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Integrating Top-Down and Bottom-Up Mass Spectrometric Strategies for Proteomic Profiling of Iranian Saw-Scaled Viper, Echis carinatus sochureki, Venom

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posted on 23.11.2020, 06:44 by Parviz Ghezellou, Wendell Albuquerque, Vannuruswamy Garikapati, Nicholas R. Casewell, Seyed Mahdi Kazemi, Alireza Ghassempour, Bernhard Spengler
Saw-scaled or carpet vipers (genus Echis) are considered to cause a higher global snakebite mortality than any other snake. Echis carinatus sochureki (ECS) is a widely distributed snake species, also found across the thirteen provinces of Iran, where it is assumed to be responsible for the most snakebite envenomings. Here, we collected the Iranian specimens of ECS from three different geographically distinct populations, investigated food habits, and performed toxicity assessment and venom proteome profiling to better understand saw-scaled viper life. Our results show that the prey items most commonly found in all populations were arthropods, with scorpions from the family Buthidae particularly well represented. LD50 (median lethal dose) values of the crude venom demonstrate highly comparable venom toxicities in mammals. Consistent with this finding, venom characterization via top-down and bottom-up proteomics, applied to both crude venoms and size-exclusion chromatographic fractions, revealed highly comparable venom compositions among the different populations. By combining all proteomics data, we identified 22 protein families from 102 liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) raw files, including the most abundant snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMPs, 29–34%); phospholipase A2 (PLA2s, 26–31%); snake venom serine proteinases (SVSPs, 11–12%); l-amino acid oxidases (LAOs, 8–11%), C-type lectins/lectin-like (CTLs, 7–9%) protein families, and many newly detected ones, e.g., renin-like aspartic proteases (RLAPs), fibroblast growth factors (FGFs), peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerases (PPIs), and venom vasodilator peptides (VVPs). Furthermore, we identified and characterized methylated, acetylated, and oxidized proteoforms relating to the PLA2 and disintegrin toxin families and the site of their modifications. It thus seems that post-translational modifications (PTMs) of toxins, particularly target lysine residues, may play an essential role in the structural and functional properties of venom proteins and might be able to influence the therapeutic response of antivenoms, to be investigated in future studies.