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Extensive Variation in the Activities of and Viper Venoms Suggests Divergent Envenoming Strategies Are Used for Prey Capture.

Op den Brouw, Bianca, Coimbra, Francisco C P, Bourke, Lachlan A, Huynh, Tam Minh, Vlecken, Danielle H W, Ghezellou, Parviz, Visser, Jeroen C, Dobson, James S, Fernandez-Rojo, Manuel A, Ikonomopoulou, Maria P, Casewell, Nicholas ORCID:, Ali, Syed A, Fathinia, Behzad, Hodgson, Wayne C and Fry, Bryan G (2021) 'Extensive Variation in the Activities of and Viper Venoms Suggests Divergent Envenoming Strategies Are Used for Prey Capture.'. Toxins, Vol 13, Issue 2, p. 112.

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Snakes of the genera and (Viperidae: Viperinae) are known as the desert vipers due to their association with the arid environments of the Middle East. These species have received limited research attention and little is known about their venom or ecology. In this study, a comprehensive analysis of desert viper venoms was conducted by visualising the venom proteomes via gel electrophoresis and assessing the crude venoms for their cytotoxic, haemotoxic, and neurotoxic properties. Plasmas sourced from human, toad, and chicken were used as models to assess possible prey-linked venom activity. The venoms demonstrated substantial divergence in composition and bioactivity across all experiments. venom activated human coagulation factors X and prothrombin and demonstrated potent procoagulant activity in human, toad, and chicken plasmas, in stark contrast to the potent neurotoxic venom of . The venom of also induced coagulation, though this did not appear to be via the activation of factor X or prothrombin. The coagulant properties of and venoms varied among plasmas, demonstrating strong anticoagulant activity in the amphibian and human plasmas but no significant effect in that of bird. This is conjectured to reflect prey-specific toxin activity, though further ecological studies are required to confirm any dietary associations. This study reinforces the notion that phylogenetic relatedness of snakes cannot readily predict venom protein composition or function. The significant venom variation between these species raises serious concerns regarding antivenom paraspecificity. Future assessment of antivenom is crucial.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxinology and Pharmacology of Snake Venoms
Subjects: QU Biochemistry > Genetics > QU 460 Genomics. Proteomics
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):
Depositing User: Mary Creegan
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2021 16:46
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 15:40


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