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Alpha-Latrotoxin Rescues SNAP-25 from BoNT/A-Mediated Proteolysis in Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Neurons

Author(s): Mariano Mesngon | Patrick McNutt

Journal: Toxins
ISSN 2072-6651

Volume: 3;
Issue: 5;
Start page: 489;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: botulinum neurotoxin | alpha-latrotoxin | embryonic stem cell-derived neurons

The botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) exhibit zinc-dependent proteolytic activity against members of the core synaptic membrane fusion complex, preventing neurotransmitter release and resulting in neuromuscular paralysis. No pharmacologic therapies have been identified that clinically relieve botulinum poisoning. The black widow spider venom α-latrotoxin (LTX) has the potential to attenuate the severity or duration of BoNT-induced paralysis in neurons via the induction of synaptic degeneration and remodeling. The potential for LTX to antagonize botulinum poisoning was evaluated in embryonic stem cell-derived neurons (ESNs), using a novel screening assay designed around the kinetics of BoNT/A activation. Exposure of ESNs to 400 pM LTX for 6.5 or 13 min resulted in the nearly complete restoration of uncleaved SNAP-25 within 48 h, whereas treatment with 60 mM K+ had no effect. Time-lapse imaging demonstrated that LTX treatment caused a profound increase in Ca2+ influx and evidence of excitotoxicity, though ESNs remained viable 48 h after LTX treatment. This is the first instance of a cell-based treatment that has shown the ability to eliminate BoNT activity. These data suggest that LTX treatment may provide the basis for a new class of therapeutic approach to BoNT intoxication and may contribute to an improved understanding of long-term mechanisms of BoNT intoxication and recovery. They further demonstrate that ESNs are a novel, responsive and biologically relevant model for LTX research and BoNT therapeutic drug discovery.
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