Spider toxins comprising disulfide-rich and linear amphipathic domains: A new class of molecules identified in the lynx spider Oxyopes takobius
In addition to the conventional neurotoxins and cytotoxins, venom of the lynx spider Oxyopes takobius was found to contain two-domain modular toxins named spiderines: OtTx1a, 1b, 2a and 2b. These toxins show both insecticidal activity (a median lethal dose against flesh fly larvae of 75 μg·g-1) and potent antimicrobial effects (minimal inhibitory concentrations in the range 0.1-10 μm). Full sequences of the purified spiderines were established by a combination of Edman degradation, mass spectrometry and cDNA cloning. They are relatively large molecules (∼ 110 residues, 12.0-12.5 kDa) and consist of two distinct modules separated by a short linker. The N-terminal part (∼ 40 residues) contains no cysteine residues, is highly cationic, forms amphipathic α-helical structures in a membrane-mimicking environment, and shows potent cytolytic effects on cells of various origins. The C-terminal part (∼ 60 residues) is disulfide-rich (five S-S bonds), and contains the inhibitor cystine knot (ICK/knottin) signature. The N-terminal part of spiderines is very similar to linear cytotoxic peptides found in various organisms, whereas the C-terminal part corresponds to the usual spider neurotoxins. We synthesized the modules of OtTx1a and compared their activity to that of full-length mature toxin produced recombinantly, highlighting the importance of the N-terminal part, which retained full-length toxin activity in both insecticidal and antimicrobial assays. The unique structure of spiderines completes the range of two-domain spider toxins. © 2013 FEBS.