Protease Activity Profiling of Snake Venoms Using High-Throughput Peptide Screening

Toxins (Basel). 2019 Mar 19;11(3):170. doi: 10.3390/toxins11030170.


Snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMPs) and snake venom serine proteinases (SVSPs) are among the most abundant enzymes in many snake venoms, particularly among viperids. These proteinases are responsible for some of the clinical manifestations classically seen in viperid envenomings, including hemorrhage, necrosis, and coagulopathies. The objective of this study was to investigate the enzymatic activities of these proteins using a high-throughput peptide library to screen for the proteinase targets of the venoms of five viperid (Echis carinatus, Bothrops asper, Daboia russelii, Bitis arietans, Bitis gabonica) and one elapid (Naja nigricollis) species of high medical importance. The proteinase activities of these venoms were each tested against 360 peptide substrates, yielding 2160 activity profiles. A nonlinear regression model that accurately described the observed enzymatic activities was fitted to the experimental data, allowing for the comparison of cleavage rates across species. In this study, previously unknown protein targets of snake venom proteinases were identified, potentially implicating novel human and animal proteins that may be involved in the pathophysiology of viper envenomings. The functional relevance of these targets was further evaluated and discussed. These new findings may contribute to our understanding of the clinical manifestations and underlying biochemical mechanisms of snakebite envenoming by viperid species.

Keywords: enzymatic profile; high-throughput; modeling; peptide substrates; proteinase activity; screening; snake venom proteinases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays
  • Naja
  • Peptide Hydrolases / chemistry*
  • Peptides / chemistry*
  • Reptilian Proteins / chemistry*
  • Snake Venoms / enzymology*
  • Viperidae


  • Peptides
  • Reptilian Proteins
  • Snake Venoms
  • Peptide Hydrolases