Pa-11, a phospholipase A2 isolated from the venom of an Australian elapid snake Pseudechis australis, was chemically modified and its enzymic, neuromuscular and lethal activities were studied. Carboxymethylation of Met-8 gave a derivative with 2% of the enzymic activity and less than 3% of the lethal activity of native Pa-11; it had about 5% of the original ability to block directly and indirectly stimulated mouse phrenic nerve-hemidiaphragm preparations. Nitrophenylsulfenylation of tryptophanyl residues at positions 31 and 69 caused loss of all activities. Amidination of all 14 lysyl residues gave a derivative with 41% and 16% of the enzymic and lethal activities, respectively, but with less than 5% of the original neuromuscular blocking activity. Mono-carbamoylation of lysyl residues at positions 58, 63, 81 and 85 was achieved. The most abundant derivative, 58-carbamoyl-lysine Pa-11 was enzymically 130% and lethally 100% as active as native Pa-11, but it had only about 20% of the native's neuromuscular activity in vitro. 63-Carbamoyl-lysine Pa-11 had 10% of the enzymic and 20% of the lethal activities, respectively; however, it retained at least 50% of its ability to block neuromuscular transmission in vitro, while losing most of its activity to block directly stimulated muscle contractions. 81- and 85-Carbamoyl derivatives have the same enzymic and lethal activities as the original protein, but the 85 derivative had less than 10% of the native neuromuscular activity. Hence, modifications of lysine residues at positions 58, 63 and 85 seem to be particularly significant in altering the neuromuscular, but not enzymic, activity of Pa-11, perhaps by altering the ability of the toxin to bind to its target on nerve and muscle membranes. Modification at position 63 appeared to lead to a dissociation of effects on neuromuscular transmission and directly on muscle cells.
- Pseudechis australis
- phospholipase A2