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Comparative biochemistry of disintegrins isolated from snake venom: consideration of the taxonomy and geographical distribution of snakes in the genus Echis.

Okuda D., Nozaki C., Sekiya F., Morita T.

Species in the genus Echis have been classified mainly based on their morphological appearance and the analytical patterns of their serum. However, re-classification of the genus Echis has recently been suggested by taxonomists, toxicologists, and clinicians, since there have been problems with the current classification, such as the efficacy of antivenoms used for treating bites and the broad geographical distribution of Echis snakes. In this study, we purified five novel disintegrins, the platelet aggregation inhibitors pyramidin A and B from the venom of Echis pyramidum, ocellatin from the venom of Echis ocellatus, and leucogastin A and B from the venom of Echis leucogaster, to compare their sequences and allow us to re-evaluate the classification of various species in the genus Echis. Comparison of the amino acid sequences of five new and four known isolated disintegrins from snake venoms of six Echis species and their distribution strongly support the recent re-classification of the genus Echis.

J. Biochem. 129:615-620(2001) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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