Mass spectrometric characterization of two novel inflammatory peptides from the venom of the social wasp Polybia paulista
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The social wasp P. paulista is relatively common in southeast Brazil causing many medically important stinging incidents. The seriousness of these incidents is dependent on the amount of venom inoculated by the wasps into the victims, and the characteristic envenomation symptoms are strongly dependent on the types of peptides present in the venom. In order to identify some of these naturally occurring peptides available in very low amounts, an analytical protocol was developed that uses a combination of reversed-phase and normal-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) of wasp venom for peptide purification, with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight post-source decay mass spectrometry (MALDI-Tof-PSD-MS) and low-energy collision-induced dissociation (CID) in a quadrupole time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry (QTof-MS/MS) instrument for peptide sequencing at the sub-picomole level. The distinction between Leu and Ile was achieved both by observing d-type fragment ions obtained under CID conditions and by comparison of retention times of the natural peptides and their synthetic counterparts (with different combinations of I and/or L at N- and C-terminal positions). To distinguish the isobaric residues K and Q, acetylation of peptides was followed by Q-Tof-MS analysis. The primary sequences obtained were INWLKLGKMVIDAL-NH2 (MW 1611.98Da) and IDWLKLGKMVMDVL-NH2 (MW 1658.98Da). Micro-scale bioassay protocols characterized both peptides as presenting potent hemolytic action, mast cell degranulation, and chemotaxis of poly-morphonucleated leukocyte (PMNL) cells. The primary sequences and the bioassay results suggest that these toxins constitute members of a new sub-class of mastoparan toxins, directly involved in the occurrence of inflammatory processes after wasp stinging. Copyright (C) 2004 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.