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J Mol Evol. 2017 Jan;84(1):8-11. doi: 10.1007/s00239-016-9764-6. Epub 2016 Nov 18.

Viper Venom Botox: The Molecular Origin and Evolution of the Waglerin Peptides Used in Anti-Wrinkle Skin Cream.

Author information

1
Venom Evolution Lab, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, 4072, Australia.
2
BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen, 518083, China.
3
Alphabiotoxine Laboratory sprl, Barberie 15, 7911, Montroeul-au-bois, Belgium.
4
Planet Exotica, 5, Avenue des Fleurs de la Paix, 17204, Royan Cedex, France.
5
Venom Evolution Lab, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, 4072, Australia. bgfry@uq.edu.au.

Abstract

The molecular origin of waglerin peptides has remained enigmatic despite their industrial application in skin cream products to paralyse facial muscles and thus reduce the incidence of wrinkles. Here we show that these neurotoxic peptides are the result of de novo evolution within the prepro region of the C-type natriuretic peptide gene in Tropidolaemus venoms, at a site distinct from the domain encoding for the natriuretic peptide. It is the same region that yielded the azemiopsin peptides from Azemiops feae, indicative of a close relationship of this toxin gene between these two genera. The precursor region for the molecular evolution is a biodiversity hotspot that has yielded other novel bioactive peptides with novel activities. We detail the diversity of components in this and other species in order to explore what characteristics enable it to be such a biodiscovery treasure trove. The unusual function of Tropidolaemus venoms may have been selected for due to evolutionary pressures brought about by a high likelihood of prey escape.

PMID:
27864608
DOI:
10.1007/s00239-016-9764-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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