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Divergent Specialization of Simple Venom Gene Profiles among Rear-Fanged Snake Genera (Helicops and Leptodeira, Dipsadinae, Colubridae)

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posted on 2022-10-11, 03:05 authored by PA Cerda, Jenna Crowe-RiddellJenna Crowe-Riddell, DJP Gonçalves, DA Larson, TF Duda, AR Davis Rabosky
Many venomous animals express toxins that show extraordinary levels of variation both within and among species. In snakes, most studies of venom variation focus on front-fanged species in the families Viperidae and Elapidae, even though rear-fanged snakes in other families vary along the same ecological axes important to venom evolution. Here we characterized venom gland transcriptomes from 19 snakes across two dipsadine rear-fanged genera (Leptodeira and Helicops, Colubridae) and two front-fanged genera (Bothrops, Viperidae; Micrurus, Elapidae). We compared patterns of composition, variation, and diversity in venom transcripts within and among all four genera. Venom gland transcriptomes of rear-fanged Helicops and Leptodeira and front-fanged Micrurus are each dominated by expression of single toxin families (C-type lectins, snake venom metalloproteinase, and phospholipase A2, respectively), unlike highly diverse front-fanged Bothrops venoms. In addition, expression patterns of congeners are much more similar to each other than they are to species from other genera. These results illustrate the repeatability of simple venom profiles in rear-fanged snakes and the potential for relatively constrained venom composition within genera.

Funding

This research was supported by the University of Michigan to A.D.R. through startup funds and to P.A.C. through the C.F. Walker Scholarship and Graduate Research Awards. This research was also supported by a Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund award from the American Museum of Natural History to P.A.C. Field research was partially supported through funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to Dan Rabosky and the University of Michigan to Iris Holmes.

History

Publication Date

2022-07-15

Journal

Toxins

Volume

14

Issue

7

Article Number

489

Pagination

15p.

Publisher

MDPI

ISSN

2072-6651

Rights Statement

© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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