The Protein Journal

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 353–360 | Cite as

Comparative Profiling of Three Atheris Snake Venoms: A. squamigera, A. nitschei and A. chlorechis

  • He WangEmail author
  • Xiaole ChenEmail author
  • Enrico König
  • Mei Zhou
  • Lei Wang
  • Tianbao Chen
  • Chris Shaw


A proteomic and transcriptomic comparative analysis of the venoms of three Atheris species (A. squamigera, A. nitschei and A. chlorechis) was carried out by size exclusion liquid chromatography, gel electrophoresis, mass spectrometry, and mRNA sequencing. The improved proteomic profiling utilised in this work was combined with transcript studies, advancing our insights into venom composition, protein distribution and inter-species variation among the three bush vipers. Crude venoms of all three samples contained at least 10–20 protein components, ranging in size from ≤ 3 to > 98 kDa. Both approaches yielded converging overall information, pointing to phospholipases, disintegrins, serine proteases and metalloproteases as the major toxin classes, which are likely to explain the local and systemic symptoms observed in envenomation by Atheris genus. Being considered as the main factors involved in the distinct venom-induced pathologies, these identified snake venom proteins are of particular interest in terms of understanding their physiological and biological function as well as for their contribution in potential medical treatments.


Atheris Proteomics Snake venom Toxins 


A. chlorechis

Atheris chlorechis

A. nitschei

Atheris Nitschei

A. squamigera

Atheris squamigera


Bicinchoninic acid


Basic Local Alignment Search Tool


Conserved domain database


Complementary DNA


Alpha-cyano-5-hydroxycinnamic acid


Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization, time-of-flight


Messenger RNA


Mass spectrometry


National Centre of Biotechnology Information


Nested universal primer


Phosphate buffered saline


Polymerase chain reaction


Poly-histidine and poly-glycine


Rapid Amplifiction of cDNA Ends


Sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis


Size exclusion chromatography


Switching Mechanism At 5′ end of RNA Transcript


Snake venom metalloproteinases


Snake venom serine proteinases



The project was kindly supported by the Science Foundation of Education Department of Fujian Province, China (Grant No. JAT160247), the Young Talent Project of Health Department of Fujian Province, China (Grant No. 2017-1-69) and the Joint Funds for the innovation of science and Technology, Fujian province (Grant No. 2016Y9048).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Supplementary material

10930_2018_9781_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1119 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Integrative MedicineFujian University of Traditional Chinese MedicineFuzhouChina
  2. 2.School of PharmacyFujian Medical UniversityFuzhouChina
  3. 3.Laboratory of Synthetic and Structural VaccinologyUniversity of TrentoTrentoItaly
  4. 4.Natural Drug Discovery Group, School of PharmacyQueen’s University BelfastBelfastUK

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