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BMC Genomics  2009 

Transcriptome analysis of the venom gland of the scorpion Scorpiops jendeki: implication for the evolution of the scorpion venom arsenal

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-10-290

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Abstract:

There are ten known types of venom peptides and proteins obtained from Scorpiops jendeki. Great diversity is observed in primary sequences of most highly expressed types. The most highly expressed types are cytolytic peptides and serine proteases. Neurotoxins specific for sodium channels, which are major groups of venom components from Buthidae scorpions, are not detected in this study. In addition to those known types of venom peptides and proteins, we also obtain nine atypical types of venom molecules which haven't been observed in any other scorpion species studied to date.This work provides the first set of cDNAs from Scorpiops jendeki, and one of the few transcriptomic analyses from a scorpion. This allows the characterization of a large number of venom molecules, belonging to either known or atypical types of scorpion venom peptides and proteins. Besides, our work could provide some clues to the evolution of the scorpion venom arsenal by comparison with venom data from other scorpion lineages.Based on cladistic morphological analysis, the extant scorpions can be phylogenetically divided into 14 families[1]. All scorpions possess a homologous venom apparatus which consists of the vesicle holding a pair of venom glands and the hypodermic aculeus used to inject the venom[2]. Scorpion venom is a combinatorial library of peptides and proteins which could cause toxicological responses and can be candidates for drug design and development[3]. The general compositions of scorpion venoms vary among different families. For instance, in a comparative LC/MS analysis of two scorpion species from the families Buthidae and Ischnuridae, vast abundance difference was observed in venom components with molecular size from 5000 to 10,000 Da[4]. Furthermore, such differences in venom compositions could also be observed from genus to genus, and even between different species within a genus[5,6].Hundreds of venom peptides and proteins have been characterized from various scorpion sp

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