Conus venoms: a rich source of novel ion channel-targeted peptides.

  title={Conus venoms: a rich source of novel ion channel-targeted peptides.},
  author={Heinrich Terlau and Baldomero M. Olivera},
  journal={Physiological reviews},
  volume={84 1},
The cone snails (genus Conus) are venomous marine molluscs that use small, structured peptide toxins (conotoxins) for prey capture, defense, and competitor deterrence. Each of the 500 Conus can express approximately 100 different conotoxins, with little overlap between species. An overwhelming majority of these peptides are probably targeted selectively to a specific ion channel. Because conotoxins discriminate between closely related subtypes of ion channels, they are widely used as… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Conus Venom Peptide Pharmacology

The discovery of new bioactives using proteomic/transcriptomic approaches combined with high-throughput platforms and better defining conopeptide structure-activity relationships using relevant membrane protein crystal structures are expected to grow the already significant impact conopePTides have had as both research probes and leads to new therapies.

Novel conopeptides of the I-superfamily occur in several clades of cone snails.

Conotoxins: Chemistry and Biology.

This review highlights the diversity of new conotoxins uncovered since 2014, their three-dimensional structures and folds, novel chemical approaches to their syntheses, and their value as pharmacological tools to unravel complex biology.

Conotoxins and Other Conopeptides

In this chapter, the marine cone snails and their venoms are introduced and the chemical diversity of conopeptides is described, along with the techniques used to unravel this diversity.

Discovery of a new subclass of α-conotoxins in the venom of Conus australis.

Analysis of Venom in Cape verde Cone Snails

The cone snails (genus Conus), living in the tropical habitats, are highly venomous predatory gastropods that ‎use peptide toxins (conotoxins) for major environmental interactions, such as prey

Conotoxins: Modulators of Ion Channel and their Applications

Conotoxin is a group of neurotoxic peptides isolated from the venom of marine snail that works in a concerted manner to shut down the prey’s nervous system and is used as tools for research including determining how specific receptors and channels work.

Identification and functional characterization of a novel α-conotoxin (EIIA) from Conus ermineus

The mass spectrometric-based approaches which led to the discovery of a novel α-conotoxin targeting muscular nAChR from the venom of Conus ermineus are described and a clear discrimination between the two binding sites described for this receptor is revealed.



E.E. Just Lecture, 1996. Conus venom peptides, receptor and ion channel targets, and drug design: 50 million years of neuropharmacology.

  • B. Olivera
  • Biology
    Molecular biology of the cell
  • 1997
It is suggested that cone snails undergoing speciation have, in effect, a mutator phenotype which acts specifically on the gene segment encoding the mature toxin region.

Diversity of Conus neuropeptides.

It now seems that the Conus species will each use a distinctive assortment of peptides and that the pharmacological diversity in Conus venoms may be ultimately comparable to that of plant alkaloids or secondary metabolites of microorganisms.

A novel conotoxin inhibiting vertebrate voltage-sensitive potassium channels.

Conotoxins - new vistas for peptide therapeutics.

A pragmatic overview of the molecular diversity as well as the neurobiological mechanisms that define each major class of conotoxin is presented, further validating the overall "mining" strategy.

δ-Conotoxin Structure/Function through a Cladistic Analysis†

A new peptide isolated from the venom of Conus striatus had an amino acid sequence identical to that predicted from cDNA cloning, and exhibited properties of δ-conotoxins: it targeted sodium channels and potentiated action potentials by slowing channel inactivation.

Conus peptides targeted to specific nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subtypes.

As a group the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor-targeted Conus peptides represent an increasingly well-defined set of tools for probing the structure, function, and physiological role of nicotinIC acetylCholine receptors.

Peptide neurotoxins from fish-hunting cone snails.

Five new omega-conotoxins that block presynaptic calcium channels are described, and the fact that they inhibit sequential steps in neuromuscular transmission suggests that their action is synergistic rather than additive.

A novel hydrophobic omega-conotoxin blocks molluscan dihydropyridine-sensitive calcium channels.

A novel calcium channel blocking peptide designated omega-conotoxin-Tx VII has been characterized from the venom of the molluscivorous snail Conus textile and provides a lead for future design of selective conopeptide probes for L-type channels.

New mollusc-specific alpha-conotoxins block Aplysia neuronal acetylcholine receptors.

Two mollusc-specific neurotoxic peptides from the venom of the molluskivorous snail Conus pennaceus are described, which block acetylcholine receptors (AChR) of cultured Aplysia neurons and should be useful tools in the study of structure-function relationships in ACh receptors.