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Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2007;21(3):406-12.

The venom of the snake genus Atheris contains a new class of peptides with clusters of histidine and glycine residues.

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Atheris Laboratories, case postale 314, CH-1233 Bernex-Geneva, Switzerland.


We investigated venoms from members of the genus Atheris (Serpentes, Viperidae), namely the rough scale bush viper (Atheris squamigera), the green bush viper (A. chlorechis) and the great lakes bush viper (A. nitschei), using mass spectrometry-based strategies, relying on matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) and electrospray ionisation tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS) with de novo peptide sequencing. We discovered a set of novel peptides with masses in the 2-3 kDa range and containing poly-His and poly-Gly segments (pHpG). Complete primary structural elucidation and confirmation of two sequences by Edman degradation indicated the consensus sequence EDDH(9)GVG(10). Bioinformatic investigations in protein sequence databanks did not show relevant homology with known peptides or proteins. However, a more extensive investigation of data in nucleic acid databases revealed some similarities to the precursor sequences of bradykinin potentiating peptides (BPP) and C-type natriuretic peptides (CNP), agents that are known to affect the cardiovascular system by acting on specific metalloproteases and receptors. The novel pHpG peptides found in Atheris venoms might also act on the cardiovascular system by inhibiting particular metalloproteases, which however remain to be identified.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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