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See detailGreen mamba peptide targets type-2 vasopressin receptor against polycystic kidney disease
Ciolek, Justyna; Reinfrank, Helen; Quinton, Loïc ULg et al

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2017)

Polycystic kidney diseases (PKDs) are genetic disorders that can cause renal failure and death in children and adults. Lowering cAMP in cystic tissues through the inhibition of the type-2 vasopressin ... [more ▼]

Polycystic kidney diseases (PKDs) are genetic disorders that can cause renal failure and death in children and adults. Lowering cAMP in cystic tissues through the inhibition of the type-2 vasopressin receptor (V2R) constitutes a validated strategy to reduce disease progression. We identified a peptide from green mamba venom that exhibits nanomolar affinity for the V2R without any activity on 155 other G-protein–coupled receptors or on 15 ionic channels. Mambaquaretin-1 is a full antagonist of the V2R activation pathways studied: cAMP production, beta-arrestin interaction, and MAP kinase activity. This peptide adopts the Kunitz fold known to mostly act on potassium channels and serine proteases. Mambaquaretin-1 interacts selectively with the V2R through its first loop, in the same manner that aprotinin inhibits trypsin. Injected in mice, mambaquaretin-1 increases in a dose-dependent manner urine outflow with concomitant reduction of urine osmolality, indicating a purely aquaretic effect associated with the in vivo blockade of V2R. CD1-pcy/pcy mice, a juvenile model of PKD, daily treated with 13 μ𝝁g of mambaquaretin-1 for 99 d, developed less abundant (by 33%) and smaller (by 47%) cysts than control mice. Neither tachyphylaxis nor apparent toxicity has been noted. Mambaquaretin-1 represents a promising therapeutic agent against PKDs. [less ▲]

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See detailDiscovery and characterization of EIIB, a new α-conotoxin from Conus ermineus venom by nAChRs affinity capture monitored by MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometry
Echterbille, Julien; Gilles, Nicolas; Araoz, Romulo et al

in Toxicon (2017), 130

Animal toxins are peptides that often bind with remarkable affinity and selectivity to membrane receptors such as nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). The latter are, for example, targeted by α ... [more ▼]

Animal toxins are peptides that often bind with remarkable affinity and selectivity to membrane receptors such as nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). The latter are, for example, targeted by α-conotoxins, a family of peptide toxins produced by venomous cone snails. nAChRs are implicated in numerous physiological processes explaining why the design of new pharmacological tools and the discovery of potential innovative drugs targeting these receptor channels appear so important. This work describes a methodology developed to discover new ligands of nAChRs from complex mixtures of peptides. The methodology was set up by the incubation of Torpedo marmorata electrocyte membranes rich in nAChRs with BSA tryptic digests (>100 peptides) doped by small amounts of known nAChRs ligands (α-conotoxins). Peptides that bind to the receptors were purified and analyzed by MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometry which revealed an enrichment of α-conotoxins in membrane-containing fractions. This result exhibits the binding of α-conotoxins to nAChRs. Negative controls were performed to demonstrate the specificity of the binding. The usefulness and the power of the methodology were also investigated for a discovery issue. The workflow was then applied to the screening of Conus ermineus crude venom, aiming at characterizing new nAChRs ligands from this venom, which has not been extensively investigated to date. The methodology validated our experiments by allowing us to bind two α-conotoxins (α-EI and α-EIIA) which have already been described as nAChRs ligands. Moreover, a new conotoxin, never described to date, was also captured, identified and sequenced from this venom. Classical pharmacology tests by radioligand binding using a synthetic homologue of the toxin confirm the activity of the new peptide, called α-EIIB. The Ki value of this peptide for Torpedo nicotinic receptors was measured at 2.2 ± 0.7 nM. [less ▲]

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See detailMethodology to fish peptide ligands of nAChRs from Cone snail venoms by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry
Echterbille, Julien ULg; Gilles, Nicolas; Araoz, Romulo et al

Poster (2016, June)

More than 50,000 of venomous species are currently indexed in the world. Each of their venom is composed of hundreds of toxins which potentially exhibit a high selectivity for membrane receptors such as ... [more ▼]

More than 50,000 of venomous species are currently indexed in the world. Each of their venom is composed of hundreds of toxins which potentially exhibit a high selectivity for membrane receptors such as GPCRs or ion channels. Among them, nAChRs are a target for drug discovery, primarily for treating central nervous system troubles. Therefore, the discovery of pharmacological tools and innovative drugs targeting nAChRs from animal venoms appears as an evidence. This study proposes the use a mass-spectrometry based methodology1 to discover new nAChRs ligands from cone snails venoms, and particularly -conotoxins (a-CTXs), known as potential antagonists of nAChRs2. in few words, Torpedo membranes, containing a high concentration of nAChRs, are incubated with BSA tryptic digests (>100 peptides) doped by small amounts of known a-CTXs. After two hours incubation, free (i.e. containing molecules remaining in solution) and bound (i.e. peptides bound to the membranes) fractions were analyzed with a MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometer. The POC (positive and negative controls) as well as a real screening of Conus ermineus venom are presented. [less ▲]

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See detailMass-spectrometry-based method for screening of new peptide ligands for G-protein-coupled receptors
Cologna Takeno, Camila; Gilles, Nicolas; Echterbille, Julien ULg et al

in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (2015), 407

G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) constitute the largest family of transmembrane proteins. Although implicated in almost all physiological processes in the human body, most of them remain unexploited ... [more ▼]

