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Structure-function relationships in scorpion neurotoxins. Identification of the supperreactive lysine residue in toxin I of Androctonus australis Hector.

Biochimica et Biophysica Acta

Alkylation, Structure-Activity Relationship, toxicity, Scorpion Venoms, Lysine, Iodoacetates, Amino Acid Sequence

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      In a previous article (Habersetzer-Rochat, C. and Sampieri, R. (1976) Biochemistry 15, 2254--2261) it was demonstrated that the toxin I of the North African Scorpion Androctonus australis Hector was inactivated after reaction with iodoacetate; the toxicity loss in mice was correlated with the carboxymethylation of one superreactive residue. In the present work, alkylation of toxin I was performed with iodo[14C]-acetate. Hence, it was possible, after reduction, S-methylation and chymotryptic hydrolysis of this toxin, to isolate the peptide containing the labelled lysine residue. By automatic Edman degradation, this residue was identified as being the penultimate lysine at position 56 in the primary sequence. Comparison of three primary structures of scorpion neurotoxins and comparison in different kinds of activity seem to indicate that this lysine residue is mainly important for toxicity in mice.

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