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BMC Genomics  2007 

Transcriptome analysis of the venom gland of the Mexican scorpion Hadrurus gertschi (Arachnida: Scorpiones)

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-8-119

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Abstract:

From the cDNA library prepared from a single venom gland of the scorpion Hadrurus gertschi, 160 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were analyzed. These transcripts were further clustered into 68 unique sequences (20 contigs and 48 singlets), with an average length of 919 bp. Half of the ESTs can be confidentially assigned as homologues of annotated gene products. Annotation of these ESTs, with the aid of Gene Ontology terms and homology to eukaryotic orthologous groups, reveals some cellular processes important for venom gland function; including high protein synthesis, tuned posttranslational processing and trafficking. Nonetheless, the main group of the identified gene products includes ESTs similar to known scorpion toxins or other previously characterized scorpion venom components, which account for nearly 60% of the identified proteins.To the best of our knowledge this report contains the first transcriptome analysis of genes transcribed by the venomous gland of a scorpion. The data were obtained for the species Hadrurus gertschi, belonging to the family Caraboctonidae. One hundred and sixty ESTs were analyzed, showing enrichment in genes that encode for products similar to known venom components, but also provides the first sketch of cellular components, molecular functions, biological processes and some unique sequences of the scorpion venom gland.Scorpion venoms are very complex mixtures with hundreds of different components produced by the highly specialized venom glands. The most prominent components of scorpion venoms are the peptides responsible for the neurotoxic effects associated with their sting, for which more than 350 different have been described (extensive databases can be found in Tox-Prot [1] and SCORPION [2]). Most of these toxins are structurally related disulphide-rich short proteins (23–75 amino acid residues long), which affect cellular communication by modulating Na+ or K+ ion-channels permeability [3]. Due to their importance in scorpion env

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