Janardhan Bhavya, Niyonzima N. Francois, Veena S. More and Sunil S. More Pages 848 - 859 ( 12 )
Scorpions are distributed throughout the world and numerous biological molecules are found in their venom most importantly peptide toxins. These toxins modulate the ion channels either by blocking the pore of the channel or by altering the voltage gating. Molecules which block the pores have been useful in deciphering the structure of the ion channels. Many scorpion toxins have already been used for probing the voltage gated sodium channels and studying their activation and inactivation processes. The specialty of scorpion toxins is to discriminate between vertebrate and invertebrate channels which have led them to applications as pharmacological tools. Most of the scorpion toxin polypeptides were isolated, characterized and were shown to possess vital properties useful in the field of medicine. For instance, they show therapeutic properties such as antimicrobial activity, anticancer activity, used to treat autoimmune diseases and cardiovascular effects. Although the scorpion toxins exhibited good therapeutic effects in vitro and in vivo, no one has reached the market with success up to date. In this mini-review, the scorpion polypeptides, their interactions with ion channels and their uses as therapeutic agents are discussed.
Scorpion, toxins, polypeptide, therapeutic agent, voltage-gated ion channel, scorpion family.
School of Basic and Applied Sciences, Dayanand Sagara University, Bangalore-560078, India.