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Peptide ion channel toxins from the bootlace worm, the longest animal on Earth
Jacobsson, E.; Andersson, H.S.; Strand, M.; Peigneur, S.; Eriksson, C.; Loden, H.; Shariatgorji, M.; Andren, P.E.; Lebbe, E.K.M.; Rosengren, K.J.; Tytgat, J.; Goransson, U. (2018). Peptide ion channel toxins from the bootlace worm, the longest animal on Earth. NPG Scientific Reports 8: 10.
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322; e-ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Jacobsson, E.
  • Andersson, H.S.
  • Strand, M.
  • Peigneur, S., more
  • Eriksson, C.
  • Loden, H.
  • Shariatgorji, M.
  • Andren, P.E.
  • Lebbe, E.K.M., more
  • Rosengren, K.J.
  • Tytgat, J., more
  • Goransson, U.

    Polypeptides from animal venoms have found important uses as drugs, pharmacological tools, and within biotechnological and agricultural applications. We here report a novel family of cystine knot peptides from nemertean worms, with potent activity on voltage-gated sodium channels. These toxins, named the α-nemertides, were discovered in the epidermal mucus of Lineus longissimus, the ‘bootlace worm’ known as the longest animal on earth. The most abundant peptide, the 31-residue long α-1, was isolated, synthesized, and its 3D NMR structure determined. Transcriptome analysis including 17 species revealed eight α-nemertides, mainly distributed in the genus Lineus. α-1 caused paralysis and death in green crabs (Carcinus maenas) at 1 µg/kg (~300 pmol/kg). It showed profound effect on invertebrate voltage-gated sodium channels (e.g. Blattella germanica Nav1) at low nanomolar concentrations. Strong selectivity for insect over human sodium channels indicates that α-nemertides can be promising candidates for development of bioinsecticidal agents.

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