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Toxicon. 2006 Sep 15;48(4):437-61. Epub 2006 Jul 7.

Bothrops jararaca venom gland transcriptome: analysis of the gene expression pattern.

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Departamento de Bioquímica, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, CEP 20551 013 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.


Bothrops jararaca is a pit viper responsible for the majority of snake envenoming accidents in Brazil. As an attempt to describe the transcriptional activity of the venom gland, ESTs of a cDNA library constructed from B. jararaca venom gland were generated and submitted to bioinformatics analysis. The results showed a clear predominance of transcripts coding for toxins instead of transcripts coding for proteins involved in cellular functions. Among toxins, the most frequent transcripts were from metalloproteinases (52.6%), followed by serine-proteinases (28.5%), C-type lectins (8.3%) and bradykinin-potentiating peptides (BPPs) (6.2%). Results were similar to that obtained from the transcriptome analysis of B. insularis, a phylogenetically close sister of B. jararaca, though some differences were observed and are pointed out, such as a higher amount of the hypotensive BPPs in B. insularis transcriptome (19.7%). Another striking difference observed is that PIII and PII-classes of metalloproteinases are similarly represented in B. jararaca in contrast to B. insularis, in which a predominance of PIII-class metalloproteinase, which present a more intense hemorrhagic action, is observed. These features may, in part, explain the higher potency of B. insularis venom. The results obtained can help in proteome studies, and the clones can be used to directly probe the genetic material from other snake species or to investigate differences in gene expression pattern in response to factors such as diet, aging and geographic localization.

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