ɑO-Conotoxin GeXIVA isomers modulate N-type calcium (CaV 2.2) channels and inwardly-rectifying potassium (GIRK) channels via GABAB receptor activation

J Neurochem. 2022 Jan;160(2):154-171. doi: 10.1111/jnc.15535. Epub 2021 Nov 15.


αO-Conotoxin GeXIVA is a 28 amino acid peptide derived from the venom of the marine snail Conus generalis. The presence of four cysteine residues in the structure of GeXIVA allows it to have three different disulfide isomers, that is, the globular, ribbon or bead isomer. All three isomers are active at α9α10 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, with the bead isomer, GeXIVA[1,2], being the most potent and exhibiting analgesic activity in animal models of neuropathic pain. The original report of GeXIVA activity failed to observe any effect of the isomers on high voltage-activated (HVA) calcium channel currents in rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. In this study, we report, for the first time, the activity of globular GeXIVA[1,3] at G protein-coupled GABAB receptors (GABAB R) inhibiting HVA N-type calcium (Cav2.2) channels and reducing membrane excitability in mouse DRG neurons. The inhibition of HVA Ba2+ currents and neuroexcitability by GeXIVA[1,3] was partially reversed by the selective GABAB R antagonist CGP 55845. In transfected HEK293T cells co-expressing human GABAB R1 and R2 subunits and Cav2.2 channels, both GeXIVA[1,3] and GeXIVA[1,4] inhibited depolarization-activated Ba2+ currents mediated by Cav2.2 channels, whereas GeXIVA[1,2] had no effect. The effects of three cyclized GeXIVA[1,4] ribbon isomers were also tested, with cGeXIVA GAG being the most potent at human GABAB R-coupled Cav2.2 channels. Interestingly, globular GeXIVA[1,3] also reversibly potentiated inwardly-rectifying K+ currents mediated by human GIRK1/2 channels co-expressed with GABAB R in HEK293T cells. This study highlights GABAB R as a potentially important receptor target for the activity of αO-conotoxin GeXIVA to mediate analgesia.

Keywords: G protein-coupled GABAB receptor; GIRK channel; calcium channel; conotoxin; dorsal root ganglion; neuroexcitability; patch clamp.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / chemistry
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Calcium Channels, N-Type / drug effects*
  • Calcium Channels, N-Type / metabolism
  • Conotoxins / chemistry
  • Conotoxins / pharmacology*
  • G Protein-Coupled Inwardly-Rectifying Potassium Channels / drug effects*
  • G Protein-Coupled Inwardly-Rectifying Potassium Channels / metabolism
  • Ganglia, Spinal / drug effects
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Receptors, GABA-B / drug effects*
  • Receptors, GABA-B / metabolism


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Calcium Channels, N-Type
  • Conotoxins
  • G Protein-Coupled Inwardly-Rectifying Potassium Channels
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Receptors, GABA-B
  • alpha-conotoxin, Conus generalis