Inhibitory properties of the antibothropic complex from the South American opossum (Didelphis marsupialis) serum

Ana G.C. Neves-Ferreira, Jonas Perales, Michael Ovadia, Haity Moussatché, Gilberto B. Domont

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The South American opossum Didelphis marsupialis is known to be highly resistant to snake envenomation. In this paper it is shown that the opossum serum inhibits haemorrhage induced by both Crotalinae and Viperinae venoms. Tested against Bothrops jararaca (jararaca) venom, the antibothropic complex (ABC) isolated from the opossum serum was at least six times more antihaemorrhagic than the commercial antivenom. ABC showed no proteolytic activity by itself and was not hydrolysed by the venom. It inhibited the hydrolysis of casein by B. jararaca venom, but did not inhibit its hydrolytic activities upon Nα-benzoyl-L-arginine ethyl ester (BAEE) and Nα-benzoyl-DL-arginine p-nitroanilide (BAPNA). The inhibitor did not interfere with trypsin and bacterial collagenase activities on BAPNA and N-(3-[2-furyl]acryloyl)-Leu-Gly-Pro-Ala (FALGPA), respectively. It reduced chymotrypsin hydrolysis of N-acetyl-L-tyrosine ethyl ester (ATEE) because ABC is also a substrate for this enzyme. By sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, B. jararaca venom preferentially degraded fibrinogen Aα-chain and fibrin α-chain. Tested on extracellular matrix proteins, the venom hydrolysed collagen IV, gelatins I and V, laminin and fibronectin, besides depolimerizing collagen I α-chain dimers. Fibrillar collagen V was not digested. These hydrolyses were inhibited by ABC and by EDTA. Our results show that the antibothropic complex is a venom metalloproteinase inhibitor, which could, at least partially, account for its antihaemorrhagic activity. Electrophoretic evidence indicated non-covalent complex formation between the antihaemorrhagic factor and component(s) of B. jararaca venom.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849-863
Number of pages15
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1997


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