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Open AccessArticle

Hadrurid Scorpion Toxins: Evolutionary Conservation and Selective Pressures

1
Department of Biology, Eastern Connecticut State University, 83 Windham St. Willimantic, CT 06266, USA
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Department of Integrative Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 430 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA
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Departamento de Medicina Molecular y Bioprocesos, Instituto de Biotecnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Avenida Universidad 2001, Cuernavaca, Morelos 62210, Mexico
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2019, 11(11), 637; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11110637
Received: 20 September 2019 / Revised: 30 October 2019 / Accepted: 30 October 2019 / Published: 1 November 2019
Scorpion toxins are thought to have originated from ancestral housekeeping genes that underwent diversification and neofunctionalization, as a result of positive selection. Our understanding of the evolutionary origin of these peptides is hindered by the patchiness of existing taxonomic sampling. While recent studies have shown phylogenetic inertia in some scorpion toxins at higher systematic levels, evolutionary dynamics of toxins among closely related taxa remain unexplored. In this study, we used new and previously published transcriptomic resources to assess evolutionary relationships of closely related scorpions from the family Hadruridae and their toxins. In addition, we surveyed the incidence of scorpine-like peptides (SLP, a type of potassium channel toxin), which were previously known from 21 scorpion species. We demonstrate that scorpine-like peptides exhibit gene duplications. Our molecular analyses demonstrate that only eight sites of two SLP copies found in scorpions are evolving under positive selection, with more sites evolving under negative selection, in contrast to previous findings. These results show evolutionary conservation in toxin diversity at shallow taxonomic scale. View Full-Text
Keywords: evolutionary shifts; Hadruridae; negative selection; phylogenomics; venom transcriptome evolutionary shifts; Hadruridae; negative selection; phylogenomics; venom transcriptome
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Santibáñez-López, C.E.; Graham, M.R.; Sharma, P.P.; Ortiz, E.; Possani, L.D. Hadrurid Scorpion Toxins: Evolutionary Conservation and Selective Pressures. Toxins 2019, 11, 637.

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