The neurotoxic cone snail peptide μ-GIIIA specifically blocks skeletal muscle voltage-gated sodium (NaV1.4) channels. The related conopeptides μ-PIIIA and μ-SIIIA, however, exhibit a wider activity spectrum by also inhibiting the neuronal NaV channels NaV1.2 and NaV1.7. Here we demonstrate that those μ-conopeptides with a broader target range also antagonize select subtypes of voltage-gated potassium channels of the KV1 family: μ-PIIIA and μ-SIIIA inhibited KV1.1 and KV1.6 channels in the nanomolar range, while being inactive on subtypes KV1.2-1.5 and KV2.1. Construction and electrophysiological evaluation of chimeras between KV1.5 and KV1.6 revealed that these toxins block KV channels involving their pore regions; the subtype specificity is determined in part by the sequence close to the selectivity filter but predominantly by the so-called turret domain, i.e. the extracellular loop connecting the pore with transmembrane segment S5. Conopeptides μ-SIIIA and μ-PIIIA, thus, are not specific for NaV channels, and the known structure of some KV channel subtypes may provide access to structural insight into the molecular interaction between μ-conopeptides and their target channels.
Keywords: Channel block; Cone snails; Conotoxin; Neurotoxin; Pain; Patch clamp.
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