Proteomic, toxicological and immunogenic characterization of Mexican west-coast rattlesnake (Crotalus basiliscus) venom and its immunological relatedness with the venom of Central American rattlesnake (Crotalus simus)

J Proteomics. 2017 Mar 31;158:62-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2017.02.015. Epub 2017 Feb 24.

Abstract

The venom of the Mexican west-coast rattlesnake (Crotalus basiliscus) was characterized for its protein composition, toxicological profile and immunogenic properties. This venom is composed of 68% Zn2+-dependent metalloproteinases (SVMPs), 14% phospholipases A2 (PLA2s), 11% serine proteinases, 4% SVMPs-inhibitor tripeptides (SVMP-ITs), 2% bradykinin-potentiating peptides (BPPs), 0.6% cysteine-rich secretory proteins (CRISPs), and 0.2% l-amino acid oxidases (LAAOs). SVMPs present in the venom are responsible for azocasein hydrolysis and hemorrhagic activity, but their contribution to the lethal activity of the venom in mice is masked by the neurotoxic activity of PLA2s, which in addition are also responsible for myotoxic activity. Despite its relatively high content of serine proteinases, the venom of C. basiliscus did not exert in vitro coagulant or in vivo defibrinogenating activities. The ability of antivenoms raised against the venoms of C. basiliscus and C. simus (from Costa Rica) to neutralize homologous and heterologous venoms revealed antigenic similarities between toxins of both venoms. Preclinical evaluation of an antivenom produced by using the venom of C. basiliscus as immunogen demonstrated that it is able to neutralize not only the most relevant toxic activities of C. basiliscus venom, but also those exerted by Costa Rican C. simus venom, including coagulant and defibrinogenating activities.

Biological significance: The Central American rattlesnake (Crotalus simus) is widely distributed from Mexico to west central Costa Rica, and induces an important number of envenomations in this region. On the other hand, the immunogenic mixture used by Laboratorios de Biológicos y Reactivos de Mexico S.A. (Birmex) to produce the snake antivenom more frequently used in Mexico does not include the venom of C. simus. This immunogenic mixture is composed by the venoms of the Fer-de-lance (Bothrops asper) and the Mexican west-coast rattlesnake (Crotalus basiliscus). We studied the protein composition, toxicological profile and immunogenic properties of the venom of C. basiliscus, and evaluated the ability of the Birmex antivenom to neutralize the venom of C. basiliscus and whether it cross-neutralizes the venom of C. simus from Costa Rica. Using proteomics analysis, in combination with in vitro and mouse tests, we determined that the venom of C. basiliscus is mainly composed by SVMPs, which confer proteolytic and hemorrhagic activities to the venom. Other major components of the venom of C. basiliscus are PLA2s, which are responsible for the myotoxic activity and are the main contributors to the lethal activity. Non-clotting SVSPs correspond to 11% of the venom. Minor components include SVMP-ITs, BPPs, CRISPs and LAAOs, which have not been associated with toxicity. The antibodies induced in horses by the venom of C. basiliscus are able to neutralize not only the most relevant toxic activities of the homologous venom, but also those exerted by Costa Rican C. simus venom, including coagulant and defibrinogenating activities. Our preclinical evaluation suggests that Birmex antivenom can be used to treat envenomations by Costa Rican adult C. simus snakebites, despite this venom not being included in the immunizing mixture.

Keywords: Crotalus basiliscus; Crotalus simus; Equine-derived antivenom; Neutralization; Venomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crotalus* / immunology
  • Crotalus* / metabolism
  • Crotoxin* / immunology
  • Crotoxin* / metabolism
  • Mexico
  • Proteomics*
  • Species Specificity

Substances

  • Crotoxin