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Asian Journal of Biological Sciences
  Year: 2019 | Volume: 12 | Issue: 3 | Page No.: 396-403
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Major Enzymes from Snake Venoms: Mechanisms of Action and Pharmacological Applications

Ibrahim Sani , Rabi`u Aliyu Umar, Sanusi Wara Hassan , Umar Zaki Faruq, Abubakar Abdulhamid , Fatima Bello and Isah Musa Fakai

Biochemically, snake venoms are complex mixtures of pharmacologically active proteins and polypeptides. Some of these proteins exhibit enzymatic activities, whereas others are non-enzymatic. The most common enzymes in snake venoms are phospholipase A2s, serine proteinases, metalloproteinases, acetylcholinesterases, L-amino acid oxidases and hyaluronidases. This review was aimed at presenting the salient features of these enzymes, their structures, mechanisms of action and some pharmacological applications. The activities of snake venom enzymes are considered to be target specific and mimic the whole venom poisoning by exhibiting a wide variety of toxic effects. These enzymes are now target interest to researchers as they can be employed in the treatment of certain clinical conditions. Phospholipases A2 and L-amino acid oxidases are used in the treatment of certain cancers. Serine proteinases are employed in the treatment of thrombocytopenia, thrombosis and acute ischemic stroke. They also serve as important tools in the study of hemostasis and are clinically used for clotting assays, diagnosis, study of platelet function, as defibrinogenating agents to investigate dysfibrinogenemias. Metalloproteinases can be used for treating neuro-degenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Hyaluronidases have been used as diffusion promoters for active substances like drugs, the treatment of hyaluronan-induced diseases like cancers and in the aesthetic medicine. Some of these enzymes exhibit multiple pharmacological functions, hence, they are of significant importance in developing therapeutic prototypes and lead agents for various human diseases and ailments due to their higher catalytic efficiency, heat stability and resistance to proteolysis as well as their abundance compared with non-venom homologs.
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How to cite this article:

Ibrahim Sani, Rabi`u Aliyu Umar, Sanusi Wara Hassan, Umar Zaki Faruq, Abubakar Abdulhamid, Fatima Bello and Isah Musa Fakai, 2019. Major Enzymes from Snake Venoms: Mechanisms of Action and Pharmacological Applications. Asian Journal of Biological Sciences, 12: 396-403.




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