Scorpion venoms are complex polypeptide mixtures, the ion channel blockers and antimicrobial peptides being the best studied components. The coagulopathic properties of scorpion venoms are poorly studied and the data about substances exhibiting these properties are very limited. During research on the Heterometrus laoticus scorpion venom, we have isolated low-molecular compounds with anticoagulant activity. Determination of their structure has shown that one of them is adenosine, and two others are dipeptides LeuTrp and IleTrp. The anticoagulant properties of adenosine, an inhibitor of platelet aggregation, are well known, but its presence in scorpion venom is shown for the first time. The dipeptides did not influence the coagulation time in standard plasma coagulation tests. However, similarly to adenosine, both peptides strongly prolonged the bleeding time from mouse tail and in vitro clot formation in whole blood. The dipeptides inhibited the secondary phase in platelet aggregation induced by ADP, and IleTrp decreased an initial rate of platelet aggregation induced by collagen. This suggests that their anticoagulant effects may be realized through the deterioration of platelet function. The ability of short peptides from venom to slow down blood coagulation and their presence in scorpion venom are established for the first time. Further studies are needed to elucidate the precise molecular mechanism of dipeptide anticoagulant activity.
Keywords: adenosine; blood coagulation; peptide; scorpion; venom.