Peptides originally derived from Chilobrachys jingzhao tarantula venom possess beneficial effects on pancreatic beta cell health and function

A. Coulter-Parkhill, V.A. Gault, S. McClean, N. Irwin

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Clinical approval of the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) mimetic exenatide for the treatment of type 2 diabetes highlights the therapeutic effectiveness of venom-derived peptides. In the present study, we examined and characterised the glucose-lowering potential of synthetic Jingzhaotoxin IX and Jingzhaotoxin XI peptides, which were originally isolated from the venom of the Chinese earth tarantula Chilobrachys jingzhao. Following confirmation of lack of beta-cell toxicity of synthetic peptides, assessment of enzymatic stability and effects on in vitro beta-cell function were studied, alongside putative mechanisms. Glucose homeostatic and appetite suppressive actions of Jingzhaotoxin IX and Jingzhaotoxin XI alone, or in combination with exenatide, were then assessed in normal overnight fasted C57BL/6 mice. Synthetic Jingzhaotoxin peptides were non-toxic and exhibited a decrease in mass of 6 Da in Krebs-Ringer bicarbonate buffer suggesting inhibitor cysteine knot (ICK)-like formation, but interestingly were liable to plasma enzyme degradation. The Jingzhaotoxin peptides evoked prominent insulin secretion from BRIN BD11 beta-cells, with activity somewhat characteristic of Kv2.1 channel binding. In addition, Jingzhaotoxin peptides enhanced beta-cell proliferation and provided significant protection against cytokine-induced apoptosis. When injected co-jointly with glucose, the Jingzhaotoxin peptides slightly decreased blood-glucose levels but had no effect on appetite in overnight fasted mice. Whilst the Jingzhaotoxin peptides did not enhance exenatide-induced benefits on glucose homeostasis, they augmented exenatide-mediated suppression of appetite. Taken together, these data highlight the therapeutic potential of tarantula venom-derived peptides, such as Jingzhaotoxin IX and Jingzhaotoxin XI either alone or in combination with exenatide, for diabetes and related obesity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number175855
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Early online date28 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 5 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
These studies were supported by a Diabetes UK funded PhD studentship (ACP) and Ulster University Research Funding support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors


  • Chilobrachys jingzhao
  • Venom-derived peotides
  • Jingzhaotoxin
  • Beta-cell function
  • Glucose tolerance
  • Exenatide
  • Venom-derived peptides


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