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The Conantokins

"Another class of peptides from Conus venoms are the conantokins, the first peptide antagonists which target to the major excitatory receptors in the vertebrate central nervous system, glutamate receptors. The conantokins selectively inhibit a subtype of glutamate receptor, the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor, which are ligand-gated Ca channels. The conantokins cause rather striking biological effects.

In young mice, conantokins induce sleep, but in adult mice, these peptides induce a very characteristic hyperactivity when introduced into the central nervous system. The strikingly different behavioral effects of conantokins suggest either that different subtypes of NMDA receptors are present in young animals vs. adults, or that the circuitry involving NMDA receptors changes drastically in mice between two and three weeks of age."

Source: Baldomero (Toto) Olivera

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BGL, December-97


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