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Article

Hexapod Assassins’ Potion: Venom Composition and Bioactivity from the Eurasian Assassin Bug Rhynocoris iracundus

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Department of Bioresources, Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology, Ohlebergsweg 12, 35392 Giessen, Germany
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Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Technical University of Denmark, 2800 Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
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Research Group Mass Spectrometry/Proteomics, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Hans-Knoell-Strasse 8, 07745 Jena, Germany
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Department of Entomology, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Hans-Knöll-Straße 8, 07745 Jena, Germany
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Department of Chemistry, Technische Universität Berlin, Strasse des 17. Juni 124, 10623 Berlin, Germany
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BIH Center for Regenerative Therapies BCRT, Charité—Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 13353 Berlin, Germany
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Centre for Snakebite Research and Interventions, Department of Tropical Disease Biology, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool L3 5QA, UK
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UMR BIPAR, Laboratoire de Santé Animale, Anses, INRAE, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort, F-94700 Maisons-Alfort, France
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Institute for Insect Biotechnology, Justus Liebig University of Giessen, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26-32, 35392 Giessen, Germany
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LOEWE Centre for Translational Biodiversity Genomics (LOEWE-TBG), Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Leonardo Caputo
Biomedicines 2021, 9(7), 819; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9070819
Received: 11 June 2021 / Revised: 7 July 2021 / Accepted: 8 July 2021 / Published: 14 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in the Discovery of Novel Drugs on Natural Molecules)
Assassin bug venoms are potent and exert diverse biological functions, making them potential biomedical goldmines. Besides feeding functions on arthropods, assassin bugs also use their venom for defense purposes causing localized and systemic reactions in vertebrates. However, assassin bug venoms remain poorly characterized. We collected the venom from the assassin bug Rhynocoris iracundus and investigated its composition and bioactivity in vitro and in vivo. It caused lysis of murine neuroblastoma, hepatoma cells, and healthy murine myoblasts. We demonstrated, for the first time, that assassin bug venom induces neurolysis and suggest that it counteracts paralysis locally via the destruction of neural networks, contributing to tissue digestion. Furthermore, the venom caused paralysis and melanization of Galleria mellonella larvae and pupae, whilst also possessing specific antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli, but not Listeria grayi and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. A combinatorial proteo-transcriptomic approach was performed to identify potential toxins responsible for the observed effects. We identified neurotoxic Ptu1, an inhibitory cystin knot (ICK) toxin homologous to ω-conotoxins from cone snails, cytolytic redulysins homologous to trialysins from hematophagous kissing bugs, and pore-forming hemolysins. Additionally, chitinases and kininogens were found and may be responsible for insecticidal and cytolytic activities. We demonstrate the multifunctionality and complexity of assassin bug venom, which renders its molecular components interesting for potential biomedical applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: assassin bugs; venom; transcriptomics; proteomics; bioactivity; paralysis; cytolysis; antibacterial; neurolysis assassin bugs; venom; transcriptomics; proteomics; bioactivity; paralysis; cytolysis; antibacterial; neurolysis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rügen, N.; Jenkins, T.P.; Wielsch, N.; Vogel, H.; Hempel, B.-F.; Süssmuth, R.D.; Ainsworth, S.; Cabezas-Cruz, A.; Vilcinskas, A.; Tonk, M. Hexapod Assassins’ Potion: Venom Composition and Bioactivity from the Eurasian Assassin Bug Rhynocoris iracundus. Biomedicines 2021, 9, 819. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9070819

AMA Style

Rügen N, Jenkins TP, Wielsch N, Vogel H, Hempel B-F, Süssmuth RD, Ainsworth S, Cabezas-Cruz A, Vilcinskas A, Tonk M. Hexapod Assassins’ Potion: Venom Composition and Bioactivity from the Eurasian Assassin Bug Rhynocoris iracundus. Biomedicines. 2021; 9(7):819. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9070819

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rügen, Nicolai, Timothy P. Jenkins, Natalie Wielsch, Heiko Vogel, Benjamin-Florian Hempel, Roderich D. Süssmuth, Stuart Ainsworth, Alejandro Cabezas-Cruz, Andreas Vilcinskas, and Miray Tonk. 2021. "Hexapod Assassins’ Potion: Venom Composition and Bioactivity from the Eurasian Assassin Bug Rhynocoris iracundus" Biomedicines 9, no. 7: 819. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9070819

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