Effect of Conformational Diversity on the Bioactivity of µ-Conotoxin PIIIA Disulfide Isomers

Ajay Abisheck Paul George, Pascal Heimer, Enrico Leipold, Thomas Schmitz, Desiree Kaufmann, Daniel Tietze, Stefan H Heinemann, Diana Imhof


© 2019 by the authors. Cyclic µ-conotoxin PIIIA, a potent blocker of skeletal muscle voltage-gated sodium channel NaV1.4, is a 22mer peptide stabilized by three disulfide bonds. Combining electrophysiological measurements with molecular docking and dynamic simulations based on NMR solution structures, we investigated the 15 possible 3-disulfide-bonded isomers of µ-PIIIA to relate their blocking activity at NaV1.4 to their disulfide connectivity. In addition, three µ-PIIIA mutants derived from the native disulfide isomer, in which one of the disulfide bonds was omitted (C4-16, C5-C21, C11-C22), were generated using a targeted protecting group strategy and tested using the aforementioned methods. The 3-disulfide-bonded isomers had a range of different conformational stabilities, with highly unstructured, flexible conformations with low or no channel-blocking activity, while more constrained molecules preserved 30% to 50% of the native isomer’s activity. This emphasizes the importance and direct link between correct fold and function. The elimination of one disulfide bond resulted in a significant loss of blocking activity at NaV1.4, highlighting the importance of the 3-disulfide-bonded architecture for µ-PIIIA. µ-PIIIA bioactivity is governed by a subtle interplay between an optimally folded structure resulting from a specific disulfide connectivity and the electrostatic potential of the conformational ensemble.
Original languageEnglish
Article number390
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 02.07.2019

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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