G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) constitute the largest family of transmembrane proteins. Although implicated in almost all physiological processes in the human body, most of them remain unexploited, mostly because of the lack of specific ligands. The objective of this work is to develop a new mass-spectrometry-based technique capable of identifying new peptide ligands for GPCRs. The strategy is based on the incubation of cellular membranes overexpressing GPCRs with a mixture of peptides that contains potential ligands. Peptide ligands bind to the receptors, whereas other peptides remain in the binding buffer. Bound peptides are eluted from membranes and directly detected, identified, and characterized by MALDI TOF–TOF. The results reveal the efficacy of the procedure for selecting a specific ligand of GPCRs in both simple and complex mixtures of peptides. This new approach may offer direct purification, identification, and characterization of the new ligand in a single workflow. The proposed method is labeling-free and, unlike radio-binding and other techniques, it does not require a previously known labeled ligand of the studied GPCR. All these properties greatly reduce the experimental constraints. Moreover, because it is not based on the principle of a competitive specific binding, this technique constitutes a new tool to discover new ligands not only for known GPCRs, but also for orphan GPCRs [less ▲]

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See detailIdentification and functional characterization of a novel αlpha-conotoxin (EIIA) from Conus ermineus
Quinton, Loïc ULg; Servent, Denis; Girard, Emmanuelle et al

in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (2013), 405

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are one of the most important families in the ligand-gated ion channel superfamily due to their involvement in primordial brain functions and in several ... [more ▼]

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are one of the most important families in the ligand-gated ion channel superfamily due to their involvement in primordial brain functions and in several neurodegenerative pathologies. The discovery of new ligands which can bind with high affinity and selectivity to nAChR subtypes is of prime interest in order to study these receptors and to potentially discover new drugs for treating various pathologies. Predatory cone snails of the genus Conus hunt their prey using venoms containing a large number of small, highly structured peptides called conotoxins. Conotoxins are classified in different structural families and target a large panel of receptors and ion channels. Interestingly, nAChRs represent the only subgroup for which Conus has developed seven distinct families of conotoxins. Conus venoms have thus received much attention as they could represent a potential source of selective ligands of nAChR subtypes. We describe the mass spectrometric based approaches which led to the discovery of a novel α-conotoxin targeting muscular nAChR from the venom of Conus ermineus. The presence of several posttranslational modifications complicated the N-terminal sequencing. To discriminate between the different possible sequences, analogs with variable N-terminus were synthesized and fragmented by MS/MS. Understanding the fragmentation pathways in the low m/z range appeared crucial to determine the right sequence. The biological activity of this novel α-conotoxin (α-EIIA) that belongs to the unusual α4/4 subfamily was determined by binding experiments. The results revealed not only its selectivity for the muscular nAChR, but also a clear discrimination between the two binding sites described for this receptor. [less ▲]

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See detailG protein-coupled receptors, an unexploited animal toxin targets: Exploration of green mamba venom for novel drug candidates active against adrenoceptors
Maïga, Arhamatoulaye; Mourier, Gilles; Quinton, Loïc ULg et al

in Toxicon (2012), 59

At a time when pharmaceutical companies are having trouble finding new low MW drugs and when biologics are becoming more common, animal venoms could constitute an underexploited source of novel drug ... [more ▼]

At a time when pharmaceutical companies are having trouble finding new low MW drugs and when biologics are becoming more common, animal venoms could constitute an underexploited source of novel drug candidates. We looked for identifying novel animal toxins active against G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR), the most frequently exploited class of treatment targets, with the aim to develop novel research tools and drug candidates. Screening of green mamba (Dendroaspis angusticeps) venom against adrenoceptors identified two novel venom peptides. r-Da1a shown an affinity of 0.35 nM for the a1a-AR while r-Da1b displayed affinities between 14 and 73 nM for the three a2-ARs. These two venom peptides have sequences similar to those of muscarinic toxins and belong to the three-finger-fold protein family. a1a-AR is the primary target for the treatment of prostate hypertrophy. In vitro and in vivo tests demonstrated that r-Da1a reduced prostatic muscle tone as efficiently as tamsulosin (an antagonist presently used), but with fewer cardiovascular side effects. a2-ARs are the prototype of GPCRs not currently used as treatment targets due to a lack of specific ligands. Blockage of these receptors increases intestinal motility, which may be compromised by abdominal surgery and reduces orthosteric hypotension. In vitro and in vivo tests demonstrated that r-Da1b antagonizes a2-ARs in smooth muscles and increased heart rate and blood catecholamine concentrations. These results highlight possible exploitation of r-Da1a and r-Da1b in important pathologies. [less ▲]

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See detailIsolation and pharmacological characterization of AdTx1, a natural peptide displaying specific insurmountable antagonism of the alpha1A-adrenoceptor
Quinton, Loïc ULg; Girard, E.; Maiga, A. et al

in British Journal of Pharmacology (2010), 159

Venoms are a rich source of ligands for ion channels, but very little is known about their capacity to modulate G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) activity. We developed a strategy to identify novel toxins ... [more ▼]

Venoms are a rich source of ligands for ion channels, but very little is known about their capacity to modulate G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) activity. We developed a strategy to identify novel toxins targeting GPCRs. Experimental approach: We studied the interactions of mamba venom fractions with a1-adrenoceptors in binding experiments with 3H-prazosin. The active peptide (AdTx1) was sequenced by Edman degradation and mass spectrometry fragmentation. Its synthetic homologue was pharmacologically characterized by binding experiments using cloned receptors and by functional experiments on rabbit isolated prostatic smooth muscle [less ▲]

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See detailIdentification of a novel snake peptide displaying high affinity and antagonist behaviour for the alpha2-adrenoreceptors
Rouget, Céline; Quinton, Loïc ULg; Maïga, Arhamatoulaye et al

in British Journal of Pharmacology (2010), 161

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