Chiriquitoxin (CqTX) from the Costa Rican frog Atelopus chiriquensis differs from tetrodoxin (TTX) only in that a glycine residue replaces a methylene hydrogen of the C-11 hydroxymethyl function. On the voltage-clamped frog skeletal muscle fiber, in addition to blocking the sodium channel and unrelated to such an action, CqTX also slows the activation of the fast potassium current in approximately 40% of the muscle fiber population. At pH 7.25, CqTX is as potent as TTX in blocking the sodium channel, with an ED50 of 3.8 nM. Its ED50's at pH 6.50 and 8.25 are 6.8 and 2.3 nM, contrasted with 3.8 and 4.3 nM for TTX. These differences are attributable to changes in the chemical states in the glycine residue. The equipotency of CqTX with TTX at pH 7.25 is explainable by an intramolecular salt bridge between the amino and carboxyl groups of the glycine function, all other surface groups in TTX and CqTX being the same. From available information on these groups and those in saxitoxin (STX), the TTX/STX binding site is deduced to be in a pocket 9.5 A wide, 6 A high, and 5 A deep. The glycine residue of CqTX probably projects out of the entrance to this pocket. Such a view of the binding site could also account for the actions of STX analogues, including the C-11 sulfated gonyautoxins and the 21-sulfocarbamoyl analogues. In the gonyautoxins the sulfate groups are equivalently placed as the glycine in CqTX, whereas in the sulfocarbamoyl toxins the sulfate groups extend the carbamoyl side-chain, leading to steric hinderance to productive binding.

This content is only available as a PDF.