Differences in the binding sites of two site-3 sodium channel toxins

G. Richard Benzinger, Chester L. Drum, Li Qiong Chen, Roland G. Kallen, Dorothy A. Hanck

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33 Scopus citations


Site-3 toxins from scorpion and sea anemone bind to Na channels and selectively inhibit current decay. Anthopleurins A and B (ApA and ApB, respectively), toxins found in the venom of the sea anemone Anthopleura xanthogrammica, bind to closed states of mammalian skeletal and cardiac Na channels with differing affinities which arise from differences in first- order toxin/channel dissociation rate constants, k(off). Using chimera comprising domain interchanges between channel isoforms, we examined the structural basis of this differential affinity. Toxin/channel association rates, k(on), were similar for both toxins and both parental channels. Domain 4 determined k(off) for ApA, while ApB dissociated from all tested chimera in a cardiac-like manner. To probe this surprising difference between two such closely related toxins, we examined the interaction of chimeric channels with a form of ApB in which the two nonconserved basic residues, Arg-12 and Lys- 49, were convened to the corresponding neutral amino acids from ApA. In the chimera comprising domain 1 from the cardiac muscle isoform and domains 2-4 from the skeletal muscle isoform, toxin dissociated at a rate intermediate between those of the parental channels. We conclude that the differential component of ApA binding is controlled by domain 4 and that some component of ApB binding is not shared by ApA. This additional component probably binds to an interface between channel domains and is partly mediated by toxin residues Arg-12 and Lys-49.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)742-749
Number of pages8
JournalPflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1997


  • Cnidarian venoms
  • Patch clamp
  • Sea anemone toxins


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