Journal article

Embryonic Toxin Expression in the Cone Snail Conus victoriae PRIMED TO KILL OR DIVERGENT FUNCTION?

Helena Safavi-Hemami, William A Siero, Zhihe Kuang, Nicholas A Williamson, John A Karas, Louise R Page, David MacMillan, Brid Callaghan, Shiva Nag Kompella, David J Adams, Raymond S Norton, Anthony W Purcell

Journal of Biological Chemistry | American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology | Published : 2011

Abstract

Predatory marine cone snails (genus Conus) utilize complex venoms mainly composed of small peptide toxins that target voltage- and ligand-gated ion channels in their prey. Although the venoms of a number of cone snail species have been intensively profiled and functionally characterized, nothing is known about the initiation of venom expression at an early developmental stage. Here, we report on the expression of venom mRNA in embryos of Conus victoriae and the identification of novel α- and O-conotoxin sequences. Embryonic toxin mRNA expression is initiated well before differentiation of the venom gland, the organ of venom biosynthesis. Structural and functional studies revealed that the em..

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