Vanillic acid has been investigated for its inhibitory effect on Naja naja, Daboia russellii, and Trimeresurus malabaricus venom 5′-nucleotidase activity. Trimeresurus malabaricus venom 5′-nucleotidase activity was 1.3- and 8.0-fold higher than that of N. naja and D. russellii venoms, respectively. Substrate specificity studies showed that for all the venoms tested, 5′-AMP was the preferred substrate for 5′-nucleotidase. This indicates the central role of adenosine in snake envenomation. Vanillic acid selectively and specifically inhibited 5′-nucleotidase activity among several enzymes present in the three venoms tested. The inhibitor was competitive, as the inhibition was relieved by increased substrate concentration. It appears that the COOH group in vanillic acid is the determining factor for inhibition as vanillin, a structurally similar compound with respect to vanillic acid, had no inhibitory activity. This study for the first time exemplifies vanillic acid as a pharmacological tool in evaluating the role of 5′-nucleotidase in snake envenomation.
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