Common evolution of waprin and kunitz-like toxin families in Australian venomous snakes

  • L. St Pierre
  • S. T. Earl
  • I. Filippovich
  • N. Sorokina
  • P. P. Masci
  • J. De Jersey
  • M. F. Lavin
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00018-008-8573-5

Cite this article as:
St Pierre, L., Earl, S.T., Filippovich, I. et al. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2008) 65: 4039. doi:10.1007/s00018-008-8573-5

Abstract.

The venoms of Australian snakes contain a myriad of pharmacologically active toxin components. This study describes the identification and comparative analysis of two distinct toxin families, the kunitztype serine protease inhibitors and waprins, and demonstrates a previously unknown evolutionary link between the two. Multiple cDNA and full-length gene isoforms were cloned and shown to be composed of three exons separated by two introns. A high degree of identity was observed solely within the first exon which coded for the propeptide sequence and its cleavage site, and indicates that each toxin family has arisen from a gene duplication event followed by diversification only within the portion of the gene coding for the functional toxin. It is proposed that while the mechanism of toxin secretion is highly conserved, diversification of mature toxin sequences allows for the existence of multiple protein isoforms in the venom to adapt to variations within the prey environment.

Keywords.

Elapidwaprinkunitz-like inhibitorsvenomtoxingene

Supplementary material

18_2008_8573_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1 mb)
(PDF 1038 kb)

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. St Pierre
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. T. Earl
    • 1
    • 2
  • I. Filippovich
    • 1
  • N. Sorokina
    • 1
  • P. P. Masci
    • 3
  • J. De Jersey
    • 3
  • M. F. Lavin
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.The Queensland Cancer Fund Research UnitThe Queensland Institute of Medical ResearchBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Center for Clinical ResearchThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Medicine, Southern Clinical DivisionThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia