Purification of a post-synaptic neurotoxic phospholipase A2 from Naja naja venom and its inhibition by a glycoprotein from Withania somnifera

Biochimie. 2006 Jun;88(6):701-10. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2005.12.006. Epub 2006 Jan 26.


A post-synaptic neurotoxic phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)) has been purified from Indian cobra Naja naja venom. It was associated with a peptide in the venom. The association was disrupted using 8 M urea. It is denoted to be a basic protein by its behavior on both ion exchange chromatography and electrophoresis. It is toxic to mice, LD(50) 1.9 mg/kg body weight (ip). It is proved to be post-synaptic PLA(2) by chymographic experiment using frog nerve-muscle preparation. A glycoprotein, (WSG) was isolated from a folk medicinal plant Withania somnifera. The WSG inhibited the phospholipase A(2) activity of NN-XIa-PLA(2,) isolated from the cobra venom, completely at a mole-to-mole ratio of 1:2 (NN-XIa-PLA(2): WSG) but failed to neutralize the toxicity of the molecule. However, it reduced the toxicity as well as prolonged the death time of the experimental mice approximately 10 times when compared to venom alone. The WSG also inhibited several other PLA(2) isoforms from the venom to varying extent. The interaction of the WSG with the PLA(2) is confirmed by fluorescence quenching and gel-permeation chromatography. Chemical modification of the active histidine residue of PLA(2) using p-brophenacyl bromide resulted in the loss of both catalytic activity as well as neurotoxicity of the molecule. These findings suggest that the venom PLA(2) has multiple sites on it; perhaps some of them are overlapping. Application of the plant extract on snakebite wound confirms the medicinal value associated with the plant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anura
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cobra Neurotoxin Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Cobra Neurotoxin Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Elapid Venoms / enzymology*
  • Elapidae
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Female
  • Glycoproteins / isolation & purification
  • Glycoproteins / pharmacology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Phospholipases A / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Phospholipases A / isolation & purification*
  • Phospholipases A2
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Withania / chemistry*


  • Cobra Neurotoxin Proteins
  • Elapid Venoms
  • Glycoproteins
  • Phospholipases A
  • Phospholipases A2