The effects of two phospholipase A2 inhibitors on the neuromuscular blocking activities of homologous phospholipases A2 from the venom of Pseudechis australis, the Australian king brown snake

M Fatehi, E G Rowan, A L Harvey

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Previous studies have shown that homologous phospholipases A2 (PLA2) (Pa-3, Pa-9C, Pa-10F and Pa-11) from the venom of the Australian king brown snake, Pseudechis australis, significantly reduce the resting membrane potentials and quantal contents of endplate potentials recorded from endplate regions of mouse triangularis sterni nerve-muscle preparations. It is not clear whether PLA2 activity is essential for their neuromuscular activities. Therefore, pharmacological studies were carried out to determine whether neuromuscular activity of the toxins changed after treatment with the phospholipase A2 inhibitors 7,7-dimethyl-eicosadienoic acid (DEDA) and manoalide. After incubation of the toxins with manoalide (120 nM), or DEDA (50 microM), no PLA2 activity against 1-stearoyl 2-[3H]arachidonoylglycerophosphocholine was detected. After incubation with manoalide and/or DEDA, the toxins did not depolarize muscle fibre membranes up to 60 min after administration. However, manoalide and DEDA had different influences on the inhibitory effect of these toxic enzymes on acetylcholine release from nerve terminals. Manoalide abolished the inhibitory effect of the toxins on evoked release of acetylcholine. In contrast, DEDA was not able to prevent the reduction of quantal content of endplate potentials induced by the toxins. This study provides evidence that the depolarizing action and the inhibitory effect on release of acetylcholine exerted by these toxic PLA2 from king brown snake are independent phenomena. The evidence for this conclusion was that inhibition of enzymatic activity with an arachidonic acid analogue (DEDA) abolished the depolarizing effect of the toxins but not the effects on the quantal release of acetylcholine from mouse motor nerve terminals. The data suggest that the depolarizing effect of these toxins is probably due to the enzymatic activity. Since manoalide interacts with lysine residues of PLA2 polypeptides, and, as shown here, manoalide prevented inhibition of neurotransmitter release, lysine residues may play an important role in the inhibitory activity of these toxins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1633-1643
Number of pages11
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1995


  • acetylcholine
  • animals
  • electrophysiology
  • unsaturated fatty acids
  • male
  • membrane potentials
  • mice
  • neuromuscular blocking agents
  • neuromuscular junction
  • phosphodiesterase inhibitors
  • phospholipases A
  • phospholipases A2
  • snake venoms
  • snakes
  • synaptic transmission
  • terpenes

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