Mol Immunol. 1992 Jul-Aug;29(7-8):871-82.
Crotoxin is the major neurotoxic component of the venom of the South American rattlesnake, Crotalus durissus terrificus. The crotoxin molecule is composed of two subunits: a basic and weakly toxic phospholipase A2 (PLA2) called component-B (CB), and an acidic, nonenzymatic and nontoxic subunit called component-A (CA). Crotoxin exists as a mixture of several isoforms (or variants) resulting from the association of several subunit isoforms. We prepared monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against each isolated subunit. Six anti-CA MAbs and eight anti-CB MAbs were tested for their cross-reactivities with each subunit and with other toxic and nontoxic PLA2s. Four of the six anti-CA MAbs cross-reacted with CB, whereas only one of the eight anti-CB MAbs cross-reacted with CA. Two anti-CB MAbs were found to cross-react with agkistrodotoxin, a single chain neurotoxic PLA2 purified from the venom of Agkistrodon blomhoffii brevicaudus. We determined the dissociation constants of each MAb for CA and CB isoforms and their capacities to neutralize the lethality and to inhibit the catalytic activity of crotoxin. We defined three epitopic regions on CA and four on CB, and used a schematic representation of the two subunits to characterize these epitopic regions with respect to: (1) the “toxic” and the “catalytic” sites of CB, and (2) the zone of interaction between the two subunits. We propose three-dimensional structures of the crotoxin subunits in which we localize amino acid residues that might be involved in the epitopic regions described here.