Why myotoxin-containing snake venoms possess powerful nucleotidases?




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Caccin, Paola
Pellegatti, Patrizia
Fernández Ulate, Julián
Vono, Maria
Cintra Francischinelli, Mariana
Lomonte, Bruno
Gutiérrez, José María
Di Virgilio, Francesco
Montecucco, Cesare

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The venom of the snake Bothrops asper causes muscle necrosis, pain and inflammation. This venom contains myotoxins which cause an increase in intracellular Ca2+ concentration and release of K+ and ATP from myotubes. ATP is a key danger molecule that triggers a variety of reactions, including activation of the innate immune response. Here, using ATP-luciferase bioluminescence imaging technique, we show for the first time in vivo, that the purified myotoxins induce rapid release of ATP, whilst the complete venom of B. asper does at a very small extent. This apparent contradiction is explained by the finding that the venom contains powerful nucleotidases that in vivo convert ATP into ADP, AMP and Adenosine. These findings indicate that high concentrations of adenosine are generated by the double action of the venom and provide the experimental basis to the suggestion that in situ generated adenosine plays an important role in envenomation via its hypotensive, paralyzing and anti-coagulant activities.


Palabras clave

Bothrops, ATP, Chemiluminescence, Adenosine, Nucleotidases, Snake venom