Despite numerous studies concerning morphology and venom production and secretion in the main venom gland (and some data on the accessory gland) of the venom glandular apparatus of Viperidae snakes, the primary duct has been overlooked. We characterized the primary duct of the Bothrops jararaca
snake by morphological analysis, immunohistochemistry and proteomics. The duct has a pseudostratified epithelium with secretory columnar cells with vesicles of various electrondensities, as well as mitochondria-rich, dark, basal, and horizontal cells. Morphological analysis, at different periods after venom extraction, showed that the primary duct has a long cycle of synthesis and secretion, as do the main venom and accessory glands; however, the duct has a mixed mode venom storage, both in the lumen and in secretory vesicles. Mouse anti-B. jararaca
venom serum strongly stained the primary duct’s epithelium. Subsequent proteomic analysis revealed the synthesis of venom toxins—mainly C-type lectin/C-type lectin-like proteins. We propose that the primary duct’s toxin synthesis products complement the final venom bolus. Finally, we hypothesize that the primary duct and the accessory gland (components of the venom glandular apparatus) are part of the evolutionary path from a salivary gland towards the main venom gland.
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