Design and discovery of novel conotoxins that target ion channels and receptors (2010–2012)
The overall goal of this research is to dramatically enhance the discovery of conotoxins through novel mass spectrometry approaches, improve their potency and selectivity at their target receptors and develop conotoxin mimetics capable of pharmaceutical drug development. New chemistry will be employed to accelerate their synthesis and improve their physical properties. This will increase our knowledge base and contribute to high value biotechnology industries in Australia. The major outcomes include a vast expansion of novel conotoxin sequences, new chemical approaches using selenocysteine to control their folding, parallel synthetic chemistry to enhance their production, new ways to identify their molecular targets and improved mimetics.