Androcin, a novel type of cysteine-rich venom peptide from Androctonus bicolor, induces akinesia and anxiety-like symptoms in mice

Authors

  • Ye Yang,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology & Department of Biological Science and Technology, School of Environmental Studies, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), Wuhan, People's Republic of China
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  • Xian-Chun Zeng,

    Corresponding author
    1. State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology & Department of Biological Science and Technology, School of Environmental Studies, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), Wuhan, People's Republic of China
    • Address correspondence to: Xian-Chun Zeng, Department of Biological Science and Technology, School of Environmental Studies, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), Wuhan 430074, People's Republic of China. Tel.: +86 27 67883481; Fax: +86 27 67883481. E-mail: xianchun.zeng@gmail.com

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  • Lei Zhang,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology & Department of Biological Science and Technology, School of Environmental Studies, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), Wuhan, People's Republic of China
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  • Yao Nie,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology & Department of Biological Science and Technology, School of Environmental Studies, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), Wuhan, People's Republic of China
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  • Wanxia Shi,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology & Department of Biological Science and Technology, School of Environmental Studies, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), Wuhan, People's Republic of China
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  • Yichen Liu

    1. State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology & Department of Biological Science and Technology, School of Environmental Studies, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), Wuhan, People's Republic of China
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  • The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest. The experimental protocol also conforms to the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals published by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH Publication No. 85-23, revised 1996).

Abstract

A novel type of venom peptide with six disulfide bridges, referred to as Androcin, was identified from the scorpion Androctonus bicolor using a cDNA library strategy. The amino acid sequence of Androncin displays little identity to other known peptides from scorpions. We found that the genomic sequence of Androcin consists of three exons interrupted by two introns that are localized in the signal sequence and mature peptide encoding regions, inserted in phase 2 and phase 0, respectively. This genomic organization is unique among those of the cysteine-rich peptides from scorpions described so far. The primary and secondary structures of Androcin are homologous to those of the N-terminal domains of insulin-like growth factor-binding proteins; this suggests that Androcin may block the normal function of IGFs. Toxicological analysis using the recombinant Androcin peptide revealed that Androcin is able to induce severe akinesia and anxiety-like symptoms in mice. Androcin is a novel mammalian toxin with six disulfide bridges that provides the scorpion with another tool to subdue animals. © 2014 IUBMB Life, 66(4):277–285, 2014

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