Background: Conopeptides from cone snail venom have aroused great interest related to the discovery of novel bioactive candidates, due to their excellent prospects for the treatment of various health problems such as pain, addiction, psychosis and epilepsy. In order to explore novel biopeptides, we investigated the structure and function of five novel conopeptides isolated from the venom of Conus marmoreus from South China Sea. Methods: C. marmoreus crude venom was prepared, fractionated and purified by HPLC system. The primary sequences of the five novel disulfide-poor conopeptides Mr-1 to Mr-5 were identified by comprehensive analysis of de novo MALDI-TOF tandem mass spectrometry and Edman degradation data. In order to investigate their function, these five conopeptides were synthesized by Fmoc-SPPS chemistry, and their biological effects at several heterologous rat nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subtypes (α1β1δε, α3β2, α3β4, α4β2) were determined by electrophysiological technique. Results: Five novel disulfide-poor conopeptides were identified and named as follows: Mr-1 (DWEYHAHPKPNSFWT), Mr-2 (YPTRAYPSNKFG), Mr-3 (NVIQAPAQSVAPP NTST), Mr-4 [KENVLNKLKSK(L/I)] and Mr-5 [NAVAAAN(L/I)PG(L/I)V]. None of them contains a disulfide bond. The sequences of conopeptides Mr-2 to Mr-5 do not belong to any category of the known disulfide-poor conopeptides. No significant activity against the above nAChR subtypes were observed for the five conopeptides at 100 µM. Conclusion: We purified and structurally characterized five novel disulfide-poor conopeptides from C. marmoreus crude venom and first investigated their nAChR inhibitory effects. This work expanded our knowledge on the structure and function of disulfide-poor conopeptides from this cone snail venom.
Keywords: Conopeptides; Disulfide-poor conopeptides; Conus marmoreus ; nAChR; Cone snail; Conus venom.