Unveiling the elusive and exotic: Venomics of the Malayan blue coral snake (Calliophis bivirgata flaviceps).J Proteomics. 2016 Jan 30; 132:1-12.JP
The venom proteome of the Malayan blue coral snake, Calliophis bivirgata flaviceps from west Malaysia was investigated by 1D-SDS-PAGE and shotgun-LCMS/MS. A total of 23 proteins belonging to 11 protein families were detected from the venom proteome. For the toxin proteins, the venom consists mainly of phospholipase A2 (41.1%), cytotoxin (22.6%), SVMPs (18.7%) and vespryns (14.6%). However, in contrast to the venoms of New World coral snakes and most elapids, there was no post-synaptic α-neurotoxin detected. The proteome also revealed a relatively high level of phosphodiesterase (1.3%), which may be associated with the reported high level of adenosine in the venom. Also detected were 5'-nucleotidase (0.3%), hyaluronidase (0.1%) and cysteine-type endopeptide inhibitor (0.6%). Enzymatic studies confirmed the presence of phospholipase A2, phosphodiesterase, 5'-nucleotidase and acetylcholinesterase activities but not l-amino acid oxidase activity. The venom exhibited moderate cytotoxic activity against CRL-2648 fibroblast cell lines (IC50=62.14±0.87 μg/mL) and myotoxicity in mice, presumably due to the action of its cytotoxin or its synergistic action with phospholipase A2. Interestingly, the venom lethality could be cross-neutralized by a neurotoxic bivalent antivenom from Taiwan. Together, the findings provide insights into the composition and functions of the venom of this exotic oriental elapid snake.
While venoms of the New World coral snake have been extensively studied, literature pertaining to the Old World or Asiatic coral snake venoms remains lacking. This could be partly due to the inaccessibility to the venom of this rare species and infrequent cases of envenomation reported. This study identified and profiled the venom proteome of the Malayan blue coral snake (C. b. flaviceps) through SDS-PAGE and a high-resolution nano-LCMS/MS method, detailing the types and abundance of proteins found in the venom. The biological and toxic activities of the venom were also investigated, offering functional correlation to the venom proteome studied. Of note, the venom contains a unique toxin profile predominated with phospholipase A2 and cytotoxin with no detectable post-synaptic neurotoxin. The venom is moderately lethal to mice and the fatal effect could be cross-neutralized by a heterologous elapid bivalent antivenom from Taiwan. The findings enrich snake toxin databases and provide insights into the composition and pathogenesis of the venom of this exotic species.