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Conotoxin peptides useful as inhibitors of neuronal amine transporters

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Conotoxin peptides useful as inhibitors of neuronal amine transporters

The invention relates to an isolated, synthetic or recombinant χ-conotoxin peptide having the ability to inhibit a neuronal amine transporter, nucleic acid molecules encoding all or part of such peptides, antibodies to such peptides and uses and methods of treatment involving them.

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Inventors: Richard James Lewis, Paul Francis Alewood, Iain Andrew Sharpe
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120277166 - Class: 514 215 (USPTO) - 11/01/12 - Class 514 

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120277166, Conotoxin peptides useful as inhibitors of neuronal amine transporters.

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The present invention relates to novel peptides and derivatives thereof useful as inhibitors of neuronal amine transporters of neurotransmitters such as noradrenaline, serotonin, dopamine, glutamic acid and glycine. The invention also relates to pharmaceutical compositions comprising these peptides, nucleic acid probes useful in finding active analogues of these peptides, assays for finding compounds having neuronal noradrenaline transporter inhibitory activity and the use of these peptides in the prophylaxis or treatment of conditions such as but not limited to incontinence, cardiovascular conditions and mood disorders.

The marine snails of the genus Conus (cone snails) use a sophisticated biochemical strategy to capture their prey. As predators of either fish, worms or other mollusks, the cone snails inject their prey with venom containing a cocktail of small bioactive peptides. These toxin molecules, which are referred to as conotoxins, interfere with neurotransmission by targeting a variety of receptors and ion-channels. The venom from any, single Conus species may contain more than 100 different peptides. The conotoxins are divided into classes on the basis of their physiological targets. To date, ten classes have been described. The ω-conotoxin class of peptides target and block voltage-sensitive Ca2+-channels inhibiting neurotransmitter release. The α-conotoxins and ψ-conotoxins target and block nicotinic ACh receptors, causing ganglionic and neuromuscular blockade. Peptides of the μ-conotoxin class act to block voltage-sensitive Na+-channels inhibiting muscle and nerve action potentials. The δ-conotoxins target and delay the inactivation of voltage-sensitive Na+-channels, enhancing neuronal excitability. The κ-conotoxin class of peptides target and block voltage-sensitive K+-channels, and these also cause enhanced neuronal excitability. The conopressins are vasopressin receptor antagonists and the conantokins are NMDA receptor antagonists. More recently, the prototype of a new γ-conotoxin class, which targets a voltage-sensitive nonspecific cation channel, and of a new σ-conotoxin class, which antagonizes the 5HT3 receptor, have been described.

It has now been found that a new class of conotoxin exists, hereinafter referred to as the χ-conotoxin class, which are characterised by having the ability to inhibit neuronal amine transporters.

Compounds which inhibit neurotransmitter reuptake have been found to be useful in the treatment of lower urinary tract disorders, such as urinary incontinence, detrusor instability and interstitial cystitis. One such compound is “imipramine” which, in addition to inhibiting noradrenaline reuptake, has been shown to affect calcium channel blockade, and to exhibit anticholinergic, local anaesthetic activity and a number of other effects. Other compounds capable of inhibiting noradrenaline reuptake are described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,441,985. These compounds are said to have a reduced anticholinergic effect relative to imipramine.

In the case of the peptides of the present invention this inhibition of neurotransmitter reuptake is achieved by selectively inhibiting the neuronal neurotransmitter transporter, such as the noradrenaline transporter, which functions to rapidly clear released noradrenaline from the synapse back into neurons.

The peptides of the present invention are the first peptides to have activity in inhibiting an amine transporter. All other conotoxin peptides characterised to date target ion channels or receptors on cell surfaces.

According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided an isolated, synthetic or recombinant χ-conotoxin peptide having the ability to inhibit a neuronal amine transporter.

Preferably, the neuronal amine transporter is the neuronal noradrenaline transporter.

The χ-conotoxin peptide may be a naturally occurring peptide isolated from a cone snail, or a derivative thereof.

Preferably the χ-conotoxin peptide is χ-MrIA or χ-MrIB, or a derivative thereof. χ-MrIA and χ-MrIB may be isolated from the venom of the mollusk hunting cone snail, Conus marmoreus.

They are both peptides of 13 amino acid residues in length, and contain 2-disulphide bonds; the peptides show most homology to members in the α-conotoxin class, which act as nicotinic ACh receptor antagonists.

The amino acid sequences of χ-MrIA and χ-MrIB are as follows:


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