Kn-Ba: a novel serine protease isolated from Bitis arietans snake venom with fibrinogenolytic and kinin-releasing activities

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Background Bitis arietans is a venomous snake found in sub-Saharan Africa and in parts of Morocco and Saudi Arabia. The envenomation is characterized by local and systemic reactions including pain, blistering, edema and tissue damage, besides hemostatic and cardiovascular disturbances, which can cause death or permanent disabilities in its victims. However, the action mechanisms that provoke these effects remain poorly understood, especially the activities of purified venom components. Therefore, in order to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that make the Bitis arietans venom so potent and harmful to human beings, this study reports the isolation and biochemical characterization of a snake venom serine protease (SVSP). Methods Solubilized venom was fractionated by molecular exclusion chromatography and the proteolytic activity was determined using fluorescent substrates. The peaks that showed serine protease activity were determined by blocking the proteolytic activity with site-directed inhibitors. In sequence, the fraction of interest was submitted to another cycle of molecular exclusion chromatography. The purified serine protease was identified by mass spectrometry and characterized biochemically and immunochemically. Results A serine protease of 33kDa with fibrinogen-degrading and kinin-releasing activities was isolated, described, and designated herein as Kn-Ba. The experimental Butantan Institute antivenom produced against Bitis arietans venom inhibited the Kn-Ba activity. Conclusions The in vitro activities of Kn-Ba can be correlated with the capacity of the venom to provoke bleeding and clotting disorders as well as hypotension, which are common symptoms presented by envenomed victims. Obtaining satisfactory Kn-Ba inhibition through the experimental antivenom is important, given the WHO's recommendation of immunotherapy in cases of human accidents with venomous snakes.
Megale AAA, Magnoli FC, Kuniyoshi AK, Iwai LK, Tambourgi DV, Portaro FCV, et al. Kn-Ba: a novel serine protease isolated from Bitis arietans snake venom with fibrinogenolytic and kinin-releasing activities. J. Venom. Anim. Toxins Trop. Dis. 2018 Dec;24:38. doi:10.1186/s40409-018-0176-5.
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