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Tanunda, Australia

Skejic J.,University of Melbourne | Skejic J.,Monash University | Steer D.L.,Monash University | Dunstan N.,Venom Supplies Pty. Ltd. | Hodgson W.C.,Monash University
Journal of Proteome Research | Year: 2015

This study demonstrates a direct role of venom protein expression alteration in the evolution of snake venom toxicity. Avian skeletal muscle contractile response to exogenously administered acetylcholine is completely inhibited upon exposure to South Australian and largely preserved following exposure to Queensland eastern brown snake Pseudonaja textilis venom, indicating potent postsynaptic neurotoxicity of the former and lack thereof of the latter venom. Label-free quantitative proteomics reveals extremely large differences in the expression of postsynaptic three-finger α-neurotoxins in these venoms, explaining the difference in the muscle contractile response and suggesting that the type of toxicity induced by venom can be modified by altered expression of venom proteins. Furthermore, the onset of neuromuscular paralysis in the rat phrenic nerve-diaphragm preparation occurs sooner upon exposure to the venom (10 μg/mL) with high expression of α-neurotoxins than the venoms containing predominately presynaptic β-neurotoxins. The study also finds that the onset of rat plasma coagulation is faster following exposure to the venoms with higher expression of venom prothrombin activator subunits. This is the first quantitative proteomic study that uses extracted ion chromatogram peak areas (MS1 XIC) of distinct homologous tryptic peptides to directly show the differences in the expression of venom proteins. © 2015 American Chemical Society. Source

Jackson T.N.W.,University of Queensland | Sunagar K.,University of Porto | Undheim E.A.B.,University of Queensland | Koludarov I.,University of Queensland | And 7 more authors.
Toxins | Year: 2013

Despite the unparalleled diversity of venomous snakes in Australia, research has concentrated on a handful of medically significant species and even of these very few toxins have been fully sequenced. In this study, venom gland transcriptomes were sequenced from eleven species of small Australian elapid snakes, from eleven genera, spanning a broad phylogenetic range. The particularly large number of sequences obtained for three-finger toxin (3FTx) peptides allowed for robust reconstructions of their dynamic molecular evolutionary histories. We demonstrated that each species preferentially favoured different types of α-neurotoxic 3FTx, probably as a result of differing feeding ecologies. The three forms of α-neurotoxin [Type I (also known as (aka): short-chain), Type II (aka: long-chain) and Type III] not only adopted differential rates of evolution, but have also conserved a diversity of residues, presumably to potentiate prey-specific toxicity. Despite these differences, the different α-neurotoxin types were shown to accumulate mutations in similar regions of the protein, largely in the loops and structurally unimportant regions, highlighting the significant role of focal mutagenesis. We theorize that this phenomenon not only affects toxin potency or specificity, but also generates necessary variation for preventing/delaying prey animals from acquiring venom-resistance. This study also recovered the first full-length sequences for multimeric phospholipase A2 (PLA2) 'taipoxin/paradoxin' subunits from non-Oxyuranus species, confirming the early recruitment of this extremely potent neurotoxin complex to the venom arsenal of Australian elapid snakes. We also recovered the first natriuretic peptides from an elapid that lack the derived C-terminal tail and resemble the plesiotypic form (ancestral character state) found in viper venoms. This provides supporting evidence for a single early recruitment of natriuretic peptides into snake venoms. Novel forms of kunitz and waprin peptides were recovered, including dual domain kunitz-kunitz precursors and the first kunitz-waprin hybrid precursors from elapid snakes. The novel sequences recovered in this study reveal that the huge diversity of unstudied venomous Australian snakes are of considerable interest not only for the investigation of venom and whole organism evolution but also represent an untapped bioresource in the search for novel compounds for use in drug design and development. © 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Source

Reeks T.,The University of Queensland | Lavergne V.,The University of Queensland | Sunagar K.,Hebrew University of Jerusalem | Jones A.,The University of Queensland | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Proteomics | Year: 2016

