Proteomic view of the venom from the fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren

J Proteome Res. 2012 Sep 7;11(9):4643-53. doi: 10.1021/pr300451g. Epub 2012 Aug 22.


Fire ants are well-known by their aggressive stinging behavior, causing many stinging incidents of medical importance. The limited availability of fire ant venom for scientific and clinical uses has restricted, up to now, the knowledge about the biochemistry, immunology, and pharmacology of these venoms. For this study, S. invicta venom was obtained commercially and used for proteomic characterization. For this purpose, the combination of gel-based and gel-free proteomic strategies was used to assign the proteomic profile of the venom from the fire ant S. invicta. This experimental approach permitted the identification of 46 proteins, which were organized into four different groups according to their potential role in fire ant venom: true venom components, housekeeping proteins, body muscle proteins, and proteins involved in chemical communication. The active venom components that may not present toxic roles were classified into three subgroups according to their potential functions: self-venom protection, colony asepsis, and chemical communication. Meanwhile, the proteins classified as true toxins, based on their functions after being injected into the victims' bodies by the fire ants, were classified in five other subgroups: proteins influencing the homeostasis of the victims, neurotoxins, proteins that promote venom diffusion, proteins that cause tissue damage/inflammation, and allergens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Ant Venoms / chemistry*
  • Ants / chemistry*
  • Ants / metabolism
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Insect Proteins / analysis*
  • Insect Proteins / chemistry
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Mapping
  • Proteome / analysis*
  • Proteome / chemistry
  • Proteomics


  • Ant Venoms
  • Insect Proteins
  • Proteome