Phospholipase A2 (PLA2) from Naja naja atra (Taiwan cobra) snake venom was subjected to lysine modification with trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid (TNBS), and two major trinitrophenylated (TNP) derivatives, TNP-1 and TNP-2, were separated by h.p.l.c. TNP-1 contained only one TNP group on Lys-6 and showed a marked decrease in enzymic activity, but still retained 45% of the lethal toxicity. Both Lys-6 and Lys-65 were modified in TNP-2, and modification of Lys-65 caused a further reduction of the lethal toxicity to 12.6%. However, the antigenicity of both TNP-1 and TNP-2 remained unchanged. The reactivity of Lys-6 and Lys-65 toward TNBS was greatly enhanced by Ca2+ and dihexanoyl-lecithin, suggesting that the two Lys residues are not directly involved in the binding of Ca2+ and substrate. The modified derivatives retained their affinity for Ca2+, indicating that Lys-6 and Lys-65 did not participate in the Ca2+ binding. The TNP derivatives could be regenerated with hydrazine hydrochloride. The biological activities of the regenerated PLA2 are almost the same as those of native PLA2. These results indicate that Lys-6 and Lys-65 are important for the biological activities of PLA2, and incorporation of a bulky TNP group on Lys-6 and Lys-65 might give rise to a distortion of the active conformation of PLA2.

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