Three different Bodipy-labeled, Nav1.4-targeting toxins were synthesized as acceptors: ?-scorpion toxin (Ts1)-Bodipy, KIIIA-Bodipy, and GIIIA-Bodipy analogs. Functional Nav-LBT channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes were voltage-clamped, and distinct LRET signals were obtained in the resting and slow inactivated states. Intramolecular distances computed from the LRET signals define a geometrical map of Nav1.4 with the bound toxins, and reveal voltage-dependent structural changes related to channel gating.
Project description:The venom of the spider Heteropoda venatoria produced lethal effect to cockroaches as reported in our previous study, and could be a resource for naturally-occurring insecticides. The present study characterized a novel cockroach voltage-gated sodium channels (NaVs) antagonist, ?-sparatoxin-Hv2 (?-SPRTX-Hv2 for short), from this venom. ?-SPRTX-Hv2 is composed of 37 amino acids and contains six conserved cysteines. We synthesized the toxin by using the chemical synthesis method. The toxin was lethal to cockroaches when intraperitoneally injected, with a LD50 value of 2.8 nmol/g of body weight. Electrophysiological data showed that the toxin potently blocked NaVs in cockroach dorsal unpaired median (DUM) neurons, with an IC50 of 833.7 ± 132.2 nM, but it hardly affected the DUM voltage-gated potassium channels (KVs) and the DUM high-voltage-activated calcium channels (HVA CaVs). The toxin also did not affect NaVs, HVA CaVs, and Kvs in rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons, as well as NaV subtypes NaV1.3?1.5, NaV1.7, and NaV1.8. No envenomation symptoms were observed when ?-SPRTX-Hv2 was intraperitoneally injected into mouse at the dose of 7.0 ?g/g. In summary, ?-SPRTX-Hv2 is a novel insecticidal toxin from H. venatoria venom. It might exhibit its effect by blocking the insect NaVs and is a candidate for developing bioinsecticide.
Project description:Voltage-gated sodium channels (Nav) produce sodium currents that underlie the initiation and propagation of action potentials in nerve and muscle cells. Fibroblast growth factor homologous factors (FHFs) bind to the intracellular C-terminal region of the Nav alpha subunit to modulate fast inactivation of the channel. In this study we solved the crystal structure of a 149-residue-long fragment of human FHF2A which unveils the structural features of the homology core domain of all 10 human FHF isoforms. Through analysis of crystal packing contacts and site-directed mutagenesis experiments we identified a conserved surface on the FHF core domain that mediates channel binding in vitro and in vivo. Mutations at this channel binding surface impaired the ability of FHFs to co-localize with Navs at the axon initial segment of hippocampal neurons. The mutations also disabled FHF modulation of voltage-dependent fast inactivation of sodium channels in neuronal cells. Based on our data, we propose that FHFs constitute auxiliary subunits for Navs.
Project description:Slow inactivation in voltage-gated sodium channels (NaVs) directly regulates the excitability of neurons, cardiac myocytes, and skeletal muscles. Although NaV slow inactivation appears to be conserved across phylogenies-from bacteria to humans-the structural basis for this mechanism remains unclear. Here, using site-directed labeling and EPR spectroscopic measurements of membrane-reconstituted prokaryotic NaV homologues, we characterize the conformational dynamics of the selectivity filter region in the conductive and slow-inactivated states to determine the molecular events underlying NaV gating. Our findings reveal profound conformational flexibility of the pore in the slow-inactivated state. We find that the P1 and P2 pore helices undergo opposing movements with respect to the pore axis. These movements result in changes in volume of both the central and intersubunit cavities, which form pathways for lipophilic drugs that modulate slow inactivation. Our findings therefore provide novel insight into the molecular basis for state-dependent effects of lipophilic drugs on channel function.
Project description:Improper function of voltage-gated sodium channels (NaVs), obligatory membrane proteins for bioelectrical signaling, has been linked to a number of human pathologies. Small-molecule agents that target NaVs hold considerable promise for treatment of chronic disease. Absent a comprehensive understanding of channel structure, the challenge of designing selective agents to modulate the activity of NaV subtypes is formidable. We have endeavored to gain insight into the 3D architecture of the outer vestibule of NaV through a systematic structure-activity relationship (SAR) study involving the bis-guanidinium toxin saxitoxin (STX), modified saxitoxins, and protein mutagenesis. Mutant cycle analysis has led to the identification of an acetylated variant of STX with unprecedented, low-nanomolar affinity for human NaV1.7 (hNaV1.7), a channel subtype that has been implicated in pain perception. A revised toxin-receptor binding model is presented, which is consistent with the large body of SAR data that we have obtained. This new model is expected to facilitate subsequent efforts to design isoform-selective NaV inhibitors.
Project description:Eukaryotic voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channels contribute to the rising phase of action potentials and served as an early muse for biophysicists laying the foundation for our current understanding of electrical signaling. Given their central role in electrical excitability, it is not surprising that (a) inherited mutations in genes encoding for Nav channels and their accessory subunits have been linked to excitability disorders in brain, muscle, and heart; and (b) Nav channels are targeted by various drugs and naturally occurring toxins. Although the overall architecture and behavior of these channels are likely to be similar to the more well-studied voltage-gated potassium channels, eukaryotic Nav channels lack structural and functional symmetry, a notable difference that has implications for gating and selectivity. Activation of voltage-sensing modules of the first three domains in Nav channels is sufficient to open the channel pore, whereas movement of the domain IV voltage sensor is correlated with inactivation. Also, structure-function studies of eukaryotic Nav channels show that a set of amino acids in the selectivity filter, referred to as DEKA locus, is essential for Na(+) selectivity. Structures of prokaryotic Nav channels have also shed new light on mechanisms of drug block. These structures exhibit lateral fenestrations that are large enough to allow drugs or lipophilic molecules to gain access into the inner vestibule, suggesting that this might be the passage for drug entry into a closed channel. In this Review, we will synthesize our current understanding of Nav channel gating mechanisms, ion selectivity and permeation, and modulation by therapeutics and toxins in light of the new structures of the prokaryotic Nav channels that, for the time being, serve as structural models of their eukaryotic counterparts.
Project description:Voltage-gated sodium channels (NaVs) and calcium channels (CaVs) are involved in electrical signaling, contraction, secretion, synaptic transmission, and other physiological processes activated in response to depolarization. Despite their physiological importance, the structures of these closely related proteins have remained elusive because of their size and complexity. Bacterial NaVs have structures analogous to a single domain of eukaryotic NaVs and CaVs and are their likely evolutionary ancestor. Here we review recent work that has led to new understanding of NaVs and CaVs through high-resolution structural studies of their prokaryotic ancestors. New insights into their voltage-dependent activation and inactivation, ion conductance, and ion selectivity provide realistic structural models for the function of these complex membrane proteins at the atomic level.