Laboratorio de Biología Molecular-Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Av. Venezuela Cdra 34 S/N, Ciudad Universitaria, Lima 01, Lima, Peru. Electronic address: [Email]
Snake venoms are a rich source of enzymes such as metalloproteinases, serine proteinases phospholipases A2 and myotoxins, that have been well characterized structurally and functionally. However, hyaluronidases (E.C.18.104.22.168) have not been studied extensively. In this study, we describe the biochemical and molecular features of a hyaluronidase (Hyal-Ba) isolated from the venom of the Peruvian snake Bothrops atrox. Hyal-Ba was purified by a combination of ion-exchange and gel filtration chromatography. Purified Hyal-Ba is a 69-kDa (SDS-PAGE) monomeric glycoprotein with an N-terminal amino acid sequence sharing high identity with homologous snake venom hyaluronidases. Detected associated carbohydrates were hexoses (16.38%), hexosamines (2.7%) and sialic acid (0.69%). Hyal-Ba selectively hydrolyzed only hyaluronic acid (HA; specific activity = 437.5 U/mg) but it did not hydrolyze chondroitin sulfate or heparin. The optimal pH and temperature for maximum activity were 6.0 and 40 °C, respectively, and its Km was 0.31 μM. Its activity was inhibited by EDTA, iodoacetate, 2-mercaptoethanol, TLCK and dexamethasone. Na+ and K+ (0.2 M) positively affect hyaluronidase activity; while Mg2+, Br2+, Ba2+, Cu2+, Zn2+, and Cd2+ reduced catalytic activity. Hyal-Ba potentiates the hemorrhagic and hemolytic activity of whole venom, but decreased subplantar edema caused by an l-amino acid oxidase (LAAO). The Hyal-Ba cDNA sequence (2020 bp) encodes 449 amino acid residues, including the catalytic site residues (Glu135, Asp133, Tyr206, Tyr253 and Trp328) and three functional motifs for N-linked glycosylation, which are conserved with other snake hyaluronidases. Spatial modeling of Hyal-Ba displayed a TIM-Barrel (α/β) fold and an EGF-like domain in the C-terminal portion. The phylogenetic analysis of Hyal-Ba with other homologous Hyals showed the monophyly of viperids. Further, Hyal-Ba studies may extend our knowledge of B. atrox toxinology and provides insight to improve the neutralizing strategies of therapeutic antivenoms.