Scorpion toxins targeting Kv1.3 channels: insights into immunosuppression

Isadora S Oliveira, Isabela G Ferreira, Gabriel M Alexandre-Silva, Felipe A Cerni, Caroline M Cremonez, Eliane C Arantes, Umberto Zottich, Manuela B Pucca

Scorpion venoms are natural sources of molecules that have, in addition to their toxic function, potential therapeutic applications. In this source the neurotoxins can be found especially those that act on potassium channels. Potassium channels are responsible for maintaining the membrane potential in the excitable cells, especially the voltagedependent potassium channels (Kv), including Kv1.3 channels. These channels (Kv1.3) are expressed by various types of tissues and cells, being part of several physiological processes. However, the major studies of Kv1.3 are performed on T cells due its importance on autoimmune diseases. Scorpion toxins capable of acting on potassium channels (KTx), mainly on Kv1.3 channels, have gained a prominent role for their possible ability to control inflammatory autoimmune diseases. Some of these toxins have already left bench trials and are being evaluated in clinical trials, presenting great therapeutic potential. Thus, scorpion toxins are important natural molecules that should not be overlooked in the treatment of autoimmune and other diseases.