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Toxicon. 1990;28(3):299-309.

Isolation and characterization of helothermine, a novel toxin from Heloderma horridum horridum (Mexican beaded lizard) venom.

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Departamento de BioquĂ­mica, UNAM, Morelos, Mexico.


A protein toxic to mice was isolated from the venom of the Mexican beaded lizard Heloderma horridum horridum by a combination of gel filtration (Sephadex G-75) and ion exchange chromatography (both diethylaminoethyl-cellulose [DE-cellulose] and carboxymethyl-cellulose [CM-cellulose]). The purified polypeptide component has an apparent mol. wt of 25,500 and is composed of approximately 220 amino acid residues. It has an isoelectric point (pI) of 6.8 and its N-terminal amino acid sequence was shown to be: Glu-Ala-Ser-Pro-Lys-Leu-Pro-Gly-Leu-Met-Thr-Ser-Asn-Pro-Asp-Gln-Gln-Thr- Glu-Ile. The sequence has no significant similarity with any other protein previously reported in the literature. Enzymatic activities such as phospholipase, hyaluronidase and proteinase, commonly present in venoms, could not be demonstrated in this protein. Patch-clamp experiments conducted with excitable membranes show no effects on Na+, K+ or Ca2+ ion channels. Among the constant physiological effects observed in mice injected with this toxin are lethargy, partial paralysis of rear limbs and lowering of body temperature, suggesting that it might be a hypothermic toxin. We propose calling this toxin Helothermine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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