The oceans are a source of combinatorial library of unique natural products, ‘not found in the terrestrial environment’. Marine invertebrates such as sponges, molluscs, bryozoans, tunicates (Urochordata) and their associated microorganisms are the major representatives of promising bioactive compounds. Among these, the predatory molluscan cone snails have evolved with highly structured small and complex array of peptides (more than 50,000) linked to their prey capture and defence. These peptides have become a valuable source of neuro pharmacological targets as many of them selectively modulate ion channels and transporters. A group of scientists from United States, Europe, Australia, Israel and China has characterized drugs for neuropathic pain and pharmacological targets from the peptides of a few cone snail species. Several are now in clinical and preclinical development. Less than 1% of the cono peptides are pharmacologically characterized. India has a diversity of 20-30% of total cone snail species distributed worldwide. A group of Indian Scientists has made promising drug discovery programs from Conus peptides. This review will focus on the Conus peptides from Indian cone snails species, their neuro pharmacological targets and future directions.
Keywords: Indian cone snails, Conus monile, fingerprint of conotoxins, pharmacological targets, voltage gated sodium channels, calcium channels, potassium channels, sponges, molluscs, bryozoans, tunicates (Urochordata), Conus peptides, conidae, Conus araneosus, Conus betulinus, Conus virgo, Conus loroisii, Conus amadis, Conus achatinus, Conus inscriptus, Conus textile, Conus hyaena, Conotoxins