BackgroundThe king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) is widely distributed throughout many parts of Asia. This study aims to investigate the complexity of Malaysian Ophiophagus hannah (MOh) venom for a better understanding of king cobra venom variation and its envenoming pathophysiology. The venom gland transcriptome was investigated using the Illumina HiSeq™ platform, while the venom proteome was profiled by 1D-SDS-PAGE-nano-ESI-LCMS/MS.ResultsTranscriptomic results reveal high redundancy of toxin transcripts (3357.36 FPKM/transcript) despite small cluster numbers, implying gene duplication and diversification within restricted protein families. Among the 23 toxin families identified, three-finger toxins (3FTxs) and snake-venom metalloproteases (SVMPs) have the most diverse isoforms. These 2 toxin families are also the most abundantly transcribed, followed in descending order by phospholipases A2 (PLA2s), cysteine-rich secretory proteins (CRISPs), Kunitz-type inhibitors (KUNs), and L-amino acid oxidases (LAAOs). Seventeen toxin families exhibited low mRNA expression, including hyaluronidase, DPP-IV and 5’-nucleotidase that were not previously reported in the venom-gland transcriptome of a Balinese O. hannah. On the other hand, the MOh proteome includes 3FTxs, the most abundantly expressed proteins in the venom (43 % toxin sbundance). Within this toxin family, there are 6 long-chain, 5 short-chain and 2 non-conventional 3FTx. Neurotoxins comprise the major 3FTxs in the MOh venom, consistent with rapid neuromuscular paralysis reported in systemic envenoming. The presence of toxic enzymes such as LAAOs, SVMPs and PLA2 would explain tissue inflammation and necrotising destruction in local envenoming. Dissimilarities in the subtypes and sequences between the neurotoxins of MOh and Naja kaouthia (monocled cobra) are in agreement with the poor cross-neutralization activity of N. kaouthia antivenom used against MOh venom. Besides, the presence of cobra venom factor, nerve growth factors, phosphodiesterase, 5’-nucleotidase, and DPP-IV in the venom proteome suggests its probable hypotensive action in subduing prey.ConclusionThis study reports the diversity and abundance of toxins in the venom of the Malaysian king cobra (MOh). The results correlate with the pathophysiological actions of MOh venom, and dispute the use of Naja cobra antivenoms to treat MOh envenomation. The findings also provide a deeper insight into venom variations due to geography, which is crucial for the development of a useful pan-regional antivenom.Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1828-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Antivenom neutralization against cobra venoms is generally low in potency, presumably due to poor toxin-specific immunoreactivity. This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of two elapid antivenoms to neutralize the principal toxins purified from the venoms of the Thai monocled cobra (Naja kaouthia, Nk-T) and the Malaysian beaked sea snake (Hydrophis schistosus, Hs-M). In mice, N. kaouthia Monovalent Antivenom (NKMAV) neutralization against Nk-T long neurotoxin (LNTX) and cytotoxin was moderate (potency of 2.89–6.44 mg toxin/g antivenom protein) but poor against the short neurotoxin (SNTX) (1.33 mg/g). Its cross-neutralization against Hs-M LNTX of Hs-M is compatible (0.18 mg/g) but much weaker against Hs-M SNTX (0.22 mg/g). Using CSL (Seqirus Limited) Sea Snake Antivenom (SSAV), we observed consistently weak neutralization of antivenom against SNTX of both species, suggesting that this is the limiting factor on the potency of antivenom neutralization against venoms containing SNTX. Nevertheless, SSAV outperformed NKMAV in neutralizing SNTXs of both species (0.61–2.49 mg/g). The superior efficacy of SSAV against SNTX is probably partly attributable to the high abundance of SNTX in sea snake venom used as immunogen in SSAV production. The findings indicate that improving the potency of cobra antivenom may be possible with a proper immunogen formulation that seeks to overcome the limitation on SNTX immunoreactivity.
Abstract. Geographical variations of snake venoms can result in suboptimal effectiveness of Indian antivenoms that are currently used in most South Asian countries. This study investigated the toxicity and neutralization profile of the venom and toxins from Pakistani spectacled cobra, Naja naja, using VINS polyvalent antivenom (VPAV, India), Naja kaouthia monovalent antivenom (NKMAV, Thailand), and neuro bivalent antivenom (NBAV, Taiwan). Cationexchange and reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography fractionations followed by toxin identification through liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (MS)/MS indicated that the venom comprised mainly of postsynaptic neurotoxins (NTXs) (long neurotoxins [LNTXs], 28.3%; short neurotoxins [SNTXs], 8%), cytotoxins (CTXs) (31.2%), and acidic phospholipases A 2 (12.3%). NKMAV is the most effective in neutralizing the lethal effect of the venom (potency = 1.1 mg venom/mL) and its LNTX (potency = 0.5 mg toxin/mL), consistent with the high content of LNTX in N. kaouthia venom. VPAV was effective in neutralizing the CTX (potency = 0.4 mg toxin/mL), in agreement with the higher CTX abundance in Indian cobra venom. All the three antivenoms were weak in neutralizing the SNTX (potency = 0.03-0.04 mg toxin/mL), including NBAV that was raised from the SNTX-rich Taiwanese cobra venom. In a challenge-rescue experiment, envenomed mice were prevented from death by a maximal dose of VPAV (intravenous 200 μL) but the recovery from paralysis was slow, indicating the need for higher or repeated doses of VPAV. Our results suggest that optimal neutralization for Pakistani N. naja venom may be achieved by improving the formulation of antivenom production to enhance antivenom immunoreactivity against long and SNTXs.
The eastern Russell’s viper (Daboia siamensis) causes primarily hemotoxic envenomation. Applying shotgun proteomic approach, the present study unveiled the protein complexity and geographical variation of eastern D. siamensis venoms originated from Guangxi and Taiwan. The snake venoms from the two geographical locales shared comparable expression of major proteins notwithstanding variability in their toxin proteoforms. More than 90% of total venom proteins belong to the toxin families of Kunitz-type serine protease inhibitor, phospholipase A2, C-type lectin/lectin-like protein, serine protease and metalloproteinase. Daboia
siamensis Monovalent Antivenom produced in Taiwan (DsMAV-Taiwan) was immunoreactive toward the Guangxi D. siamensis venom, and effectively neutralized the venom lethality at a potency of 1.41 mg venom per ml antivenom. This was corroborated by the antivenom effective neutralization against the venom procoagulant (ED = 0.044 ± 0.002 µl, 2.03 ± 0.12 mg/ml) and hemorrhagic (ED50 = 0.871 ± 0.159 µl, 7.85 ± 3.70 mg/ml) effects. The hetero-specific Chinese pit viper antivenoms i.e. Deinagkistrodon acutus Monovalent Antivenom and Gloydius brevicaudus Monovalent Antivenom showed negligible immunoreactivity and poor neutralization against the Guangxi D. siamensis venom. The findings suggest the need for improving treatment of D. siamensis envenomation in the region through the production and the use of appropriate antivenom.
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