Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Does The Victim Affect Snake Venom Composition?

Date:
September 30, 2007
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
A snake's intended prey might affect the type and evolution of toxins in their venom. In snakes, venom composition varies both between species and within a particular species. Land snakes feed on a range of animals and birds, so scientists think that these snakes need a diverse array of toxins in their venom. Sea snakes, on the other hand, tend to have a more restricted diet, feeding only on fish. The toxins in these snakes have now been shown to be less diverse than those in terrestrial snakes.

A snake's intended prey might affect the type and evolution of toxins in their venom, research published in BMC Evolutionary Biology shows.

Related Articles


In snakes, venom composition varies both between species and within a particular species. Land snakes feed on a range of animals and birds, so scientists think that these snakes need a diverse array of toxins in their venom. Sea snakes, on the other hand, tend to have a more restricted diet, feeding only on fish. The toxins in these snakes have now been shown to be less diverse than those in terrestrial snakes.

Professor R Manjunatha Kini and colleagues from the National University of Singapore examined two kinds of sea snakes. They constructed complementary DNA libraries from the venom glands of the reptiles, representing only the stretches of DNA that code for venom gland proteins, and studied two types of protein toxins. The three-finger toxins (3FTx) and the phospholipase A2 (PLA2) enzymes are the main components of sea snake venom.

Although the sea snakes studied lived in very different aquatic environments, the toxins examined were similar in both and the genes encoding the toxins were highly conserved. By contrast, the same toxins in land snakes and sea kraits (which fall between land and sea snakes) showed much greater diversity. The researchers suggest that the toxin genes in sea snakes have remained relatively unchanged because of sea snakes share the same kind of feeding behaviour and diet.

"We examine toxin genes of snakes to identify new toxins, some of which will be useful in developing new therapeutic strategies to treat human diseases," says Prof Kini from the Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. "A new anticoagulant or a hypotensive toxin may help us develop new cardiovascular drugs to block unwanted clot formation or to lower the blood pressure."

Article: Expression pattern of three-finger toxin and phospholipase A2 genes in the venom glands of two sea snakes, Lapemis curtus and Acalyptophis peronii: comparison of evolution of these toxins in land snakes, sea kraits and sea snakes, Susanta Pahari, David Bickford, Bryan G Fry and R Manjunatha Kini, BMC Evolutionary Biology (in press)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Does The Victim Affect Snake Venom Composition?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070926191406.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2007, September 30). Does The Victim Affect Snake Venom Composition?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070926191406.htm
BioMed Central. "Does The Victim Affect Snake Venom Composition?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070926191406.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins