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Toxicon. 2012 Apr;59(5):592-9. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2012.01.005. Epub 2012 Feb 6.

Snake venomics and toxicological profiling of the arboreal pitviper Bothriechis supraciliaris from Costa Rica.

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Instituto Clodomiro Picado, Facultad de Microbiología, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José 11501, Costa Rica.


The genus Bothriechis comprises a lineage of nine species of Neotropical pitvipers distributed mainly in highlands across Middle America, all adapted to arboreal habitats. Bothriechis supraciliaris is a relatively recently described species that inhabits the Pacific southwest of Costa Rica, whose venom had never been studied. A proteomic and toxicological profiling of its venom is here reported. Proteins or peptides that belong to eleven families were found, with a predominance of bradykinin-potentiating peptides (21.9%), followed by serine proteinases (15.2%) and phospholipases A(2) (13.4%). A group of short polyglycine peptides, resembling the poly-His/poly-Gly metalloproteinase inhibitors described in Atheris and Echis snake venoms, was observed for the first time in a Bothriechis venom. Comparison of the venom proteome of B. supraciliaris with those of Bothriechis schlegelii, Bothriechis lateralis, and Bothriechis nigroviridis, confirms the highly diverse toxicological strategies evolved by these arboreal snakes in each case, as possible alternative solutions to the same trophic purpose. Toxicological profiling of B. supraciliaris venom revealed a potent hemorrhagic action, moderate myotoxicity, and very weak procoagulant activity. Importantly from the medical perspective, the lethal activity of its venom (mouse intraperitoneal LD(50): 7.1 μg/g) was efficiently neutralized by a polyvalent (Viperidae) antivenom of therapeutic use in Central America.

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