Project description:Highly acidic peptides with no disulfide bridges are widely present in the scorpion venoms; however, none of them has been functionally characterized so far. Here, we cloned the full-length cDNA of a short-chain highly acidic peptide (referred to as HAP-1) from a cDNA library made from the venom glands of the Chinese scorpion Mesobuthus martensii Karsch. HAP-1 contains 19 amino acid residues with a predicted IP value of 4.25. Acidic amino residues account for 33.3% of the total residues in the molecule of HAP-1. HAP-1 shows 76?98% identities to some scorpion venom peptides that have not yet been functionally characterized. Secondary structure prediction showed that HAP-1 contains a beta-sheet region (residues 9?17), and two coiled coil regions (residues 1?8 and 18?19) located at the N-terminal and C-terminal regions of the peptide, respectively. Antimicrobial assay showed that HAP-1 does not have any effect on the growth of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus AB94004. However, it potently inhibits the antimicrobial activity of a 13-mer peptide from M. martensii Karsch against Staphylococcus aureus AB94004. This finding is the first characterization of the function of such highly acidic peptides from scorpions.
Project description:Scorpion venom is deemed to contain many toxic peptides as an important source of natural compounds. Out of the two hundred proteins identi?ed in Mesobuthus martensii (M. martensii), only a few peptide toxins have been found so far. Herein, a combinational approach based upon RNA sequencing and Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry (LC MS/MS) was employed to explore the venom peptides in M. martensii. A total of 153 proteins were identi?ed from the scorpion venom, 26 previously known and 127 newly identi?ed. Of the novel toxins, 97 proteins exhibited sequence similarities to known toxins, and 30 were never reported. Combining peptidomic and transcriptomic analyses, the peptide sequence of BmKKx1 was reannotated and four disul?de bridges were con?rmed within it. In light of the comparison of conservation and variety of toxin amino acid sequences, highly conserved and variable regions were perceived in 24 toxins that were parts of two sodium channel and two potassium channel toxins families. Taking all of this evidences together, the peptidomic analysis on M. martensii indeed identi?ed numerous novel scorpion peptides, expanded our knowledge towards the venom diversity, and afforded a set of pharmaceutical candidates.
Project description:Defensins are important components of innate host defence system against bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. Here, we predicted six potential defensin genes from the genome of the scorpion Mesobuthus martensii and then validated four genes from them via the combination of PCR and genomic sequence analysis. These four scorpion defensin genes share the same gene organization and structure of two exons and one phase-I intron with the GT-AG rule. Conserved motif and phylogenetic analysis showed that they belonged to the members of the invertebrate cysteine-stabilized ?-helix/?-sheet motif defensin (CS??) defensin family. All these four CS?? defensin genes have the expression feature of constitutive transcription (CON) by the whole scorpion infection model, promoter sequence analysis and dual luciferase assays. Further evolution and comparison analysis found that the invertebrate CS?? defensin genes from most of arachnids and mollusks appear to share the expression pattern of CON, but those from insects and lower invertebrates (nematodes, annelids, cnidarians and sponges) seem to have identical inducible transcription (IND) after being challenged by microorganisms. Together, we identified four scorpion CS?? defensin genes with the expression feature of CON, and characterized the diversified expression patterns of the invertebrate CS?? defensin genes, which will shed insights into the evolution of the invertebrate CS?? defensin genes and their expression patterns.
Project description:Representing a basal branch of arachnids, scorpions are known as 'living fossils' that maintain an ancient anatomy and are adapted to have survived extreme climate changes. Here we report the genome sequence of Mesobuthus martensii, containing 32,016 protein-coding genes, the most among sequenced arthropods. Although M. martensii appears to evolve conservatively, it has a greater gene family turnover than the insects that have undergone diverse morphological and physiological changes, suggesting the decoupling of the molecular and morphological evolution in scorpions. Underlying the long-term adaptation of scorpions is the expansion of the gene families enriched in basic metabolic pathways, signalling pathways, neurotoxins and cytochrome P450, and the different dynamics of expansion between the shared and the scorpion lineage-specific gene families. Genomic and transcriptomic analyses further illustrate the important genetic features associated with prey, nocturnal behaviour, feeding and detoxification. The M. martensii genome reveals a unique adaptation model of arthropods, offering new insights into the genetic bases of the living fossils.
Project description:Yimeng scorpion is a specific geographical indication breed of Yimeng Mountain area in China. The complete mitochondrial genome sequence of Yimeng scorpion was determined for the first time (Accession number MN597087). It is mitochondrial genome (14,840 bp) contains 13 protein-coding genes, 21tRNA genes, 2 ribosomal RNA genes and one large non-coding region (a possible control region). Moreover, tRNA-ASP-loss was observed from the Yimeng scorpion mitochondrial genome. The mitochondrial genome sequence of the Yimeng scorpion enriches data resource for further research on genetic mechanism and classification.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Scorpion venom glands produce some antimicrobial peptides (AMP) that can rapidly kill a broad range of microbes and have additional activities that impact on the quality and effectiveness of innate responses and inflammation. OBJECTIVES:In this study, we reported the identification of a cDNA sequence encoding cysteine-free antimicrobial peptides isolated from venomous glands of this species. MATERIALS AND METHODS:Total RNA was extracted from the Iranian mesobuthus eupeus venom glands, and cDNA was synthesized by using the modified oligo (dT). The cDNA was used as the template for applying Semi-nested RT- PCR technique. PCR Products were used for direct nucleotide sequencing and the results were compared with Gen Bank database. RESULTS:A 213 BP cDNA fragment encoding the entire coding region of an antimicrobial toxin from the Iranian scorpion M. Eupeus venom glands were isolated. The full-length sequence of the coding region was 210 BP contained an open reading frame of 70 amino with a predicted molecular mass of 7970.48 Da and theoretical Pi of 9.10. The open reading frame consists of 210 BP encoding a precursor of 70 amino acid residues, including a signal peptide of 23 residues a propertied of 7 residues, and a mature peptide of 34 residues with no disulfide bridge. The peptide has detectable sequence identity to the Lesser Asian mesobuthus eupeus MeVAMP-2 (98%), MeVAMP-9 (60%) and several previously described AMPs from other scorpion venoms including mesobuthus martensii (94%) and buthus occitanus Israelis (82%). CONCLUSIONS:The secondary structure of the peptide mainly consisted of ?-helical structure which was generally conserved by previously reported scorpion counterparts. The phylogenetic analysis showed that the Iranian MeAMP-like toxin was similar but not identical with that of venom antimicrobial peptides from lesser Asian scorpion mesobuthus eupeus.