Peptide ion channel toxins from the bootlace worm, the longest animal on Earth.

Jacobsson E, Andersson HS, Strand M, Peigneur S, Eriksson C, Lodén H, Shariatgorji M, Andrén PE, Lebbe EKM, Rosengren KJ, Tytgat J, Göransson U

Sci Rep 8 (1) 4596 [2018-03-22; online 2018-03-22]

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 Na v1) 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.

National Resource for Mass Spectrometry Imaging [Service]

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PubMed 29567943

DOI 10.1038/s41598-018-22305-w

Crossref 10.1038/s41598-018-22305-w

pii: 10.1038/s41598-018-22305-w
pmc: PMC5864730