Label-free (XIC) quantification of venom procoagulant and neurotoxin expression in related australian elapid snakes gives insight into venom toxicity evolution

Jure Skejic, David L Steer, Nathan Dunstan, Wayne C Hodgson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study demonstrates a direct role of venom protein expression alteration in the evolution of snake venom toxicity. Avian skeletal muscle contractile response to exogenously administered acetylcholine is completely inhibited upon exposure to South Australian and largely preserved following exposure to Queensland eastern brown snake Pseudonaja textilis venom, indicating potent postsynaptic neurotoxicity of the former and lack thereof of the latter venom. Label-free quantitative proteomics reveals extremely large differences in the expression of postsynaptic three-finger alpha-neurotoxins in these venoms, explaining the difference in the muscle contractile response and suggesting that the type of toxicity induced by venom can be modified by altered expression of venom proteins. Furthermore, the onset of neuromuscular paralysis in the rat phrenic nerve-diaphragm preparation occurs sooner upon exposure to the venom (10 mug/mL) with high expression of alpha-neurotoxins than the venoms containing predominately presynaptic beta-neurotoxins. The study also finds that the onset of rat plasma coagulation is faster following exposure to the venoms with higher expression of venom prothrombin activator subunits. This is the first quantitative proteomic study that uses extracted ion chromatogram peak areas (MS1 XIC) of distinct homologous tryptic peptides to directly show the differences in the expression of venom proteins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4896 - 4906
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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