[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Jacaranda decurrens (Bignoniaceae) is an endemic species of the Cerrado with validated antitumoral activity. The genetic diversity of six populations of J. decurrens located in the State of São Paulo was determined in this study by using molecular markers for randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP). Following optimization of the amplification reaction, 10 selected primers generated 78 reproducible RAPD fragments that were mostly (69.2%) polymorphic. Two hundred and five reproducible AFLP fragments were generated by using four selected primer combinations; 46.3% of these fragments were polymorphic, indicating a considerable level of genetic diversity. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) using these two groups of markers indicated that variability was strongly structured amongst populations. The unweighted pair group method with arithmatic mean (UPGMA) and Pearson's correlation coefficient (RAPD -0.16, p = 0.2082; AFLP 0.37, p = 0.1006) between genetic matrices and geographic distances suggested that the population structure followed an island model in which a single population of infinite size gave rise to the current populations of J. decurrens, independently of their spatial position. The results of this study indicate that RAPD and AFLP markers were similarly efficient in measuring the genetic variability amongst natural populations of J. decurrens. These data may be useful for developing strategies for the preservation of this medicinal species in the Cerrado.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Guarana (Paullinia cupana var. sorbilis) is a plant native to the central Amazon basin. Roasted seed extracts have been used as medicinal beverages since pre-Colombian times, due to their reputation as stimulants, aphrodisiacs, tonics, as well as protectors of the gastrointestinal tract. Guarana plants are commercially cultivated exclusively in Brazil to supply the national carbonated soft-drink industry and natural product stores around the world. In this report, we describe and discuss the annotation of 15,387 ESTs from guarana seeded-fruits, highlighting sequences from the flavonoid and purine alkaloid pathways, and those related to biotic stress avoidance. This is the largest set of sequences registered for the Sapindaceae family.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The phospholipase A2 (PLA2, E.C. 126.96.36.199) superfamily is defined by enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis of the sn-2 bond of phosphoglycerides. Most PLA2s from the venom of Bothrops species are basic proteins, which have been well characterized both structurally and functionally, however, little is known about acidic PLA2s from this venom. Nevertheless, it has been demonstrated that they are non-toxic, with high catalytic and hypotensive activities and show the ability to inhibit platelet aggregation. To further understand the function of these proteins, we have isolated a cDNA that encodes an acidic PLA2 from a cDNA library prepared from the poly(A)+ RNA of venom gland of Bothrops jararacussu. The full-length nucleotide sequence of 366 base pairs encodes a predicted gene product with 122 amino acid with theoretical isoelectric point and size of 5.28 and 13,685 kDa, respectively. This acidic PLA2 sequence was cloned into expression vector pET11a (+) and expressed as inclusion bodies in Escherichia coli BL21(DE3)pLysS. The N-terminal amino acid sequence of the 14 kDa recombinant protein was determined. The recombinant acidic PLA2 protein was submitted to refolding and to be purified by RP-HPLC chromatography. The structure and function of the recombinant protein was compared to that of the native protein by circular dichroism (CD), enzymatic activity, edema-inducing, and platelet aggregation inhibition activities.
Protein Expression and Purification 10/2004; 37(1):102-8. DOI:10.1016/j.pep.2004.05.020 · 1.70 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In order to better understand the function of acidic phospholipases A2 (PLA2s) from snake venoms, expressed sequence tags (ESTs) that code for acidic PLA2s were isolated from a cDNA library prepared from the poly(A)+ RNA of venomous glands of Bothrops jararacussu. The complete nucleotide sequence (366 bp), named BOJU-III, encodes the BthA-I-PLA2 precursor, which includes a signal peptide and the mature protein with 16 and 122 amino acid residues, respectively. Multiple comparison of both the nucleotide and respective deduced amino acid sequence with EST and protein sequences from databases revealed that the full-length cDNA identified (BOJU III--AY145836) is related to an acidic PLA2 sharing similarity, within the range 55-81%, with acidic phospholipases from snake venoms. Moreover, phylogenetic analysis of amino acid sequences of acidic PLA2s from several pit viper genera showed close evolutionary relationships among acidic PLA2s from Bothrops, Crotalus, and Trimeresurus. The molecular modeling showed structural similarity with other dimeric class II PLA2s from snake venoms. The native protein BthA-I-PLA2, a nontoxic acidic PLA2 directly isolated from Bothrops jararacussu snake venom, was purified and submitted to various bioassays. BthA-I-PLA2 displayed high catalytic activity and induced Ca2+-dependent liposome disruption. Edema induced by this PLA2 was inhibited by indomethacin and dexamethasone, thus suggesting involvement of the cyclo-oxygenase pathway. BthA-I-PLA2 showed anticoagulant activity upon human plasma and inhibited phospholipid-dependent platelet aggregation induced by collagen or ADP. In addition, it displayed bactericidal activity against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus and antitumoral effect upon breast adrenocarcinoma as well as upon human leukemia T and Erlich ascitic tumor. Following chemical modification with p-bromophenacyl bromide, total loss of the enzymatic and pharmacological activities were observed. This is the first report on the isolation and identification of a cDNA encoding a complete acidic PLA2 from Bothrops venom, exhibiting bactericidal and antitumoral effects.
