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Gene. 2006 Aug 1;377:21-32. Epub 2006 Apr 7.

Venom gland EST analysis of the saw-scaled viper, Echis ocellatus, reveals novel alpha9beta1 integrin-binding motifs in venom metalloproteinases and a new group of putative toxins, renin-like aspartic proteases.

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Alistair Reid Venom Research Unit, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK.


Echis ocellatus is the most medically important snake in West Africa. However, the composition of its venom and the differential contribution of these venom components to the severe haemorrhagic and coagulopathic pathology of envenoming are poorly understood. To address this situation we assembled a toxin transcriptome based upon 1000 expressed sequence tags (EST) from a cDNA library constructed from pooled venom glands of 10 individual E. ocellatus. We used a variety of bioinformatic tools to construct a fully annotated venom-toxin transcriptome that was interrogated with a combination of BLAST annotation, gene ontology cataloguing and disintegrin-motif searching. The results of these analyses revealed an unusually abundant and diverse expression of snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMP) and a broad toxin-expression profile including several distinct isoforms of bradykinin-potentiating peptides, phospholipase A(2), C-type lectins, serine proteinases and l-amino oxidases. Most significantly, we identified for the first time a conserved alpha(9)beta(1) integrin-binding motif in several SVMPs, and a new group of putative venom toxins, renin-like aspartic proteases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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