Horse immunization with short-chain consensus α-neurotoxin generates antibodies against broad spectrum of elapid venomous species.Nat Commun. 2019 08 13; 10(1):3642.NC
Antivenoms are fundamental in the therapy for snakebites. In elapid venoms, there are toxins, e.g. short-chain α-neurotoxins, which are quite abundant, highly toxic, and consequently play a major role in envenomation processes. The core problem is that such α-neurotoxins are weakly immunogenic, and many current elapid antivenoms show low reactivity towards them. We have previously developed a recombinant consensus short-chain α-neurotoxin (ScNtx) based on sequences from the most lethal elapid venoms from America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. Here we report that an antivenom generated by immunizing horses with ScNtx can successfully neutralize the lethality of pure recombinant and native short-chain α-neurotoxins, as well as whole neurotoxic elapid venoms from diverse genera such as Micrurus, Dendroaspis, Naja, Walterinnesia, Ophiophagus and Hydrophis. These results provide a proof-of-principle for using recombinant proteins with rationally designed consensus sequences as universal immunogens for developing next-generation antivenoms with higher effectiveness and broader neutralizing capacity.