Inhibition of neuronal calcium channels by a novel peptide spider toxin, DW13.3

Mol Pharmacol. 1998 Aug;54(2):407-18. doi: 10.1124/mol.54.2.407.


Peptide toxins have proved to be useful agents, both in discriminating between different components of native calcium channel currents and in the molecular isolation and designation of their cloned channel counterparts. Here, we describe the isolation and characterization of the biochemical and physiological properties of a novel 74-amino acid peptide toxin (DW13.3) extracted from the venom of the spider Filistata hibernalis. The subtype specificity of DW13.3 was investigated using calcium channel currents recorded from two separate expression systems and several different cultured mammalian cell preparations. Overall, DW13.3 potently blocked all native calcium channel currents studied, with the exception of T-type currents recorded from GH3 cells. Examination of transiently expressed calcium channels in oocytes showed that DW13.3 had the highest affinity for alpha1A, followed by alpha1B > alpha1C > alpha1E. The affinity of DW13.3 for alpha1B N-type currents varied by 10-fold between expressed channels and native currents. Although block occurred in a similar 1:1 manner for all subtypes, DW13.3 produced a partial block of both alpha1A currents and P-type currents in cerebellar Purkinje cells. Selective occlusion of the P/Q-type channel ligand omega-conotoxin MVIIC (but not omega-agatoxin IVA) from its binding site in Purkinje neurons suggests that DW13.3 binds to a site close to the pore of the channel. The inhibition of different subtypes of calcium channels by DW13.3 reflects a common "macro" binding site present on all calcium channels except T-type.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / chemistry
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / isolation & purification
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / pharmacology*
  • Calcium Channels / drug effects*
  • Calcium Channels / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Oocytes / drug effects
  • Purkinje Fibers / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Spider Venoms / chemistry
  • Spider Venoms / isolation & purification*
  • Spider Venoms / pharmacology*
  • Spiders
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / cytology
  • Xenopus laevis


  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Calcium Channels
  • DW13.3 toxin
  • Spider Venoms