Journal of biochemistry

Snake venom proteinase inhibitors. III. Isolation of five polypeptide inhibitors from the venoms of Hemachatus haemachatus (Ringhal's corbra) and Naja nivea (Cape cobra) and the complete amino acid sequences of two of them.

PMID 950337


Five proteinase inhibitors which all inhibit the activity of bovine trypsin [EC] were isolated from African Elapid venoms of Hemachatus haemachatus (HHV, Ringhal's cobra) and Naja nivea (NNV, Cape cobra). All the inhibitors were essentially homogeneous by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis in the presence or absence of sodium dodecylsulfate. Amino acid analysis and terminal analysis also supported their chemical homogeneities, except for one of the two inhibitors from Hemachatus haemachatus venom. The isolated inhibitors had a molecular weight of about 6,500, consisting of 52 to 57 amino acid residues, and they were all devoid of tryptophan. However, their amino acid compositions differed from each other. One of the three inhibitors isolated from Naja nivea venom, designated NNV inhibitor Ia, was unique, in that 4 half-cystinyl residues per mole fof the polypeptide were present, whereas all the others contained six residues. Of the isolated proteinase inhibitors, the complete amino acid sequences of two major inhibitors were established by manual and automatic Edman degradations and standard enzymatic techniques. Each of the inhibitors, designated HHV inhibitor II and NNV inhibitor II, consisted of 57 amino acid with arginine and glycine at the NH2- and COOH-termini, respectively. Both contained six half-cystines in disulfide linkages, and their overall amino acid sequences were similar, showing 91% homology. The two inhibitors differed in sequence by only five amino acid replacements, Asp-3 to Arg; Tyr-17 to Arg; Leu-25 to Arg; Gln-32 to Glu; and Arg-52 to His, in the 57 residue peptide chain. Comparing the amino acid sequences of these two cobra venom inhibitors with those of Russell's viper venom inhibitor II and bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor (BPTI), about 50% homology was found in their sequences. The 6 half-cystinyl residues of these inhibitors were in the same linear positions. Moreover, the regions which are structurally and functionally important in the well-known BPTI molecule were found with extremely high sequence homology in the cobra venom inhibitors. These findings strongly suggest that the cobra venom inhibitors as well as Russell's viper inhibitor II have very similar conformations to that established for BPTI.