Molecular Diversity and Gene Evolution of the Venom Arsenal of Terebridae Predatory Marine Snails.
Bottom Line: Phylogenetic methodology was used to identify 14 teretoxin gene superfamilies for the first time, 13 of which are unique to the Terebridae.Additionally, basic local algorithm search tool homology-based searches to venom-related genes and posttranslational modification enzymes identified a convergence of certain venom proteins, such as actinoporin, commonly found in venoms.This research provides novel insights into venom evolution and recruitment in Conoidean predatory marine snails and identifies a plethora of terebrid venom peptides that can be used to investigate fundamental questions pertaining to gene evolution.
Affiliation: Hunter College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York Invertebrate Zoology, Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, American Museum of Natural History, New York.Show MeSH
Mentions: Conophysins, which belong to the neurophysin peptide family, are one of the longest peptides ever identified in cone snail venom, with 14 Cys residues and 7 disulfide bridges. Conophysins were first characterized from the venom of C. radiatus, and their physiological role is currently unknown. Although the terepressin portion of the transcript shows homology to conopressin-G, the signal peptide and conophysin-like sequence, identified here as terephysin, are much more variable compared with the signal and conophysin sequences recently identified in C. geographus (Dutertre et al. 2014). The two Terebridae full precursor transcripts characterized provide evidence for terepressin and terephysin being expressed together, similar to vasopressin/neurophysin homologs from other organisms (fig. 9). Vasopressin/neurophysin hormonal neurotransmitters are emerging as viable targets for novel treatments for mental disorders, such as autism, social anxiety disorder, and schizophrenia (Meyer-Lindenberg et al. 2011). Although it is not clear what role terepressin/terephysin plays in predation, their similarity to vasopressin/neurophysin suggests they may be used as hormonal neurotransmitters to manipulate mental disorders.Fig. 9.—
Affiliation: Hunter College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York Invertebrate Zoology, Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, American Museum of Natural History, New York.