Venom proteins for therapeutics
doi:10.1038/nindia.2010.49 Published online 15 April 2010
Novel venom proteins from a snake that roams the mangroves and brackish rivers of Asia and Australia might come to the rescue of ailing humans.
Researchers have found several proteins, including a couple of novel ones, in the venom of Cerberus rynchops, a nocturnal Colubrid snake. They believe the proteins may yield therapeutic benefits by altering the properties of blood platelets.
They procured a C. rynchops specimen from the backwaters of Chennai, collected venom from its rear fangs and isolated venom gland tissue to decipher the identity of proteins. Through sequencing, they identified four families of proteins including a novel family referred to as veficolins (venom ficolins). These were dubbed as ryncolins (rynchops ficolin)– ryncolin 1 and ryncolin 2.
"Ryncolins may also interfere in platelet aggregation or blood coagulation. They may cause platelet aggregation in the prey due the presence of a collagen-like domain," says lead researcher R. Manjunatha Kini. Collagen being a potent inducer of platelet aggregation, these properties of the novel proteins may be tapped for therapeutics, he says.
The authors of this work are from: Protein Sciences Laboratory, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore; Centre for Advanced Studies in Crystallography and Biophysics, University of Madras; Zoological Survey of India, Chennai, India; Laborato´rio de Toxinologia, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; & Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA.