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Enter the Dragon: The Dynamic and Multifunctional Evolution of Anguimorpha Lizard Venoms

Venom Evolution Lab, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, St. Lucia QLD 4072, Australia
Australian Venom Research Unit, School of Biomedical Sciences, Level 2 Medical Building, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
Department of Biosciences, College of Science, Swansea University, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK
University of the Sunshine Coast, School of Science and Engineering, Sippy Downs, Queensland 4558, Australia
Gradient Scientific and Technical Diving, Rye, Victoria 3941, Australia
Department of Earth and Biological Sciences, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA 92350, USA
School of Biomedical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane QLD 4001, Australia
Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Macau, Avenida da Universidade, Taipa, Macau
School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Queenslnd, St. Lucia QLD 4072, Australia
Alphabiotoxine Laboratory sprl, Barberie 15, 7911 Montroeul-au-bois, Belgium
School of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Queenslnd, St. Lucia QLD 4072, Australia
Veterinary Department, Ocean Park, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2017, 9(8), 242;
Received: 5 June 2017 / Revised: 4 August 2017 / Accepted: 4 August 2017 / Published: 6 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Collection Evolution of Venom Systems)
PDF [14820 KB, uploaded 21 August 2017]


While snake venoms have been the subject of intense study, comparatively little work has been done on lizard venoms. In this study, we have examined the structural and functional diversification of anguimorph lizard venoms and associated toxins, and related these results to dentition and predatory ecology. Venom composition was shown to be highly variable across the 20 species of Heloderma, Lanthanotus, and Varanus included in our study. While kallikrein enzymes were ubiquitous, they were also a particularly multifunctional toxin type, with differential activities on enzyme substrates and also ability to degrade alpha or beta chains of fibrinogen that reflects structural variability. Examination of other toxin types also revealed similar variability in their presence and activity levels. The high level of venom chemistry variation in varanid lizards compared to that of helodermatid lizards suggests that venom may be subject to different selection pressures in these two families. These results not only contribute to our understanding of venom evolution but also reveal anguimorph lizard venoms to be rich sources of novel bioactive molecules with potential as drug design and development lead compounds. View Full-Text
Keywords: venom; lizard; evolution; Toxicofera; coagulation; fibrinogen; proteomics venom; lizard; evolution; Toxicofera; coagulation; fibrinogen; proteomics

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Koludarov, I.; Jackson, T.N.; Brouw, B.; Dobson, J.; Dashevsky, D.; Arbuckle, K.; Clemente, C.J.; Stockdale, E.J.; Cochran, C.; Debono, J.; Stephens, C.; Panagides, N.; Li, B.; Manchadi, M.-L.; Violette, A.; Fourmy, R.; Hendrikx, I.; Nouwens, A.; Clements, J.; Martelli, P.; Kwok, H.F.; Fry, B.G. Enter the Dragon: The Dynamic and Multifunctional Evolution of Anguimorpha Lizard Venoms. Toxins 2017, 9, 242.

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