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High-Throughput Identification and Analysis of Novel Conotoxins from Three Vermivorous Cone Snails by Transcriptome Sequencing

State Key Laboratory of NBC Protection for Civilian, Beijing 102205, China
Shenzhen Key Lab of Marine Genomics, Guangdong Provincial Key Lab of Molecular Breeding in Marine Economic Animals, BGI Academy of Marine Sciences, BGI Marine, BGI, Shenzhen 518083, China
BGI Genomics, BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518083, China
Laboratory of Aquatic Genomics, College of Life Sciences and Oceanography, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(3), 193;
Received: 21 February 2019 / Revised: 19 March 2019 / Accepted: 25 March 2019 / Published: 26 March 2019
PDF [1904 KB, uploaded 26 March 2019]


The venom of each Conus species consists of a diverse array of neurophysiologically active peptides, which are mostly unique to the examined species. In this study, we performed high-throughput transcriptome sequencing to extract and analyze putative conotoxin transcripts from the venom ducts of 3 vermivorous cone snails (C. caracteristicus, C. generalis, and C. quercinus), which are resident in offshore waters of the South China Sea. In total, 118, 61, and 48 putative conotoxins (across 22 superfamilies) were identified from the 3 Conus species, respectively; most of them are novel, and some possess new cysteine patterns. Interestingly, a series of 45 unassigned conotoxins presented with a new framework of C-C-C-C-C-C, and their mature regions were sufficiently distinct from any other known conotoxins, most likely representing a new superfamily. O- and M-superfamily conotoxins were the most abundant in transcript number and transcription level, suggesting their critical roles in the venom functions of these vermivorous cone snails. In addition, we identified numerous functional proteins with potential involvement in the biosynthesis, modification, and delivery process of conotoxins, which may shed light on the fundamental mechanisms for the generation of these important conotoxins within the venom duct of cone snails. View Full-Text
Keywords: Conus; conotoxin; transcriptome sequencing; phylogeny; venom duct Conus; conotoxin; transcriptome sequencing; phylogeny; venom duct

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Yao, G.; Peng, C.; Zhu, Y.; Fan, C.; Jiang, H.; Chen, J.; Cao, Y.; Shi, Q. High-Throughput Identification and Analysis of Novel Conotoxins from Three Vermivorous Cone Snails by Transcriptome Sequencing. Mar. Drugs 2019, 17, 193.

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