Cobra venom factor: evidence for its being altered cobra C3 (the third component of complement)

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Science  26 Mar 1976:
Vol. 191, Issue 4233, pp. 1275-1276
DOI: 10.1126/science.56780


Evidence is presented that cobra venom factor, the anticomplementary protein in Naja naja venom, is modified cobra C3 (the third component of complement). Antiserum to the cobra venom factor cross reacts with human C3. A protein in cobra serum reacts strongly with antiserum to the venom factor and the former protein, like human C3, is converted by incubation of cobra serum with endotoxin, hydrazine, or simple storage at 37 degrees C. Incubation of cobra venom factor with cobra serum destroys the C3 cleaving activity of the venom factor in human serum, whereas human C3b inactivator is ineffective. Thus, the cobra venom factor appears to be a form of C3 (perhaps C3b); its potent action in human serum probably derives from its lack of sensitivity to human C3b inactivator.