The disulphide-bond pattern of the heterodimeric disintegrin EMF-10, a potent and selective integrin α5β1 antagonist from Eristocophis macmahoni venom, was established by combination of amino-acid analysis, N-terminal sequencing and collision-induced dissociation by nanoelectrospray ionization quadrupole ion-trap MS of fragments isolated by reversed-phase HPLC after degradation of EMF-10 with oxalic acid. Each EMF-10 subunit contains four intrachain disulphide bonds. Two interchain cystine residues join the EMF-10 polypeptides. The intrachain linkages are conserved in monomeric disintegrins. A molecular model of EMF-10 was built using averaged NMR co-ordinates of flavoridin as a template. The active hairpin loops of the EMF-10 subunits occupy opposite locations at the ends of an elongated disulphide-bond ladder. In the EMF-10 model the N-terminal polypeptide of EMF-10B is close to the RGD-loop of the EMF-10A subunit, suggesting that the N-terminal region of the B-subunit could potentially influence the biological activity of the A-subunit.

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