A proteomic and transcriptomic comparative analysis of the venoms of three Atheris species (A. squamigera, A. nitschei and A. chlorechis) was carried out by size exclusion liquid chromatography, gel electrophoresis, mass spectrometry, and mRNA sequencing. The improved proteomic profiling utilised in this work was combined with transcript studies, advancing our insights into venom composition, protein distribution and inter-species variation among the three bush vipers. Crude venoms of all three samples contained at least 10-20 protein components, ranging in size from ≤ 3 to > 98 kDa. Both approaches yielded converging overall information, pointing to phospholipases, disintegrins, serine proteases and metalloproteases as the major toxin classes, which are likely to explain the local and systemic symptoms observed in envenomation by Atheris genus. Being considered as the main factors involved in the distinct venom-induced pathologies, these identified snake venom proteins are of particular interest in terms of understanding their physiological and biological function as well as for their contribution in potential medical treatments.
- Atheris; Proteomics; Snake venom; Toxins