Combined proteomic and functional analysis reveals rich sources of protein diversity in skin mucus and venom from the Scorpaena plumieri fish

J Proteomics. 2018 Sep 15;187:200-211. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2018.08.002. Epub 2018 Aug 8.


The biological activities observed upon envenomation by Scorpaena plumieri could be linked to both the venom and the skin mucus. Through a proteomic/functional approach we analyzed protein composition and biological activities of the venom and skin mucus. We identified 885 proteins: 722 in the Venomous Apparatus extracts (Sp-VAe) and 391 in the Skin Mucus extract (Sp-SMe), with 494 found exclusively in Sp-VAe, being named S. plumieri Venom Proteins (Sp-VP), while 228 were found in both extracts. The majority of the many proteins identified were not directly related to the biological activities reported here. Nevertheless, some were classified as toxins/potentially interesting molecules: lectins, proteases and protease inhibitors were detected in both extracts, while the pore-forming toxin and hyaluronidase were associated with Sp-VP. Proteolytic and anti-microbial activities were linked to both extracts, while the main toxic activities - cardiovascular, inflammatory, hemolytic and nociceptive - were elicited only by Sp-VAe. Our study provided a clear picture on the composition of the skin mucus and the venom. We also show that the classic effects observed upon envenomation are produced by molecules from the venomous gland. Our results add to the growing catalogue of scorpaeniform fish venoms and their skin mucus proteins.

Significance: In this study a large number of proteins - including classical and non-classical toxins - were identified in the venomous apparatus and the skin mucus extracts of the Scorpaena plumieri fish through shotgun proteomic approach. It was shown that the toxic effects observed upon envenomation are elicited by molecules originated from the venomous gland. These results add to the growing catalogue of scorpaeniform fish venoms and their skin mucus proteins - so scarcely explored when compared to the venoms and bioactive components of terrestrial animals. Data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD009983.

Keywords: Biological activities; Fish skin mucus; Fish venom; Proteomics; Scorpaena plumieri.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fish Proteins / analysis*
  • Fish Proteins / metabolism
  • Fish Proteins / physiology*
  • Fish Venoms / analysis*
  • Fish Venoms / metabolism
  • Fish Venoms / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mucus / chemistry*
  • Mucus / metabolism
  • Perciformes / metabolism*
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Skin / chemistry*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Tissue Extracts / analysis
  • Tissue Extracts / metabolism


  • Fish Proteins
  • Fish Venoms
  • Tissue Extracts