Natural Source Neurotoxic venom naturally produced by the Conus genus of gastropod mollusks
Laboratory Source Isolated toxin

Conotoxins are polypeptides comprised of 10-30 amino acids and stabilized by distinct patterns of disulfide bonds. Mechanisms of action for five conotoxins have been determined so far:

α-conotoxin: Acetylcholine nicotinic receptor inhibitor

μ-conotoxin: Voltage-gated sodium channel inhibitor

δ-conotoxin: Inhibitor of the inactivation of voltage-gated sodium channels

ω-conotoxin: N-type voltage-gated calcium channel inhibitor

κ-conotoxin: Potassium channel inhibitor

Health Hazards

Route of Entry Inhalation, ingestion, absorption, and injection
Signs and Symptoms

General symptoms include severe pain to spreading numbness. Severe intoxication exhibits itself through muscle paralysis, blurred or double vision, difficulty breathing and/or swallowing, and respiratory or cardiovascular collapse.

Toxicity Dose Data

LD50 = 5 μg/kg

Medical Precautions/Treatment

Diagnosis No rapid diagnostic assays are currently available
Prophylaxis None available

None available

Treatment No antidote available. Administer supportive care (artificial respiration to support breathing).
Emory Requirements Report all exposures immediately

Containment Requirements

BSL-2 Most manipulations of conotoxins
BSL-3 Large scale production of c or activities with a high potential for aerosol or droplet generation

Supplemental References

BMBL: 5th Edition  
Essentials of Toxicology Klaassen CD, Watkins JB. 2003. Casarett & Doull’s Essentials of Toxicology. New York (NY): McGraw-Hill.
Biological Safety: Principles & Practices Flemming DO, Hunt DL. 2006. Biological Safety: Principles and Practices. 4th Edition. ASM Press.

Spill Procedures

Small Notify others working in the lab. Rinse gloves with decontamination solution and don new gloves. Cover area of the spill with paper towels and apply decontamination solution, working from the perimeter towards the center. Exit and keep others from entering the laboratory. Allow 1 hour of contact time before entering the laboratory without respiratory protection. Cleanup and dispose of spill materials.

Contact Emory’s Biosafety Officer (404-727-8863),
the EHSO Office (404-727-5922), or
The Spill Response Team (404-727-2888).

Exposure Procedures

Mucous membrane Flush eyes, mouth or nose for 15 minutes at eyewash station.
Other Exposures Wash area with soap and water for 15 minutes.
Reporting Immediately report incident to supervisor, complete an employee incident report in PeopleSoft.
Medical Followup 

7am-4pm (OIM): EUH (404-686-7941) EUHM (404-686-7106) WW (404-728-6431)

After Hours: OIM NP On Call 404-686-5500 PIC# 50464

Needle Stick (OIM): EUH (404-686-8587) EUHM (404-686-2352)

Yerkes: Maureen Thompson Office (404-727-8012) Cell (404-275-0963)


Decontamination Use a reactive disinfectant such as glutaraldehyde and formaldehyde.
Inactivation Autoclaving is not an effective method of physical inactivation of conotoxins.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Minimum PPE Requirements At minimum, personnel are required to don gloves, closed toed shoes, lab coat, and appropriate face and eye protection prior to working with conotoxin. Additional PPE may be required depending on lab specific SOPs.
Additional Precautions Depending on the risk assessment, respirators may be required when working with conotoxins. Fit testing and training is required annually per Emory’s Respiratory Program: 

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