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Biochemistry. 1978 Aug 8;17(16):3395-404.

Hemorrhagic toxins from Western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) venom: isolation and characterization of five toxins and the role of zinc in hemorrhagic toxin e.


Five previously unknown hemorrhagic proteins, designated hemorrhagic toxins a,b,c,d, and e, were isolated from the venom of the western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox). Molecular weights of hemorrhagic toxins a-e were determined to be 68 000, 24 000, 24 000, 24 000, and 25 700, respectively, by sodium dodecyl sulfate-phosphate gel electrophoresis using various polyacrylamide gel concentrations. Amino acid composition showed a total of 636, 200, 213, 214, and 219 amino acids for hemorrhagic toxins a-e, respectively. All the hemorrhagic toxins were found to lose their hemorrhagic activities with the metal chelators ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid and 1, 10-phenanthroline. All the hemorrhagic toxins were found to contain approximately 1 mol of zinc/mol of toxin, and they were all demonstrated to be proteolytic when dimethylcasein and dimethylhemoglobin were used as substrates. When zinc was removed from hemorrhagic toxin e with 1,10-phenanthroline, both both the proteolytic and hemorrhagic activities were equally inhibited. When the apohemorrhagic toxin e thus produced was incubated with zinc, the hemorrhagic and proteolytic activities were regenerated to the same extent. CD, UV, and Raman spectroscopy were used to study the structure of native hemorrhagin toxin e as well as the structural changes caused by zinc removal. From CD spectroscopy the native toxin was estimated to consist of 23% alpha helix, 6% beta structure, and 71% random-coil conformation. When over 90% of the zinc was removed, the alpha-helix content dropped from 23 to 7%.

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