Lactam-Stabilized Helical Analogues of the Analgesic μ-Conotoxin KIIIA

μ-Conotoxin KIIIA (μ-KIIIA) blocks mammalian voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs) and is a potent analgesic following systemic administration in mice. Previous structure–activity studies of μ-KIIIA identified a helical pharmacophore for VGSC blockade. This suggested a route for designing truncated analogues of μ-KIIIA by incorporating the key residues into an α-helical scaffold. As (<i>i</i>, <i>i</i>+4) lactam bridges constitute a proven approach for stabilizing α-helices, we designed and synthesized six truncated analogues of μ-KIIIA containing single lactam bridges at various locations. The helicity of these lactam analogues was analyzed by NMR spectroscopy, and their activities were tested against mammalian VGSC subtypes Na<sub>V</sub>1.1 through 1.7. Two of the analogues, Ac-cyclo9/13[Asp9,Lys13]KIIIA7–14 and Ac-cyclo9/13[Lys9,Asp13]KIIIA7–14, displayed μM activity against VGSC subtypes Na<sub>V</sub>1.2 and Na<sub>V</sub>1.6; importantly, the subtype selectivity profile for these peptides matched that of μ-KIIIA. Our study highlights structure–activity relationships within these helical mimetics and provides a basis for the design of additional truncated peptides as potential analgesics.