AaTX1, from Androctonus australis scorpion venom: Purification, synthesis and characterization in dopaminergic neurons


  • Mlayah-Bellalouna Saoussen
  • Dufour Martial A
  • Mabrouk Kamel
  • Mejdoub Hafedh
  • Carlier Edmond
  • Othman Houcemeddine
  • Belghazi Maya
  • Tarbe Marion
  • Goaillard Jean-Marc
  • Gigmes Didier
  • Seagar Michael
  • El Ayeb Mohamed
  • Debanne Dominique
  • Srairi-Abid Najet


  • Androctonus australis scorpion
  • Alpha-KTx15 toxins family
  • Kv4 potassium channel
  • Alpha-KTx15 toxins family
  • Kv4 potassium channel


We have purified the AaTX1 peptide from the Androctonus australis (Aa) scorpion venom, previously cloned and sequenced by Legros and collaborators in a venom gland cDNA library from Aa scorpion. AaTX1 belongs to the alpha-Ktx15 scorpion toxins family (alpha KTx15-4). Characterized members of this family share high sequence similarity and were found to block preferentially I-A-type voltage-dependent K+ currents in rat cerebellum granular cells in an irreversible way. In the current work, we studied the effects of native AaTX1 (nAaTX1) using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings of I-A current in substantia nigra pars compacta dopaminergic neurons. At 250 nM, AaTX1 induces 90% decrease in I-A current amplitude. Its activity was found to be comparable to that of rAmmTX3 (alpha KTx15-3), which differs by only one conserved (R/K) amino acid in the 19th position suggesting that the difference between R19 and K19 in AaFX1 and AmmTX3, respectively, may not be critical for the toxins' effects. Molecular docking of both toxins with Kv4.3 channel is in agreement with experimental data and suggests the implication of the functional dyade K27-Y36 in toxin-channel interactions. Since AaTX1 is not highly abundant in Aa venom, it was synthesized as well as AmmTX3. Synthetic peptides, native AaTX1 and rAmmTX3 peptides showed qualitatively the same pharmacological activity. Overall, these data identify a new biologically active toxin that belongs to a family of peptides active on Kv4.3 channel. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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