Tarantula toxins use common surfaces for interacting with Kv and ASIC ion channels

Kanchan Gupta, Maryam Zamanian, Chanhyung Bae, Mirela Milescu, Dmitriy Krepkiy, Drew C. Tilley, Jon T Sack, Vladimir Yarov-Yarovoy, Jae Il Kim, Kenton J. Swartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Tarantula toxins that bind to voltage-sensing domains of voltage-activated ion channels are thought to partition into the membrane and bind to the channel within the bilayer. While no structures of a voltage-sensor toxin bound to a channel have been solved, a structural homolog, psalmotoxin (PcTx1), was recently crystalized in complex with the extracellular domain of an acid sensing ion channel (ASIC). In the present study we use spectroscopic, biophysical and computational approaches to compare membrane interaction properties and channel binding surfaces of PcTx1 with the voltage-sensor toxin guangxitoxin (GxTx-1E). Our results show that both types of tarantula toxins interact with membranes, but that voltage-sensor toxins partition deeper into the bilayer. In addition, our results suggest that tarantula toxins have evolved a similar concave surface for clamping onto α-helices that is effective in aqueous or lipidic physical environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere06774
Issue numberMAY
StatePublished - May 7 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Medicine(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)


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