Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 15, pp 6319–6331 | Cite as

Microbial production of toxins from the scorpion venom: properties and applications

  • Fernanda Gobbi AmorimEmail author
  • Francielle Almeida Cordeiro
  • Ernesto Lopes Pinheiro-Júnior
  • Johara Boldrini-França
  • Eliane Candiani ArantesEmail author


Scorpion venom are composed mainly of bioactive proteins and peptides that may serve as lead compounds for the design of biotechnological tools and therapeutic drugs. However, exploring the therapeutic potential of scorpion venom components is mainly impaired by the low yield of purified toxins from milked venom. Therefore, production of toxin-derived peptides and proteins by heterologous expression is the strategy of choice for research groups and pharmaceutical industry to overcome this limitation. Recombinant expression in microorganisms is often the first choice, since bacteria and yeast systems combine high level of recombinant protein expression, fast cell growth and multiplication and simple media requirement. Herein, we present a comprehensive revision, which describes the scorpion venom components that were produced in their recombinant forms using microbial systems. In addition, we highlight the pros and cons of performing the heterologous expression of these compounds, regarding the particularities of each microorganism and how these processes can affect the application of these venom components. The most used microbial system in the heterologous expression of scorpion venom components is Escherichia coli (85%), and among all the recombinant venom components produced, 69% were neurotoxins. This review may light up future researchers in the choice of the best expression system to produce scorpion venom components of interest.


Scorpion venom components Neurotoxins Heterologous expression Microbial systems Biotechnology Applied microbiology 


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical statement approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics and Chemistry, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Ribeirão PretoUniversity of São PauloRibeirão PretoBrazil

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