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Isolation and characterization of myrmexins, six isoforms of venom proteins with anti-inflammatory activity from the tropical ant, Pseudomyrmex triplarinus.

Pan J., Hink W.F.

Venom from the tropical ant, Pseudomyrmex triplarinus, has anti-inflammatory properties demonstrated by the carrageenin-induced edema animal mode. A multi-protein complex that inhibits edema was isolated from the venom and was further characterized by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF) and amino acid sequencing. Although the complex exhibited a single band in SDS-PAGE electrophoresis, six proteins (isoforms) were resolved and purified to homogeneity and were designated myrmexin I-VI. They have very similar molecular masses between 6998 and 7142 Da. Each myrmexin is a heterodimer consisting of a small subunit (SS1 or SS2 or SS3) disulfide-linked to a larger, quite structurally unrelated subunit (LS1 or LS2). Thus, the myrmexin complex consists of six isoforms of venom proteins: myrmexin I (SS1/LS2), myrmexin II (SS1/LS1), myrmexin III (SS2/LS2), myrmexin IV (SS3/LS2), myrmexin V (SS2/LS1), myrmexin VI (SS3/LS1). Subunit SS1 is highly homologous to SS2 (96% of identity) and SS3 (87% of identity) and LS1 is highly homologous to LS2 (79% of identity). Our study suggests that myrmexins may represent a new class of anti-inflammatory proteins.

Toxicon 38:1403-1413(2000) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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