Structure of the scorpion toxin BmBKTtx1 solved from single wavelength anomalous scattering of sulfur

J Struct Biol. 2004 Mar;145(3):289-94. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2003.11.012.


This report describes the crystal structure of the K(+) channel-blocking toxin, BmBKTx1, isolated recently from the venom of the scorpion Buthus martensi Karsch. This is only the second structure of the short-chain K(+) channel-blocking toxin from scorpion solved by means of X-ray crystallography. Additionally, reductive dimethylation of folded BmBKTx1 employed to induce its crystallization and solution of the structure based on the anomalous signal from the sulfur atoms make this example quite unique. The monomer of BmBKTx1 is formed by 31 amino acid residues, including 6 cysteines connected in 3 disulfide bridges. Crystals of this toxin belong to the space group P2(1) with two molecules present in the asymmetric unit. The unit cell parameters are a = 21.40 A, b=39.70 A, c=29.37 A, and beta-94.13 grades. Based on the high-quality dataset (anomalous signal) collected to the resolution 1.72A using the conventional X-radiation generator (lambda Cu, K alpha = 1.5478 A), the positions of sulfur atoms contributed by 12 cysteine residues have been identified, and subsequent improvement of the experimental phases have allowed structure solution. The final model was refined to the crystallographic R-factor of 0.166. The methyl groups on several lysine residues could be easily modeled into the electron density.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acids / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Cysteine / chemistry
  • Disulfides
  • Electrons
  • Insect Proteins
  • Lysine / chemistry
  • Methylation
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neurotoxins / chemistry*
  • Potassium Channels / metabolism
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Folding
  • Scattering, Radiation
  • Scorpion Venoms / chemistry
  • Scorpions / chemistry*
  • Static Electricity
  • Sulfur / chemistry*
  • X-Rays


  • Amino Acids
  • Disulfides
  • Insect Proteins
  • Neurotoxins
  • Potassium Channels
  • Scorpion Venoms
  • bukatoxin
  • Sulfur
  • Lysine
  • Cysteine