A Combinational Strategy upon RNA Sequencing and Peptidomics Unravels a Set of Novel Toxin Peptides in Scorpion Mesobuthus martensii

Toxins (Basel). 2016 Oct 5;8(10):286. doi: 10.3390/toxins8100286.


Scorpion venom is deemed to contain many toxic peptides as an important source of natural compounds. Out of the two hundred proteins identified in Mesobuthus martensii (M. martensii), only a few peptide toxins have been found so far. Herein, a combinational approach based upon RNA sequencing and Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry (LC MS/MS) was employed to explore the venom peptides in M. martensii. A total of 153 proteins were identified from the scorpion venom, 26 previously known and 127 newly identified. Of the novel toxins, 97 proteins exhibited sequence similarities to known toxins, and 30 were never reported. Combining peptidomic and transcriptomic analyses, the peptide sequence of BmKKx1 was reannotated and four disulfide bridges were confirmed within it. In light of the comparison of conservation and variety of toxin amino acid sequences, highly conserved and variable regions were perceived in 24 toxins that were parts of two sodium channel and two potassium channel toxins families. Taking all of this evidences together, the peptidomic analysis on M. martensii indeed identified numerous novel scorpion peptides, expanded our knowledge towards the venom diversity, and afforded a set of pharmaceutical candidates.

Keywords: diversity; peptidomics; scorpion; toxins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Arthropod Proteins / chemistry*
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Peptides / chemistry*
  • Scorpion Venoms / chemistry*
  • Scorpions
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Toxins, Biological / chemistry*


  • Arthropod Proteins
  • Peptides
  • Scorpion Venoms
  • Toxins, Biological