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Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2007;21(6):1034-42.

Mass spectrometric analysis of the individual variability of Bothrops jararaca venom peptide fraction. Evidence for sex-based variation among the bradykinin-potentiating peptides.

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Laboratório Especial de Toxinologia Aplicada/CAT-CEPID, Instituto Butantan, Av. Vital Brasil, 1500, São Paulo-SP 05503-900, Brazil.


Variation in the snake venom proteome is well documented and it is a ubiquitous phenomenon at all taxonomical levels. However, variation in the snake venom peptidome is so far not described. In this work we used mass spectrometry [liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOFMS)] to explore sex-based differences among the venom peptides of eighteen sibling specimens of Bothrops jararaca of a single litter born and raised in the laboratory. MALDI-TOFMS analyses showed individual variability among the bradykinin-potentiating peptides (BPPs), and, interestingly, four new peptides were detected only in female venoms and identified by de novo sequencing as cleaved BPPs lacking the C-terminal Q-I-P-P sequence. Similar results were obtained with venom from wild-caught adult non-sibling specimens of B. jararaca and in this case we were able to identify the gender of the specimen by analyzing the MALDI-TOF profile of the peptide fraction and finding the cleaved peptides only in female venoms. Synthetic replicates of the cleaved BPPs were less potent than the full-length BPP-10c in potentiating the bradykinin hypotensive effect, suggesting that the C-terminus is critical for the interaction of the BPPs with their mammalian molecular targets. This work represents a comprehensive mass spectrometric analysis of the peptide fraction of B. jararaca venom and shows for the first time sex-based differences in the snake venom peptidome of sibling and non-sibling snakes and suggests that the BPPs may follow distinct processing pathways in female and male individuals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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