Comparative gender peptidomics of Bothrops atrox venoms: are there differences between them?
Abstract Background: Bothrops atrox is known to be the pit viper responsible for most snakebites and human fatalities in the Amazon region. It can be found in a wide geographical area including northern South America, the east of Andes and the Amazon basin. Possibly, due to its wide distribution and generalist feeding, intraspecific venom variation was reported by previous proteomics studies. Sex-based and ontogenetic variations on venom compositions of Bothrops snakes were also subject of proteomic and peptidomic analysis. However, the venom peptidome of B. atrox remains unknown. Methods: We conducted a mass spectrometry-based analysis of the venom peptides of individual male and female specimens combining bottom-up and top-down approaches. Results: We identified in B. atrox a total of 105 native peptides in the mass range of 0.4 to 13.9 kDa. Quantitative analysis showed that phospholipase A2 and bradykinin potentiating peptides were the most abundant peptide families in both genders, whereas disintegrin levels were significantly increased in the venoms of females. Known peptides processed at non-canonical sites and new peptides as the Ba1a, which contains the SVMP BATXSVMPII1 catalytic site, were also revealed in this work. Conclusion: The venom peptidomes of male and female specimens of B. atrox were analyzed by mass spectrometry-based approaches in this work. The study points to differences in disintegrin levels in the venoms of females that may result in distinct pathophysiology of envenomation. Further research is required to explore the potential biological implications of this finding.