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Parasitology. 2013 Jun;140(7):844-54. doi: 10.1017/S0031182013000012. Epub 2013 Feb 27.

BnSP-7 toxin, a basic phospholipase A2 from Bothrops pauloensis snake venom, interferes with proliferation, ultrastructure and infectivity of Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis.

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  • 1Instituto de Genética e Bioquímica, Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, UFU, Uberlândia, MG, Brazil.


This paper reports the effects of BnSP-7 toxin, a catalytically inactive phospholipase A2 from Bothrops pauloensis snake venom, on Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis. BnSP-7 presented activity against promastigote parasite forms both in the MTT assay, with IC50 of 58.7 μg mL(-1) of toxin, and a growth curve, inhibiting parasite proliferation 60-70% at concentrations of 50-200 μg mL(-1) of toxin 96 h after treatment. Also, the toxin presented effects on amastigotes, reducing parasite viability by 50% at 28.1 μg mL(-1) and delaying the amastigote-promastigote differentiation process. Ultrastructural studies showed that BnSP-7 caused severe morphological changes in promastigotes such as mitochondrial swelling, nuclear alteration, vacuolization, acidocalcisomes, multiflagellar aspects and a blebbing effect in the plasma membrane. Finally, BnSP-7 interfered with the infective capacity of promastigotes in murine peritoneal macrophages, causing statistically significant infectivity-index reductions (P < 0.05) of 20-35%. These data suggest that the BnSP-7 toxin is an important tool for the discovery of new parasite targets that can be exploited to develop new drugs for treating leishmaniasis.

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