Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Curr Biol. 2016 Sep 26;26(18):2434-2445. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.07.038. Epub 2016 Sep 15.

The Deep Origin and Recent Loss of Venom Toxin Genes in Rattlesnakes.

Author information

1
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1525 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA. Electronic address: ndowell@wisc.edu.
2
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1525 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
3
National Natural Toxins Research Center and Department of Chemistry, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, MSC 224, Kingsville, TX 78363, USA.
4
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1525 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA. Electronic address: sbcarrol@wisc.edu.

Abstract

The genetic origin of novel traits is a central but challenging puzzle in evolutionary biology. Among snakes, phospholipase A2 (PLA2)-related toxins have evolved in different lineages to function as potent neurotoxins, myotoxins, or hemotoxins. Here, we traced the genomic origin and evolution of PLA2 toxins by examining PLA2 gene number, organization, and expression in both neurotoxic and non-neurotoxic rattlesnakes. We found that even though most North American rattlesnakes do not produce neurotoxins, the genes of a specialized heterodimeric neurotoxin predate the origin of rattlesnakes and were present in their last common ancestor (∼22 mya). The neurotoxin genes were then deleted independently in the lineages leading to the Western Diamondback (Crotalus atrox) and Eastern Diamondback (C. adamanteus) rattlesnakes (∼6 mya), while a PLA2 myotoxin gene retained in C. atrox was deleted from the neurotoxic Mojave rattlesnake (C. scutulatus; ∼4 mya). The rapid evolution of PLA2 gene number appears to be due to transposon invasion that provided a template for non-allelic homologous recombination.

KEYWORDS:

gene duplication; gene expression; gene loss; genome sequencing; neurotoxin; novelty; phospholipase A2; rattlesnake; transposable elements; venom

PMID:
27641771
PMCID:
PMC5207034
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2016.07.038
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center