Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 183–193 | Cite as

Molecular Cloning of Echis ocellatus Disintegrins Reveals Non-Venom-Secreted Proteins and a Pathway for the Evolution of Ocellatusin

  • Paula Juárez
  • Simon C. Wagstaff
  • Libia Sanz
  • Robert A. Harrison
  • Juan J. Calvete


We report the cloning and sequence analysis of Echis ocellatus cDNAs coding for dimeric disintegrin subunits and for the short disintegrin ocellatusin. All the dimeric disintegrin subunit messengers belong to the short-coding class, indicating that short messengers may be more widely distributed than previously thought. Mass spectrometric analysis of the HPLC-separated venom proteins was performed to characterize the dimeric disintegrins expressed in the venom proteome. In addition to previously reported EO4 and EO5 heterodimers, a novel dimeric disintegrin containing RGD- and KGD-bearing subunits was identified. However, a WGD-containing polypeptide encoded by clone Eo1-1 was not detected in the venom, suggesting the occurrence of larger genomic than proteomic diversity, which could represent part of a non-venom-secreted reservoir of disintegrin that may eventually acquire physiological relevance for the snake upon changes of ecological niches and prey habits. On the other hand, the realization of the existence of two distinct messengers coding for the short disintegrin ocellatusin reveals key events of the evolutionary emergence of the short disintegrin ocellatusin from a short-coding dimeric disintegrin precursor by two nucleotide mutations.


Snake venom Echis ocellatus cDNA cloning Disintegrin evolution Ocellatusin precursor 



This work was financed by Grant BFU2004-01432 from the Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, Madrid, Spain (to J.J.C.). P.J. and L.S. are recipients of a predoctoral fellowship (FPI; formación de personal investigador) from the Spanish Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia and a postdoctoral I3P contract, respectively. R.A.H. and S.C.W. were funded by the Wellcome Trust.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paula Juárez
    • 1
  • Simon C. Wagstaff
    • 2
  • Libia Sanz
    • 1
  • Robert A. Harrison
    • 2
  • Juan J. Calvete
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Biomedicina de ValenciaCSICSpain
  2. 2.Alistair Reid Venom Research UnitLiverpool School of Tropical MedicineLiverpoolUK

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