A unified nomenclature for short-chain peptides isolated from scorpion venoms: alpha-KTx molecular subfamilies

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 1999 Nov;20(11):444-7. doi: 10.1016/s0165-6147(99)01398-x.


Peptidyl toxins are used extensively to determine the pharmacology of ion channels. Four families of peptides have been purified from scorpion venom. In this article, the classification of K+-channel-blocking peptides belonging to family 2 peptides and comprising 30-40 amino acids linked by three or four disulfide bridges, will be discussed. Evidence is provided for the existence of 12 molecular subfamilies, named alpha-KTx1-12, containing 49 different peptides. Because of the pharmacological divergence of these peptides, the principle of classification was based on a primary sequence alignment, combined with maximum parsimony and Neighbour-Joining analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptides / classification*
  • Potassium Channel Blockers*
  • Potassium Channels / drug effects
  • Scorpion Venoms / chemistry*
  • Terminology as Topic*


  • Peptides
  • Potassium Channel Blockers
  • Potassium Channels
  • Scorpion Venoms
  • alpha-KTx4.3 toxin