Purification, crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of crotamine, a myotoxic polypeptide from the Brazilian snake Crotalus durissus terrificus
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Crotamine, a highly basic myotoxic polypeptide (molecular mass 4881 Da) isolated from the venom of the Brazilian rattlesnake Crotalus durissus terrificus, causes skeletal muscle contraction and spasms, affects the functioning of voltage-sensitive sodium channels by inducing sodium influx and possesses antitumour activity, suggesting potential pharmaceutical applications. Crotamine was purified from C. durissus terrificus venom; the crystals diffracted to 1.9 angstrom resolution and belonged to the orthorhombic space group I212121 or I222, with unit-cell parameters a = 67.75, b = 74.4, c = 81.01 angstrom. The self-rotation function indicated that the asymmetric unit contained three molecules. However, structure determination by molecular replacement using NMR-determined coordinates was unsuccessful and a search for potential derivatives has been initiated.