Conus ventricosus venom peptides profiling by HPLC-MS: A new insight in the intraspecific variation

Cristina Romeo, Laura Di Francesco, Marco Oliverio, Paola Palazzo, Gabriella Raybaudi Massilia, Paolo Ascenzi, Fabio Polticelli, Maria Eugenia Schininà

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conus is a genus of predatory marine gastropods that poison the prey with a complex mixture of compounds active on muscle and nerve cells. An individual cone snails venom contains a mixture of pharmacological agents, mostly short, structurally constrained peptides. This study is focused on the composition of the venom employed by Conus ventricosus Gmelin, 1791, a worm-hunting cone snail living in the Mediterranean Sea. For this purpose, LC coupled to MS techniques has been successfully used to establish qualitative and quantitative differences in conopeptides from minute amounts of venom ducts. We were able to prove variability in the venom conopeptide complement, possibly related to different trophic habits of the species in the Mediterranean Sea. Moreover, the information-rich MS techniques enabled us to identify two novel C. ventricosus peptides, here named Conotoxin-Vn and α-Conotoxin-Vn. On the basis of the structural data collected so far, we suggest that Conotoxin-Vn is a conopeptide belonging to the ω-family that recognizes calcium channels through a specific pharmacophore. Similarly, molecular modeling data suggest that α-Conotoxin-Vn should represent a competitive antagonist of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-498
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Separation Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008


  • Conopeptides
  • Conotoxins
  • LCMS peptide profiling
  • Molecular modeling
  • On-plate chemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Filtration and Separation


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