Snakebite envenoming is a serious medical problem in different areas of the world. In Latin America, the major prevalence is due to snakes of the family Viperidae, where rattlesnakes (Crotalus) are included. They produce hemotoxic venom which causes bleeding, tissue degradation and necrosis. Each venom has several enzymatic activities, producing different effects in the envenoming, doing its clinical effects difficult to study. Comparison between venom molecules is also difficult when different techniques are used, and therefore, their identification/characterization using the same methodology is necessary. In this work, a general biochemical characterization in snake venom of serine proteases (SVSP), phospholipases A2 (PLA2), metalloproteases (SVMP) and hyaluronidases (SVH) of Crotalus aquilus (Ca), Crotalus polystictus (Cp) and Crotalus molossus nigrescens (Cmn) was done. Differences in protein pattern, enzyme content and enzymatic activities were observed. All the venoms showed high PLA2 activity, high molecular weight SVSP, and a wide variety of SVMP and SVH forms. Ca and Cp showed the highest enzymatic activities of SVMP and SVSP trypsin-like and chymotrypsin-like, whereas Cmn showed the highest SVH and similar PLA2 activity with Ca. All the venoms showed peptides with similar molecular weight to crotamine-like myotoxins. No previous biochemical characterization of C. aquilus has been reported and there are no previous analyses that include these four protein families in these Crotalus venoms.
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