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Toxicon. 2011 Apr;57(5):695-703. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2011.02.001. Epub 2011 Feb 15.

The tale of a resting gland: transcriptome of a replete venom gland from the scorpion Hottentotta judaicus.

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  • 1Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia QLD 4072, Australia. d.morgenstern@uq.edu.au


cDNA libraries are increasingly being used for high-throughput interrogation of animal venomes. Most previous studies have focused on discovery of new venom toxins, whereas the dynamics of toxin transcription and associated cellular processes have received much less attention. Here we provide, for the first time, an analysis of a transcriptome from the venom gland of a scorpion (Hottentotta judaicus) that is not actively engaged in regenerating its venom. We demonstrate a low abundance of toxin-encoding transcripts coupled with a previously unobserved proliferation of protease sequences. Additionally, we identified several low abundance, toxin-like sequences that may represent decommissioned toxins that are unlikely to be translated. These sequences are not evenly distributed across all toxin families, but rather appear more frequently in transcripts related to α-toxins and β-toxins that are known to target voltage-gated sodium channels. The transcriptomic profile of the replete venom gland is very different to that obtained previously from scorpion venom glands actively engaged in venom regeneration, and it highlights our lack of knowledge as to how the dynamics of transcription changes as the gland progresses from venom regeneration to a "resting" state. This study therefore provides an important foundation for future studies into the dynamics of transcription in the venom glands of scorpions and other venomous animals.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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