L-amino acid oxidases are widely found in snake venoms and are thought to contribute to the toxicity upon envenomation. The mechanism of these toxic effects and whether they result from the enzymatic activity are still uncertain although many papers describing the biological and pharmacological effects of L-amino acid oxidases have appeared recently, which provide more information about their action on platelets, induction of apoptosis, haemorrhagic effects, and cytotoxicity. This review summarizes the physiochemical properties, structural characteristics and various biological functions of snake venom L-amino acid oxidases (SV-LAAOs). In addition, the putative mechanisms of SV-LAAO-induced platelet aggregation and apoptosis of cells are discussed in more detail.
Copright 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd.