Conotoxins are peptides expressed by the exogenome of more than 800 species of marine mollusks belonging to the genus Conus (cone snails.) Owing to their high specificity and affinity for ion channels, transporter molecules, and cell receptors of the central and peripheral nervous systems, conotoxins have been investigated for nearly four decades. These efforts on conotoxin research made possible the FDA approved use of Ziconitide/Prialt, a conotoxin derived from the venom of Conus magus, which effectively treats patients suffering from severe chronic pain without consequent narcotic effects. Additionally, six other conotoxins have reached clinical trials and many novel ones are being discovered every day. Investigations reported in this dissertation broadens the applicability of conotoxins to non-excitable systems. Here, conotoxins from the dissected venom of the vermivorous cone snail Conus nux were isolated and purified by size exclusion and reverse phase HPLC and characterized by MALDI-TOF and MS/MS spectrometry. The purified conopeptide fractions revealed: 1) antagonist activity of conotoxin NuxVID on two human voltage-gated sodium channels, displaying capabilities as a practical molecular probe and a potential therapeutic lead. 2) Ability for two novel conotoxins to traverse artificial biological membranes, suggesting their potential as drug delivery systems. 3) In vitro capacity of several novel conopeptides to interfere with the adhesion of PfEMP1 domains, expressed in P. falciparum infected erythrocytes, to vascular endothelial and placenta receptors. Lastly, this work reveals binding of the synthetic form of α-conotoxin ImI, from the vermivorous cone snail Conus imperialis, to the α7 nAChR of macrophage-like-cells derived from the pre-monocytic leukemic cell line THP-1 in support of the involvement of this receptor in the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway.
|Advisor:||Hartmann, James X., Mari, Frank|
|Commitee:||Brew, Keith, Oleinikov, Andrew, Prentice, Howard|
|School:||Florida Atlantic University|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||DAI-B 80/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Molecular biology, Biochemistry, Immunology|
|Keywords:||Conotoxins, Cytokines, Drug delivery, Inflammation, Malaria, Peptide sequencing|
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