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A new Kunitz-type plasmin inhibitor from scorpion venom

Ding, Li, Wang, Xiaobo, Liu, Hongyan, San, Mingkui, Xu, Yue, Li, Jian, Li, Shan, Cao, Zhijian, Li, Wenxin, Wu, Yingliang, Chen, Zongyun
Toxicon 2015 v.106 pp. 7-13
Buthus martensii, chymotrypsin, drugs, elastase, humans, peptides, plasmin, structure-activity relationships, toxins, trypsin, venoms
Kunitz-type peptides from venomous animals are an important source of lead drug candidates towards human plasmin, a target of protease-associated diseases. However, no Kunitz-type plasmin inhibitor from venomous scorpion has been characterized. Here, we first investigated plasmin inhibiting activities of eight known Kunitz-type scorpion toxins Hg1, BmKTT-1, BmKTT-2, BmKTT-3, LmKTT-1a, LmKTT-1b, LmKTT-1c and BmKPI, and found a new plasmin inhibitor BmKTT-2, a Kunitz-type toxin peptide from the scorpion Buthus martensi karch. Protease inhibitory activity assay showed that BmKTT-2 potently inhibited plasmin with a Ki value of 8.75 ± 2.05 nM. Structure–function relationship studies between BmKTT-2 and plasmin showed that BmKTT-2 is a classical Kunitz-type plasmin inhibitor: Lys13 in BmKTT-2 is the P1 site, and Ala14 in BmKTT-2 is the P1′ site. Interestingly, BmKTT-2 has potent inhibiting activities towards three important digestive serine proteases trypsin, chymotrypsin and elastase, suggesting a good stability for administering oral medications. To the best of our knowledge, BmKTT-2 is the first Kunitz-type human plasmin inhibitor from scorpion venom, providing novel insights into drug developments targeting human plasmin protease.