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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Structure-function relationships and site of action of apamin, a neurotoxic polypeptide of bee venom with an action on the central nervous system.

Specific chemical modifications of apamin have been used to study the residues involved in its toxic action. Transformation of Lys4 into homoarginine did not affect toxicity. Modification of the alpha-amino group of Cys1 and of the epsilon-amino group of Lys4 by acetic anhydride or fluorescamine decreased toxicity only by a factor of 2.5-2. 8. Modification of the gamma-carboxylate of Glu7 with glycine ethyl ester in the presence of a soluble carbodiimide decreased toxicity by a factor of 2. Diethyl pyrocarbonate treated of the imidazole side chain of His18 decreased toxicity by a factor of 2. 6. Thus none of these residues is essential for toxicity. However, combined modification of amino groups and of the imidazole side chain of His-18 completely abolished biological activity. Complete loss of toxicity also resulted from reduction and alkylation of both disulfide bridges, from chemical modification with cyclohexanedione of Arg-13 and Arg-14, and from removal of Arg-14 of acetylated apamin by digestion with trypsin. Incorporation of radioactive acetyl groups on both amino groups of apamin gave an active labeled toxin which has been used to localize the site of action of apamin in the spinal cord, principally in the lumbar part of the neuraxis.[1]


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