The Protein Journal 06/2004; 23(4):273-85. DOI:10.1023/B:JOPC.0000027852.92208.60 · 0.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Snake venom glands are a rich source of bioactive molecules such as peptides, proteins and enzymes that show important pharmacological activity leading to in local and systemic effects as pain, edema, bleeding and muscle necrosis. Most studies on pharmacologically active peptides and proteins from snake venoms have been concerned with isolation and structure elucidation through methods of classical biochemistry. As an attempt to examine the transcripts expressed in the venom gland of Bothrops jararacussu and to unveil the toxicological and pharmacological potential of its products at the molecular level, we generated 549 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from a directional cDNA library. Sequences obtained from single-pass sequencing of randomly selected cDNA clones could be identified by similarities searches on existing databases, resulting in 197 sequences with significant similarity to phospholipase A2 (PLA2), of which 83.2% were Lys49-PLA2 homologs (BOJU-I), 0.1% were basic Asp49-PLA2s (BOJU-II) and 0.6% were acidic Asp49-PLA2s (BOJU-III). Adjoining this very abundant class of proteins we found 88 transcripts codifying for putative sequences of metalloproteases, which after clustering and assembling resulted in three full-length sequences: BOJUMET-I, BOJUMET-II and BOJUMET-III; as well as 25 transcripts related to C-type lectin like protein including a full-length cDNA of a putative galactose binding C-type lectin and a cluster of eight serine-proteases transcripts including a full-length cDNA of a putative serine protease. Among the full-length sequenced clones we identified a nerve growth factor (Bj-NGF) with 92% identity with a human NGF (NGHUBM) and an acidic phospholipase A2 (BthA-I-PLA2) displaying 85–93% identity with other snake venom toxins. Genetic distance among PLA2s from Bothrops species were evaluated by phylogenetic analysis. Furthermore, analysis of full-length putative Lys49-PLA2 through molecular modeling showed conserved structural domains, allowing the characterization of those proteins as group II PLA2s. The constructed cDNA library provides molecular clones harboring sequences that can be used to probe directly the genetic material from gland venom of other snake species. Expression of complete cDNAs or their modified derivatives will be useful for elucidation of the structure–function relationships of these toxins and peptides of biotechnological interest.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The complete nucleotide sequence of a nerve growth factor precursor from Bothrops jararacussu snake (Bj-NGF) was determined by DNA sequencing of a clone from cDNA library prepared from the poly(A) + RNA of the venom gland of B. jararacussu. cDNA encoding Bj-NGF precursor contained 723 bp in length, which encoded a prepro-NGF molecule with 241 amino acid residues. The mature Bj-NGF molecule was composed of 118 amino acid residues with theoretical pI and molecular weight of 8.31 and 13,537, respectively. Its amino acid sequence showed 97%, 96%, 93%, 86%, 78%, 74%, 76%, 76% and 55% sequential similarities with NGFs from Crotalus durissus terrificus, Agkistrodon halys pallas, Daboia (Vipera) russelli russelli, Bungarus multicinctus, Naja sp., mouse, human, bovine and cat, respectively. Phylogenetic analyses based on the amino acid sequences of 15 NGFs separate the Elapidae family (Naja and Bungarus) from those Crotalidae snakes (Bothrops, Crotalus and Agkistrodon). The three-dimensional structure of mature Bj-NGF was modeled based on the crystal structure of the human NGF. The model reveals that the core of NGF, formed by a pair of beta-sheets, is highly conserved and the major mutations are both at the three beta-hairpin loops and at the reverse turn.