Venom proteomic characterization and relative antivenom neutralization of two medically important Pakistani elapid snakes (Bungarus sindanus and Naja naja)

Syed A Ali, Daryl Yang, Timothy N W Jackson, Elvind A B Undheim, Ivan Koludarov, Kelly Wood, Alun Jones, Wayne Clarence Hodgson, Sean McCarthy, Tim Ruder, Bryan G Fry

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44 Citations (Scopus)


Intra- and interspecific variation in venom composition has been shown to have a major effect upon the efficacy of antivenoms. Due to the absence of domestically produced antivenoms, Pakistan is wholly reliant upon antivenoms produced in other countries, such as India. However, the efficacy of these antivenoms in neutralising the venoms of Pakistani snakes has not been ascertained. This is symptomatic of the general state of toxicological research in this country, which has a myriad of highly toxic and medically important venomous animals. Thus, there is a dire need for knowledge regarding the fundamental proteomics of these venoms and applied knowledge of the relative efficacy of foreign antivenoms. Here we present the results of our proteomic research on two medically important snakes of Pakistan: Bungarus sindanus and Naja naja. Indian Polyvalent Antivenom (Bharat Serums and Vaccines Ltd), which is currently marketed for use in Pakistan, was completely ineffective against either Pakistani species. In addition to the expected pre- and post-synaptic neurotoxic activity, the venom of the Pakistan population of N. naja was shown to be quite divergent from other populations of this species in being potently myotoxic. These results highlight the importance of studying divergent species and isolated populations, where the same data not only elucidates clinical problems in need of immediate attention, but also uncovers sources for novel toxins with potentially useful activities. BIOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Pakistan Bungarus sindanus and Naja naja venoms are differentially complex. Naja naja is potently myotoxic. Neither venom is neutralized by Indian antivenom. These results have direct implications for the treatment of envenomed patients in Pakistan. The unusually myotoxic effects of Naja naja demonstrates the value of studying remote populations for biodiscovery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15 - 23
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Proteomics
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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