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What killed Karl Patterson Schmidt? Combined venom gland transcriptomic, venomic and antivenomic analysis of the South African green tree snake (the boomslang), Dispholidus typus

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Pla, Davinia, Sanz, Libia, Whiteley, Gareth, Wagstaff, Simon ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0577-5537, Harrison, Robert, Casewell, Nicholas ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8035-4719 and Calvete, Juan J (2017) 'What killed Karl Patterson Schmidt? Combined venom gland transcriptomic, venomic and antivenomic analysis of the South African green tree snake (the boomslang), Dispholidus typus'. BBA - Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, Vol 1861, Issue 4, pp. 814-823.

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Abstract

Background
Non-front-fanged colubroid snakes comprise about two-thirds of extant ophidian species. The medical significance of the majority of these snakes is unknown, but at least five species have caused life-threatening or fatal human envenomings. However, the venoms of only a small number of species have been explored.

Methods
A combined venomic and venom gland transcriptomic approach was employed to characterise of venom of Dispholidus typus (boomslang), the snake that caused the tragic death of Professor Karl Patterson Schmidt. The ability of CroFab™ antivenom to immunocapture boomslang venom proteins was investigated using antivenomics.

Results
Transcriptomic-assisted proteomic analysis identified venom proteins belonging to seven protein families: three-finger toxin (3FTx); phospholipase A2 (PLA2); cysteine-rich secretory proteins (CRISP); snake venom (SV) serine proteinase (SP); C-type lectin-like (CTL); SV metalloproteinases (SVMPs); and disintegrin-like/cysteine-rich (DC) proteolytic fragments. CroFab™ antivenom efficiently immunodepleted some boomslang SVMPs.

Conclusions
The present work is the first to address the overall proteomic profile of D. typus venom. This study allowed us to correlate the toxin composition with the toxic activities of the venom. The antivenomic analysis suggested that the antivenom available at the time of the unfortunate accident could have exhibited at least some immunoreactivity against the boomslang SVMPs responsible for the disseminated intravascular coagulation syndrome that caused K.P. Schmidt”s fatal outcome.

General Significance
This study may stimulate further research on other non-front-fanged colubroid snake venoms capable of causing life-threatening envenomings to humans, which in turn should contribute to prevent fatal human accidents, such as that unfortunately suffered by K.P. Schmidt.

Keywords
Boomslang;
Dispholidus typus;
non-front-fanged colubroid snake venomics;
snake venom gland transcriptomics;
antivenomics;
disseminated intravascular coagulation/ venom induced consumption coagulopathy

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QW Microbiology and Immunology > Antigens and Antibodies. Toxins and Antitoxins > QW 630 Toxins. Antitoxins
WD Disorders of Systemic, Metabolic or Environmental Origin, etc > Animal Poisons > WD 410 Reptiles
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Department of Tropical Disease Biology
Digital Object Identifer (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbagen.2017.01.020
Depositing User: Stacy Murtagh
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2017 16:17
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2019 13:33
URI: https://archive.lstmed.ac.uk/id/eprint/6772

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