Molecular elucidation of the unique gating behavior of cardiac ion channels thanks to their interaction with conopeptides.
Venoms from cone snails (genus Conus) can be seen as an untapped cocktail of biologically active compounds, being increasingly recognized as new emerging source of peptide-based therapeutics. Cone snails are considered to be specialized predators that have evolved the most sophisticated peptide chemistry and neuropharmacology for their own biological purposes by producing venoms which contains a structural and functional diversity of neurotoxins. These neurotoxins or conopeptides are small cysteine-rich peptides which have shown to be highly selective ligands for a wide range of ion channels and receptors. The gamma- and omega-conopeptides their structurefunction activity relationships (QSARs) will be investigated by site-directed mutagenesis on both toxin and target in order to elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved.