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Venom Protein C Activators as Diagnostic Agents for Defects of Protein C System

[ Vol. 25 , Issue. 7 ]


Andleeb Asmat and Faiqah Ramzan*   Pages 643 - 651 ( 9 )


Background: Protein C is a vitamin K dependent plasma zymogen. It inhibits clotting by inhibiting clotting by inactivating factor V and factor VIII. Protein C activation pathway involves three steps: (i) Activation of protein C; (ii) Inhibition of coagulation through inactivating factor V and VIII by activated protein C and (iii) Inhibition of activated protein C by plasma protease inhibitors specific for this enzyme. Proteinases converting the zymogen protein C (PC) of vertebrates into activated PC have been detected in several snake venoms. Most PC activators have been purified from venom of snake species belonging to the genera of the Agkistrodon complex. Unlike the physiological thrombin-catalyzed PC activation reaction which requires thrombomodulin as a cofactor, most snake venom activators directly convert the zymogen PC into the catalytically active form which can easily be determined by means of coagulation or chromogenic substrate techniques.

Conclusion: The fast-acting PC activator ProtacĀ® from Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix (Southern copperhead snake) venom has found a broad application in diagnostic practice for the determination of disorders in the PC pathway. Recently, screening assays for the PC pathway have been introduced, based on the observation that the PC pathway is probably the most important physiological barrier against thrombosis.


Venom protein C, plasma zymogen, thrombomodulin, chromogenic substrate, Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix, PC pathway.


Gomal Centre of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan 29050, Gomal Centre of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan 29050

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