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Toxins 2018, 10(12), 501; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins10120501

Ontogenetic Change in the Venom of Mexican Black-Tailed Rattlesnakes (Crotalus molossus nigrescens)

1
Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango, Av. Universidad s/n. Fracc. Filadelfia, C.P. 35010 Gómez Palacio, Dgo., Mexico
2
Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango, Av. Artículo 123 s/n. Fracc. Filadelfia, Apartado Postal No. 51, C.P. 35010 Gómez Palacio, Dgo., Mexico
3
Instituto de Biotecnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Avenida Universidad 2001, Chamilpa, C.P. 62210 Cuernavaca, Mor., Mexico
4
Programa de Doctorado en Ciencias Biomédicas UNAM, C.P. 04510 México D.F., Mexico
5
Department of Biological Sciences, Clemson University, 190 Collings St., Clemson, SC 29634, USA
6
Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, Clemson University, 190 Collings St., Clemson, SC 29634, USA
7
Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango, Calz. Palmas 1, Revolución, 35050 Gómez Palacio, Dgo., Mexico
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 22 November 2018 / Accepted: 26 November 2018 / Published: 1 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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Abstract

Ontogenetic changes in venom composition have important ecological implications due the relevance of venom in prey acquisition and defense. Additionally, intraspecific venom variation has direct medical consequences for the treatment of snakebite. However, ontogenetic changes are not well documented in most species. The Mexican Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus nigrescens) is large-bodied and broadly distributed in Mexico. To document venom variation and test for ontogenetic changes in venom composition, we obtained venom samples from twenty-seven C. m. nigrescens with different total body lengths (TBL) from eight states in Mexico. The primary components in the venom were detected by reverse-phase HPLC, western blot, and mass spectrometry. In addition, we evaluated the biochemical (proteolytic, coagulant and fibrinogenolytic activities) and biological (LD50 and hemorrhagic activity) activities of the venoms. Finally, we tested for recognition and neutralization of Mexican antivenoms against venoms of juvenile and adult snakes. We detected clear ontogenetic venom variation in C. m. nigrescens. Venoms from younger snakes contained more crotamine-like myotoxins and snake venom serine proteinases than venoms from older snakes; however, an increase of snake venom metalloproteinases was detected in venoms of larger snakes. Venoms from juvenile snakes were, in general, more toxic and procoagulant than venoms from adults; however, adult venoms were more proteolytic. Most of the venoms analyzed were hemorrhagic. Importantly, Mexican antivenoms had difficulties recognizing low molecular mass proteins (<12 kDa) of venoms from both juvenile and adult snakes. The antivenoms did not neutralize the crotamine effect caused by the venom of juveniles. Thus, we suggest that Mexican antivenoms would have difficulty neutralizing some human envenomations and, therefore, it may be necessary improve the immunization mixture in Mexican antivenoms to account for low molecular mass proteins, like myotoxins. View Full-Text
Keywords: antivenom; crotamine-like myotoxins; life history; phenotypic variability; sexual maturity; snake venom metalloproteinases; snake venom serine proteinases antivenom; crotamine-like myotoxins; life history; phenotypic variability; sexual maturity; snake venom metalloproteinases; snake venom serine proteinases
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Borja, M.; Neri-Castro, E.; Pérez-Morales, R.; Strickland, J.L.; Ponce-López, R.; Parkinson, C.L.; Espinosa-Fematt, J.; Sáenz-Mata, J.; Flores-Martínez, E.; Alagón, A.; Castañeda-Gaytán, G. Ontogenetic Change in the Venom of Mexican Black-Tailed Rattlesnakes (Crotalus molossus nigrescens). Toxins 2018, 10, 501.

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