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Toxins 2018, 10(10), 392; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins10100392

Organic and Peptidyl Constituents of Snake Venoms: The Picture Is Vastly More Complex Than We Imagined

1
Division of Research Support, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, 1919-1 Tancha, Onna-son, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa 904-0495, Japan
2
Division of Faculty Affairs and Ecology and Evolution Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, 1919-1 Tancha, Onna-son, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa 904-0495, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 August 2018 / Revised: 18 September 2018 / Accepted: 20 September 2018 / Published: 26 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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Abstract

Small metabolites and peptides in 17 snake venoms (Elapidae, Viperinae, and Crotalinae), were quantified using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Each venom contains >900 metabolites and peptides. Many small organic compounds are present at levels that are probably significant in prey envenomation, given that their known pharmacologies are consistent with snake envenomation strategies. Metabolites included purine nucleosides and their bases, neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, guanidino compounds, carboxylic acids, amines, mono- and disaccharides, and amino acids. Peptides of 2–15 amino acids are also present in significant quantities, particularly in crotaline and viperine venoms. Some constituents are specific to individual taxa, while others are broadly distributed. Some of the latter appear to support high anabolic activity in the gland, rather than having toxic functions. Overall, the most abundant organic metabolite was citric acid, owing to its predominance in viperine and crotaline venoms, where it chelates divalent cations to prevent venom degradation by venom metalloproteases and damage to glandular tissue by phospholipases. However, in terms of their concentrations in individual venoms, adenosine, adenine, were most abundant, owing to their high titers in Dendroaspis polylepis venom, although hypoxanthine, guanosine, inosine, and guanine all numbered among the 50 most abundant organic constituents. A purine not previously reported in venoms, ethyl adenosine carboxylate, was discovered in D. polylepis venom, where it probably contributes to the profound hypotension caused by this venom. Acetylcholine was present in significant quantities only in this highly excitotoxic venom, while 4-guanidinobutyric acid and 5-guanidino-2-oxopentanoic acid were present in all venoms. View Full-Text
Keywords: snake venoms; metabolites; peptides; purine nucleosides and bases; neurotransmitters; neuromodulators; guanidinium compounds; carboxylic acids; amines; mono- and disaccharides; amino acids snake venoms; metabolites; peptides; purine nucleosides and bases; neurotransmitters; neuromodulators; guanidinium compounds; carboxylic acids; amines; mono- and disaccharides; amino acids
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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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Villar-Briones, A.; Aird, S.D. Organic and Peptidyl Constituents of Snake Venoms: The Picture Is Vastly More Complex Than We Imagined. Toxins 2018, 10, 392.

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