Open Access
Scorpion beta-toxins and voltage-gated sodium channels: interactions and effects
Martha Pedraza Escalona1,*,Lourival D. Possani1
Department of Molecular Medicine and Bioprocesses, Instituto de Biotecnologia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Avenida Universidad, 2001, Colonia Chamilpa, Apartado Postal 510-3, Cuernavaca 62210, Mexico
DOI: 10.2741/4121 Volume 18 Issue 2, pp.572-587
Published: 01 January 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Venom peptides and their targets on mammalian cells)
*Corresponding Author(s):  
Martha Pedraza Escalona

Scorpion beta-toxins (beta-ScTxs) modify the activity of voltage-gated sodium (Nav ) channels, thereby producing neurotoxic effects in diverse organisms. For this reason, beta-ScTxs are essential tools not only for discriminating among different channel sub-types but also for studying the mechanisms of channel gating and the structure-function relationship involved in this process. This review considers both the structural and the functional implications of the beta-ScTxs after they bind to their receptor sites, in accord with their classification into a) anti-mammalian beta-ScTxs, b) anti-insect selective excitatory beta-ScTxs, c) anti-insect selective depressant beta-ScTxs and d) beta-ScTxs active on both insect and mammals Nav channels. Additionally, the molecular mechanism of toxin action by the “voltage sensor trapping” model is discussed, and the systemic effects produced by these toxins are reviewed.

Key words

Beta-Scorpion Toxin; bioactive surface; Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel; Voltage Sensor Trapping Model, Review

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Martha Pedraza Escalona, Lourival D. Possani. Scorpion beta-toxins and voltage-gated sodium channels: interactions and effects. Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark. 2013. 18(2); 572-587.