activity descriptors for naming peptide toxins

This page lists Greek symbols that have been proposed to denote toxin molecular targets or biological activities (King et al., 2008, Oliveira et al., 2012).
To retrieve toxins with these activities, see pharmacological target of venom proteins
Note that & and # show channels for which several different descriptors have been assigned due to the different modes of action of toxins.

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Channel/receptor Descriptor Biological function associated with descriptor / Note
Ion channel (voltage-gated and
Voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channel & β (beta) Shifts voltage-dependence of Nav channel activation
Voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channel & δ (delta) Delays inactivation of voltage-activated Nav channels
Voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channel & ι (iota) Nav channel agonist
Voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channel & μ (mu) Inhibits voltage-activated sodium (Nav) channels
Voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channel κ (kappa) Inhibits voltage-activated potassium (Kv) channels
Calcium-activated potassium (KCa) channel λ (lambda) Inhibits calcium-activated potassium (KCa) channels
Inward-rectifier potassium (KIR) channel η (eta)
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) # α (alpha) Targets acetylcholine receptor
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) # ψ (psi) Noncompetitive antagonist of acetylcholine receptor
Voltage-gated calcium (Cav) channel ω (omega) Inhibits voltage-gated calcium (Cav) channels
Ryanodine-sensitive calcium-release (RyR) channel φ (phi)
P2X receptor (P2RX) Ο (OMICRON)
Voltage-gated chloride (ClC) channel ε (epsilon)
CFTR channel Σ (SIGMA)
Ionotropic GABA receptor Λ (LAMBDA)
Ionotropic glutamate receptor Γ (GAMMA)
HCNa nonspecific cation channel γ (gamma)
Cyclic nucleotide-gated channel (CNG) ζ (zeta)
Transient receptor potential (TRP) channel τ (tau)
Acid-sensing ion (ASICs) channel (ACCN) π (pi)
5-HT receptor σ (sigma)
receptor 7TM / G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR)
Adipokinetic hormone/corazonin-related peptide (ACP) receptor Z
Adrenergic receptor ρ (rho)
Angiotensin II receptor A see Van Baelen et al., 2023
Bradykinin receptor
Cholecystokinin receptor
Endothelin receptor ξ (xi)
Dopamine receptor
Glucagon-like peptide receptor
Melanocortin receptor Ν (NU)
Muscarinic acetylcholine receptor
Neurotensin receptor ν (nu)
Opioid receptor
Somatostatin receptor
Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide receptor
Vasopressin/oxytocin receptor υ (upsilon)
receptor 1TM
Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) Ω (OMEGA)
Noradrenaline transporter χ (chi)
Glutamate transporter
Other activity
Phospholipase A2 activity A2
Cytolytic activity Δ (DELTA)
Activity on insect hemocytes H
Antimicrobial activity / Membrane perturbation activity M
Protease inhibition PI
Unknown activity U
Activity for which no toxin has been discovered yet
Two-pore domain potassium (K2P) channel (KCNK) θ (theta)
Octopamine receptor ο (omicron)