We report the isolation and structure-function relationship of a 23kDa metalloproteinase named atroxlysin-I from the venom of the Peruvian Bothrops atrox (Jergón). Atroxlysin is a P-I metalloproteinase and contains 204 residues. Its proteolytic activity towards dimethylcasein is enhanced by Ca+2 but inhibited by EDTA, dithiothreitol, excessive Zn+2 and α2-macroglobulin. Unlike other structurally homologous P-I metalloproteinases, atroxlysin-I causes hemorrhages. To examine its hemorrhagic activity mechanistically, we studied its function in vitro and in vivo. It cleaved the Ala14-Leu15 and Tyr16-Leu17 bonds in oxidized insulin B-chain and specifically hydrolyzed the α-chains of fibrin(ogen) in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Atroxlysin-I cleaved plasma fibronectin and other extracellular matrix proteins (collagens I and IV) and the triple-helical fragment CB3 of collagen IV, but did not degrade laminin-111. Complementarily, the laminin and collagen binding integrins α7β1 and α1β1 were cleaved by atroxlysin. Even without catalytic activity atroxlysin-I inhibited collagen- and ADP-triggered platelet aggregation.
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