Venom Peptides: Rethinking Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel Inhibition

Life Sciences, Drug Discovery & Development, Preclinical, Fundamental Research,
  • Friday, May 22, 2020

Voltage-gated sodium channels (NaV) are integral in almost all aspects of human physiology, including cardiac and muscle function and pain perception. In this webinar, peptide inhibitors derived from venomous toxins will be explored.

The sodium channel subtype NaV1.7 has been genetically validated to be involved in nociception. Peptide toxins isolated from venomous creatures are potent inhibitors of human voltage-gated sodium channels, with venom peptides selective against NaV1.7 showing great potential as therapeutic pain relief agents. They function to inhibit NaV activity by blocking the pore domain (pore blockers) or by binding to the membrane-embedded voltage sensor domain of the sodium channel (gating-modifier toxins).

However, despite intensive research efforts into NaV1.7 inhibitors, there has been little in the way of translation, likely due to our lack of understanding on how to achieve subtype selectivity, completely inhibit NaV1.7 and how to move from effective in vitro to in vivo inhibitors.

In this webinar, delineating the mechanism of action behind venom peptide inhibition of voltage-gated sodium channels will be presented. This will include discussion on engineering peptides to achieve subtype specificity and complete inhibition of specific sodium channels to unlock the potential of potent venom peptides as therapeutic leads for the treatment of pain.


Christina I. Schroeder,National Institutes of Health

Christina I. Schroeder, Stadtman Investigator, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health

Dr. Christina Schroeder holds a MSc in Chemistry from University of Kalmar, Sweden, a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Queensland, Australia, which he obtained under the supervision of Prof. Richard Lewis, and a Graduate Certificate in Research Management from Southern Cross University, Australia. She has carried out postdoctoral training at several institutes including Scripps Research Institute with Prof. Philip Dawson, the University of Queensland with Prof. Richard Lewis and Prof. David Craik, as well as at the University of New South Wales, Australia with Prof. Philip Hogg.

In 2014, Dr. Schroeder started an independent research group at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience focusing her research on biodiscovery and peptide engineering of venom-derived bioactive peptides for the development of novel peptide-based drug leads for diseases including pain and cancer.

She joined the National Cancer Institute at the NIH in 2020 as a Stadtman Investigator and holds an adjunct Associate Professor position at the University of Queensland.


Message Presenter

Who Should Attend?

Professionals focused on:

  • Peptide chemistry
  • Understanding applications for peptides
  • Role of venom peptide inhibition of voltage-gated sodium channels

Job functions:

  • Scientist II and higher involved with Peptide chemistry
  • Director, peptide therapeutics

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