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Venoms can deleteriously affect any physiological system reachable by the bloodstream, including directly interfering with the coagulation cascade. Such coagulopathic toxins may be anticoagulants or procoagulants. Snake venoms are unique in their use of procoagulant toxins for predatory purposes. The boomslang (Dispholidus typus) and the twig snakes (Thelotornis species) are iconic African snakes belonging to the family Colubridae. Both species produce strikingly similar lethal procoagulant pathologies. Despite these similarities, antivenom is only produced for treating bites by D. typus, and the mechanisms of action of both venoms have been understudied. In this study, we investigated the venom of D. typus and T. mossambicanus utilising a range of proteomic and bioactivity approaches, including determining the procoagulant properties of both venoms in relation to the human coagulation pathways. In doing so, we developed a novel procoagulant assay, utilising a Stago STA-R Max analyser, to accurately detect real time clotting in plasma at varying concentrations of venom. This approach was used to assess the clotting capabilities of the two venoms both with and without calcium and phospholipid co-factors. We found that T. mossambicanus produced a significantly stronger coagulation response compared to D. typus. Functional enzyme assays showed that T. mossambicanus also exhibited a higher metalloprotease and phospholipase activity but had a much lower serine protease activity relative to D. typus venom. The neutralising capability of the available boomslang antivenom was also investigated on both species, with it being 11.3 times more effective upon D. typus venom than T. mossambicanus. In addition to being a faster clotting venom, T. mossambicanus was revealed to be a much more complex venom composition than D. typus. This is consistent with patterns seen for other snakes with venom complexity linked to dietary complexity. Consistent with the external morphological differences in head shape between the two species, CT and MRI analyses revealed significant internal structural differences in skull architecture and venom gland anatomy. This study increases our understanding of not only the biodiscovery potential of these medically important species but also increases our knowledge of the pathological relationship between venom and the human coagulation cascade.
This article was published in the following journal.
Theraphosid spiders (tarantulas) are venomous arthropods found in most tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Tarantula venoms are a complex cocktail of toxins with potential use as pharmacolo...
Venomous teeth are rare in fishes, which typically utilise spines for defence. A new study reveals the evolutionary origins of fangs and venom in the Nemophini blennies and shows that, in contrast to ...
New rules for access and benefit sharing (ABS) of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge have been established by the Nagoya Protocol but have not kept up with rapid scientific and tec...
Venom immunotherapy (VIT) is highly effective in preventing allergic reactions to insect stings, but the appropriate venom must be used to achieve clinical protection. In patients with multiple positi...
Scorpion venom contains peptides with neurotoxic action primarily active on ion channels in the nervous system of insects and mammals. They are also characterized as cytolytic and anticancer, biologic...
This double-blinded randomized clinical trial investigates any differences in allergic responses elicited by Bee Venom (BV) and Essential Bee Venom (e-BV).
The trial is performed to assess efficacy and safety of a purified standardised bee venom preparation in bee venom allergy
Dendritic cells (DC) play a key role in the pathogenesis of allergic diseases. The regulation of blood dendritic cells in patients with hymenoptera venom allergy before and during immune t...
Study wishes to determine if the use of injectable bee venom is a safe and effective treatment for persons with mild to moderate knee Osteoarthritis and would result in decreased report of...
The trial is performed to assess efficacy and safety of a purified standardised wasp venom preparation in wasp venom allergy
Stretches of genomic DNA that exist in different multiples between individuals. Many copy number variations have been associated with susceptibility or resistance to disease.
A form of interference microscopy in which variations of the refracting index in the object are converted into variations of intensity in the image. This is achieved by the action of a phase plate.
A branch of applied ethics that studies the value implications of practices and developments in life sciences, medicine, and health care.
Virulence factors of pathogenic plant bacteria, such as XANTHOMONAS species, that bind to specific sequences in the PROMOTER REGIONS of host DNA to induce transcription of specific host genes. Variations in the DNA binding domain of TALE family members account for the variations in DNA specificity. The TALE DNA-binding domains are used in various GENETIC TECHNIQUES by fusing them with various DNA modifying enzymes to detect and manipulate sequence-specific targeted DNA sites.
A family of extremely venomous snakes, comprising coral snakes, cobras, mambas, kraits, and sea snakes. They are widely distributed, being found in the southern United States, South America, Africa, southern Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. The elapids include three subfamilies: Elapinae, Hydrophiinae, and Lauticaudinae. Like the viperids, they have venom fangs in the front part of the upper jaw. The mambas of Africa are the most dangerous of all snakes by virtue of their size, speed, and highly toxic venom. (Goin, Goin, and Zug, Introduction to Herpetology, 3d ed, p329-33)
An assay is an analytic procedure for qualitatively assessing or quantitatively measuring the presence or amount or the functional activity of a target entity. This can be a drug or biochemical substance or a cell in an organism or organic sample. ...
Blood is a specialized bodily fluid that delivers necessary substances to the body's cells (in animals) – such as nutrients and oxygen – and transports waste products away from those same cells. In vertebrates, it is composed of blo...