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Toxins 2017, 9(1), 10; doi:10.3390/toxins9010010

Exon Shuffling and Origin of Scorpion Venom Biodiversity

Group of Peptide Biology and Evolution, State Key Laboratory of Integrated Management of Pest Insects & Rodents, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1 Beichen West Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China
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Academic Editor: Bryan Grieg Fry
Received: 26 July 2016 / Revised: 13 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 26 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Collection Evolution of Venom Systems)
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Abstract

Scorpion venom is a complex combinatorial library of peptides and proteins with multiple biological functions. A combination of transcriptomic and proteomic techniques has revealed its enormous molecular diversity, as identified by the presence of a large number of ion channel-targeted neurotoxins with different folds, membrane-active antimicrobial peptides, proteases, and protease inhibitors. Although the biodiversity of scorpion venom has long been known, how it arises remains unsolved. In this work, we analyzed the exon-intron structures of an array of scorpion venom protein-encoding genes and unexpectedly found that nearly all of these genes possess a phase-1 intron (one intron located between the first and second nucleotides of a codon) near the cleavage site of a signal sequence despite their mature peptides remarkably differ. This observation matches a theory of exon shuffling in the origin of new genes and suggests that recruitment of different folds into scorpion venom might be achieved via shuffling between body protein-coding genes and ancestral venom gland-specific genes that presumably contributed tissue-specific regulatory elements and secretory signal sequences. View Full-Text
Keywords: scorpion venom; molecular diversity; exon-intron structure; exon shuffling scorpion venom; molecular diversity; exon-intron structure; exon shuffling
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Wang, X.; Gao, B.; Zhu, S. Exon Shuffling and Origin of Scorpion Venom Biodiversity. Toxins 2017, 9, 10.

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