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Mol Biol Evol. 2014 Aug;31(8):2124-48. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msu162. Epub 2014 May 20.

Clawing through evolution: toxin diversification and convergence in the ancient lineage Chilopoda (centipedes).

Author information

1
Division of Chemistry and Structural Biology, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, AustraliaVenom Evolution Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, Australia.
2
Division of Chemistry and Structural Biology, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, Australia.
3
The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA.
4
Division of Chemistry and Structural Biology, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, Australia bgfry@uq.edu.au glenn.king@imb.uq.edu.au.
5
Division of Chemistry and Structural Biology, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, AustraliaVenom Evolution Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, Australia bgfry@uq.edu.au glenn.king@imb.uq.edu.au.

Abstract

Despite the staggering diversity of venomous animals, there seems to be remarkable convergence in regard to the types of proteins used as toxin scaffolds. However, our understanding of this fascinating area of evolution has been hampered by the narrow taxonomical range studied, with entire groups of venomous animals remaining almost completely unstudied. One such group is centipedes, class Chilopoda, which emerged about 440 Ma and may represent the oldest terrestrial venomous lineage next to scorpions. Here, we provide the first comprehensive insight into the chilopod "venome" and its evolution, which has revealed novel and convergent toxin recruitments as well as entirely new toxin families among both high- and low molecular weight venom components. The ancient evolutionary history of centipedes is also apparent from the differences between the Scolopendromorpha and Scutigeromorpha venoms, which diverged over 430 Ma, and appear to employ substantially different venom strategies. The presence of a wide range of novel proteins and peptides in centipede venoms highlights these animals as a rich source of novel bioactive molecules. Understanding the evolutionary processes behind these ancient venom systems will not only broaden our understanding of which traits make proteins and peptides amenable to neofunctionalization but it may also aid in directing bioprospecting efforts.

KEYWORDS:

centipede; convergence; evolution; toxin; venom

PMID:
24847043
PMCID:
PMC4104317
DOI:
10.1093/molbev/msu162
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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