A new platelet antagonist, tokaracetin, was isolated from the venom of Trimeresurus tokarensis by ion-exchange chromatography, heparin-Sepharose chromatography and hydrophobic HPLC. The purified protein showed an apparent molecular mass on SDS/PAGE of 28.9 kDa under non-reducing conditions. On reduction, 16.1 and 15.4 kDa subunits were observed, suggesting that the molecule is a heterodimer. Tokaracetin inhibited the binding of 125I-labelled bovine von Willebrand factor (vWF) and 125I-labelled human vWF in the presence of botrocetin to fixed human platelets. It did not block ADP-, collagen- or thrombin receptor agonist peptide-induced platelet aggregation in human platelet-rich plasma (PRP), or induce platelet agglutination in PRP. On reduction, tokaracetin lost its inhibitory activity on the agglutination of fixed human platelets by bovine vWF. 125I-Tokaracetin specifically bound to washed human platelets with high affinity (K(d) 3.9 ± 1.4 nM) at 47440 ± 2780 binding sites per platelet. Binding of tokaracetin to fixed human platelets was reversible, and was inhibited by monoclonal antibody GUR83-35, which is directed against the N-terminal vWF-binding domain of human glycoprotein Ib (GPIb). Tokaracetin completely inhibited vWF-dependent shear-induced platelet aggregation in PRP at 3 μg/ml. The N-terminal amino acid sequences of tokaracetin subunits showed a high degree of identity with those of alboaggregin-B. These results suggest that this new platelet antagonist may be a useful tool in the development of specific inhibitors of the vWF-GPIb interaction.
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