Solution structure of a β-neurotoxin from the New World scorpion Centruroides sculpturatus Ewing

Academic Article


  • We report the detailed solution structure of the 7.2 kDa protein CsE-I, a β-neurotoxin from the New World scorpion Centruroides sculpturatus Ewing. This toxin binds to sodium channels, but unlike the α-neurotogins, shifts the voltage of activation toward more negative potentials causing the membrane to fire spontaneously. Sequence-specific proton NMR assignments were made using 600 MHz 2D-NMR data. Distance geometry and dynamical simulated annealing refinements were performed using experimental distance and torsion angle constraints from NOESY and pH-COSY data. A family of 40 structures without constraint violations was generated, and an energy-minimized average structure was computed. The backbone conformation of the CsE-I toxin shows similar secondary structural features as the prototypical α-neurotoxin, CsE-v3, and is characterized by a short 21/2-turn α-helix and a 3-strand antiparallel β-sheet, both held together by disulfide bridges. The RMSD for the backbone atoms between CsE-I and CsE-v3 is 1.48 Å. Despite this similarity in the overall backbone folding, the these two proteins show some important differences in the primary structure (sequence) and electrostatic potential surfaces. Our studies provide a basis for unravelling the role of these differences in relation to the known differences in the receptor sites on the voltage sensitive sodium channel for the α- and β-neurotoxins.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Jablonsky MJ; Jackson PL; Trent JO; Watt DD; Krishna NR
  • Start Page

  • 406
  • End Page

  • 412
  • Volume

  • 254
  • Issue

  • 2