Antiproliferative Activity of Cobra Venom Cytotoxins

Author(s): Peter V. Dubovskii, Yuri N. Utkin.

Journal Name: Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry

Volume 15 , Issue 7 , 2015

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Abstract:

Cytotoxins (or cardiotoxins, CTs) are small rigid membrane-active proteins of the threefinger toxin (TFT) family. They comprise about 60 amino acid residues, stabilized by four disulphide bridges. CTs, the most abundant proteins in cobra venom are able to kill cancer cells in a dose and time-dependent manner. The present review summarizes the current data on the molecular pathways of cancer cell death, induced by CTs. A relationship between structural characteristics of CTs and mechanism of their antiproliferative activity is reviewed as well. The CT molecules are rigid and their structure does not change significantly, when they interact with their molecular targets. This rigidity facilitates identification of molecular entities, responsible for antiproliferative activity of the toxins. We demonstrate that consideration of a net electrostatic charge and recently introduced HTL (Hydrophobicity of the Tips of the Loops) score allows distinguishing between the two mechanisms of cell death. The first is related to membrane destabilization by the toxins. The second involves their capture inside the cells, followed by interrogation into signal cascades mediated by the proteins, essential for cell life. Via addressing to antibacterial activity of CTs, which is supposed to arise from the plasma membrane damage, we demonstrate that, if membrane deterioration is involved in malignant cell death, the toxic activity of CTs correlates with their HTL scores and net electrostatic charge. We assume the relationship found may be used for rational design of antiproliferative compounds.

Keywords: Antiproliferative Activity, Apoptosis, Necrosis, Cardiotoxin (cytotoxin), Cobra venom, Spatial structure, Threefinger toxins.

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Article Details

VOLUME: 15
ISSUE: 7
Year: 2015
Page: [638 - 648]
Pages: 11
DOI: 10.2174/1568026615666150217113011
Price: $58

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