Venomous mammals are rare, and their venoms have not been characterized. We have purified and characterized the blarina toxin (BLTX), a lethal mammalian venom with a tissue kallikrein-like activity from the submaxillary and sublingual glands of the short-tailed shrew Blarina brevicauda. Mice administered BLTX i.p. developed irregular respiration, paralysis, and convulsions before dying. Based on the amino acid sequence of purified protein, we cloned the BLTX cDNA. It consists of a prosequence and an active form of 253 aa with a typical catalytic triad of serine proteases, with a high identity with tissue kallikreins. BLTX is an N-linked microheterogeneous glycoprotein with a unique insertion of 10 residues, L106TFFYKTFLG115. BLTX converted kininogens to kinins, which may be one of the toxic pathogens, and had dilatory effects on the blood vessel walls. The acute toxicity and proteolytic activity of BLTX were strongly inhibited by aprotinin, a kallikrein inhibitor, suggesting that its toxicity is due to a kallikrein-like activity of the venom.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - May 18 2004|
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