American Chemical Society
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Moving Pieces in a Cellular Puzzle: A Cryptic Peptide from the Scorpion Toxin Ts14 Activates AKT and ERK Signaling and Decreases Cardiac Myocyte Contractility via Dephosphorylation of Phospholamban

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-07-09, 14:33 authored by Diana P. Goméz-Mendoza, Rafael Pereira Lemos, Itamar C. G. Jesus, Vladimir Gorshkov, Shaun M. K. McKinnie, John C. Vederas, Frank Kjeldsen, Silvia Guatimosim, Robson Augusto Santos, Adriano M. C. Pimenta, Thiago Verano-Braga
Cryptic peptides (cryptides) are biologically active peptides formed after proteolysis of native precursors present in animal venoms, for example. Proteolysis is an overlooked post-translational modification that increases venom complexity. The tripeptide KPP (Lys-Pro-Pro) is a peptide encrypted in the C-terminus of Ts14a 25-mer peptide from the venom of the Tityus serrulatus scorpion that has a positive impact on the cardiovascular system, inducing vasodilation and reducing arterial blood pressure of hypertensive rats among other beneficial effects. A previous study reported that KPP and its native peptide Ts14 act via activation of the bradykinin receptor B2 (B2R). However, the cellular events underlying the activation of B2R by KPP are unknown. To study the cell signaling triggered by the Ts14 cryptide KPP, we incubated cardiac myocytes isolated from C57BL/6 mice with KPP (10–7 mol·L–1) for 0, 5, or 30 min and explored the proteome and phosphoproteome. Our results showed that KPP regulated cardiomyocyte proteins associated with, but not limited to, apoptosis, muscle contraction, protein turnover, and the respiratory chain. We also reported that KPP led to AKT phosphorylation, activating AKT and its downstream target nitric oxide synthase. We also observed that KPP led to dephosphorylation of phospholamban (PLN) at its activation sites (S16 and T17), leading to reduced contractility of treated cardiomyocytes. Some cellular targets reported here for KPP (e.g., AKT, PLN, and ERK) have already been reported to protect the cardiac tissue from hypoxia-induced injury. Hence, this study suggests potential beneficial effects of this scorpion cryptide that needs to be further investigated, for example, as a drug lead for cardiac infarction.