Lys49 phospholipase A2 (PLA2) homologues present in crotalid snake venoms lack enzymatic activity, yet they induce skeletal muscle necrosis by a membrane permeabilizing mechanism whose details are only partially understood. The present study evaluated the effect of altering the membrane cholesterol content on the cytolytic activity of myotoxin II, a Lys49 PLA2 isolated from the venom of Bothrops asper, using the myogenic cell line C2C12 as a model target. Cell membrane cholesterol depletion by methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD) treatment enhanced the cytolytic action of myotoxin II, as well as of its bioactive C-terminal synthetic peptide p(115-129) . Conversely, cell membrane cholesterol enrichment by preformed cholesterol-MβCD complexes reduced the cytolytic effect of myotoxin II. The toxic actions of myotoxin I, a catalytically active PLA2 from the same venom, as well as of the cytolytic peptide melittin from bee venom, also increased in cholesterol-depleted cells. Although physical and functional changes resulting from variations in membrane cholesterol are complex, these findings suggest that membrane fluidity could be a relevant parameter to explain the observed modulation of the cytolytic mechanism of myotoxin II, possibly influencing bilayer penetration. In concordance, the cytolytic effect of myotoxin II decreased in direct proportion to lower temperature, a physical factor that affects membrane fluidity. In conclusion, physicochemical properties that depend on membrane cholesterol content significantly influence the cytolytic mechanism of myotoxin II, reinforcing the concept that the primary site of action of Lys49 PLA2 myotoxins is the plasma membrane.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lys49-PLA(2) myotoxins, an important component of various viperid snake venoms, are a class of PLA(2)-homolog proteins deprived of catalytic activity. Similar to enzymatically active PLA(2) (Asp49) and to other classes of myotoxins, they cause severe myonecrosis. Moreover, these toxins are used as tools to study skeletal muscle repair and regeneration, a process that can be very limited after snakebites. In this work, the cytotoxic effect of different myotoxins, Bothrops asper Lys49 and Asp49-PLA(2), Notechis scutatus notexin and Naja mossambica cardiotoxin, was evaluated on macrophages, cells that have a key role in muscle regeneration. Only the Lys49-myotoxin was found to trigger a rapid asynchronous death of mouse peritoneal macrophages and macrophagic cell lines through a process that involves ATP release, ATP-induced ATP release and that is inhibited by various purinergic receptor antagonists. ATP leakage is induced also at sublytical doses of the Lys49-myotoxin, it involves Ca(2+) release from intracellular stores, and is reduced by inhibitors of VSOR and the maxi-anion channel. The toxin-induced cell death is different from that caused by high concentration of ATP and appears to be linked to localized purinergic signaling. Based on present findings, a mechanism of cell death is proposed that can be extended to other cytolytic proteins and peptides.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An acidic phospholipase A(2) (RVVA-PLA(2)-I) purified from Daboia russelli venom demonstrated dose-dependent catalytic, mitochondrial and erythrocyte membrane damaging activities. RVVA-PLA(2)-I was non-lethal to mice at the tested dose, however, it affected the different organs of mice particularly the liver and cardiac tissues as deduced from the enzymatic activities measured in mice serum after injection of this PLA(2) enzyme. RVVA-PLA(2)-I preferentially hydrolyzed phospholipids (phosphatidylcholine) of erythrocyte membrane compared to the liver mitochondrial membrane. Interestingly, RVVA-PLA(2)-I failed to hydrolyze membrane phospholipids of HT-29 (colon adenocarcinoma) cells, which contain an abundance of phosphatidylcholine in its outer membrane, within 24h of incubation. The gas-chromatographic (GC) analysis of saturated/unsaturated fatty acids' release patterns from intact mitochondrial and erythrocyte membranes after the addition of RVVA-PLA(2)-I showed a distinctly different result. The results are certainly a reflection of differences in the outer membrane phospholipid composition of tested membranes owing to which they are hydrolyzed by the venom PLA(2)s to a different extent. The chemical modification of essential amino acids present in the active site, neutralization study with polyvalent antivenom and heat-inactivation of RVVA-PLA(2)-I suggested the correlation between catalytic and membrane damaging activities of this PLA(2) enzyme. Our study advocates that the presence of a large number of PLA(2)-sensitive phospholipid domains/composition, rather than only the phosphatidylcholine (PC) content of that particular membrane may determine the extent of membrane damage by a particular venom PLA(2) enzyme.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Snake venoms often contain toxins that cause a rapid necrosis of skeletal muscle fibers, referred to as myotoxins. The most common among them are phospholipases A(2) (PLA(2)s), enzymes that have two independent evolutionary origins in snake venoms. Within the group II PLA(2)s found in viperid venoms, a particular subgroup emerged, in which the otherwise conserved Asp49 of their catalytic center is replaced by Lys49. These intriguing proteins, referred to as Lys49 myotoxins, lost the ability to catalyze phospholipid hydrolysis, but still induce myonecrosis by a non-enzymatic mechanism based on membrane permeabilization as the critical event. Such mechanism is only partially understood. This review briefly describes the general structural and functional characteristics of the Lys49 myotoxins, and summarizes four proposed models of their functional "toxic site". Finally, it discusses some novel insights into their mode of action, in particular examining arguments and experimental observations that could shed light on the possible nature of their membrane target on skeletal muscle cells, which remains elusive.
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