Australian elapid venom remains an under-investigated resource of novel bioactive peptides. In this study, the venom gland transcriptomes and proteomes of the Australian western brown snakes, Pseudonaja aspidorhyncha and Pseudonaja nuchalis, were compared to Pseudonaja textilis. A deep venomics strategy incorporating high throughput 454 pyrosequencing gave a total of 200,911 raw reads for the three venoms. Subsequent annotation identified 5716 transcripts from 20 different toxin families with inter-specific variation between species observed in eight of the less abundant families. Integration of each venom proteome with the corresponding annotated reads identified 65 isoforms from six toxin families; high sequence coverage highlighted subtle differences between sequences and intra and inter-specific variation between species. High quality MS/MS data identified unusual glycoforms with natriuretic peptides from P. aspidorhyncha and P. nuchaliscontaining O-linked trisaccharides with high homology to the glycosylated region of TNPc. Molecular evolutionary assessments indicated the accelerated evolution of all toxin families with the exception of both natriuretic peptides and P. aspidorhyncha PLA2s that were found to be evolutionarily constrained under purifying selection pressures. This study has revealed a wide range of novel peptide sequences from six bioactive peptide families and highlights the subtle differences between toxins in these closely related species. Biological significance: Mining Australia's vastly untapped source of toxins from its venomous creatures has been significantly advanced by employing deep venomics methodology. Technological advances in transcriptome analysis using next generation sequencing platforms and proteome analysis by highly sensitive tandem mass spectrometry allowed a more comprehensive interrogation of three underinvestigated brown snake (Pseudonaja) venoms uncovering many novel peptide sequences that are unique to these closely related species. This generic strategy will provide invaluable information when applied to other venomous snakes for a deeper understanding of venom composition, envenomation, venom evolution, as well as identifying research tools and drug leads. © 2015 Published by Elsevier B.V. Source

Chatrath S.T.,National University of Singapore | Chapeaurouge A.,National University of Singapore | Chapeaurouge A.,Instituto Oswaldo Cruz | Lin Q.,National University of Singapore | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Proteome Research | Year: 2011

We have investigated the transcriptome and proteome of the venom of a cryptic Australian elapid snake Drysdalia coronoides. To probe into the transcriptome, we constructed a partial cDNA library from the venom gland of D. coronoides. The proteome of the venom of D. coronoides was explored by tryptic digestion of the crude venom followed by HPLC separation of the resulting peptides and MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometric analysis. Importantly, the tandem MS data of the tryptic peptides of the venom not only confirmed the predicted protein sequences deduced from the transcriptome, but also added to our knowledge about the venom composition through identification of two more toxin families. Using both the approaches, we were able to identify proteins belonging to eight different snake venom protein superfamilies, namely, three-finger toxins, serine protease inhibitors, cysteine rich secretory proteins, phospholipases A 2, venom nerve growth factors, snake venom metalloproteases, vespryns, and a new family phospholipase B. We also identified three novel proteins belonging to the three-finger toxin superfamily. © 2011 American Chemical Society. Source

McCleary R.J.R.,National University of Singapore | McCleary R.J.R.,Utah State University | Sridharan S.,National University of Singapore | Dunstan N.L.,Venom Supplies Pty. Ltd. | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Proteomics | Year: 2016

Snake venom is a highly variable phenotypic character, and its variation and rapid evolution are important because of human health implications. Because much snake antivenom is produced from captive animals, understanding the effects of captivity on venom composition is important. Here, we have evaluated toxin profiles from six long-term (LT) captive and six recently wild-caught (RC) eastern brown snakes, Pseudonaja textilis, utilizing gel electrophoresis, HPLC-MS, and shotgun proteomics. We identified proteins belonging to the three-finger toxins, group C prothrombin activators, Kunitz-type serine protease inhibitors, and phospholipases A2, among others. Although crude venom HPLC analysis showed LT snakes to be higher in some small molecular weight toxins, presence/absence patterns showed no correlation with time in captivity. Shotgun proteomics indicated the presence of similar toxin families among individuals but with variation in protein species. Although no venom sample contained all the phospholipase A2 subunits that form the textilotoxin, all did contain both prothrombin activator subunits. This study indicates that captivity has limited effects on venom composition, that venom variation is high, and that venom composition may be correlated to geographic distribution. Biological significance: Through proteomic comparisons, we show that protein variation within LT and RC groups of snakes (Pseudonaja textilis) is high, thereby resulting in no discernible differences in venom composition between groups. We utilize complementary techniques to characterize the venom proteomes of 12 individual snakes from our study area, and indicate that individuals captured close to one another have more similar venom gel electrophoresis patterns than those captured at more distant locations. These data are important for understanding natural variation in and potential effects of captivity on venom composition. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. Source

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