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      Molecular characterization of a new excitatory insect neurotoxin with an analgesic effect on mice from the scorpion Buthus martensi Karsch.

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          Besides the neurotoxins active on mammals, a new excitatory insect selective toxin with a mice analgesic activity was found and purified from the venom of the scorpion Buthus martensi Karsch (BmK) (Ji, Y.H., Mansuelle, P., Terakawa, S., Kopeyan, C., Yanaihara, N., Hsu, K., Rochat, H., 1996. Toxicon 34, 987; Luo, M.J., Xiong, Y.M., Wang, M., Wang, D.C., Chi, C.W., 1997. Toxicon 35, 723.). This peptide (designated as BmK IT-AP) is composed of 72 amino acid residues. Its primary structure was determined by automated Edman degradation of the N-terminal part of the reduced and S-carboxamidemethylated protein and its lysylendopeptidase degraded fragments. Based on the determined sequence, the gene specific primers were designed and synthesized for 3' and 5' RACE (rapid amplification of cDNA ends). Their partial cDNA fragments obtained by 3' and 5' RACEwere cloned and sequenced and the full length cDNA sequence of BmK IT-AP was then completed by overlapping their two partial cDNA sequences. It encodes a precursor of 90 amino acid residues: a signal peptide of 18 residues and a mature peptide of 72 residues which are consistent with the determined protein sequence of BmK IT-AP. The genomic DNA of the peptide was also amplified by PCR from the scorpion genomic DNA and sequenced, which is a first report on the genomic structure of a scorpion toxin specific for insects. Its sequence revealed an intron of 590 bp inserted in the end part of the signal peptide. The peptide caused a fast excitatory contraction paralysis on house fly larvae. Furthermore, the peptide also showed an obvious analgesic effect on mice, as assayed by using a twisting test model. This effect of BmK IT-AP well characterized at molecular level is first reported among the known scorpion insect neurotoxins.

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          Author and article information

          [1 ] State Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry, Academia Sinica, People's Republic of China.
          Toxicon : official journal of the International Society on Toxinology
          Aug 1999
          : 37
          : 8
          10400300 S0041010198002530


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