Defining mechanisms of action of novel alpha-conotoxins at nicotinic receptor-channels (ARC Discovery Project administered by RMIT University) (2010–2014)
Marine snails from the waters off the Australian coast produce an amazing variety of mini-proteins in their venoms
called conotoxins that they use to capture prey. These conotoxins bind very specifically to receptors in our body
associated with the transmission of nerve signals. We will use natural and synthetically modified conotoxins to
selectively block particular types of neuronal 'receptors' to gain a greater understanding of how the nervous
system functions. This knowledge will help in the design of new drugs to treat a variety of diseases and disorders.
Essentially we will use a chemical armoury developed by the cone snail to design state-of-the-art mini-protein
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University