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Naja kaouthia and Micrurus spp. venoms: how similar are they?
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1  Butantan Institute
Academic Editor: Bryan Fry

Published: 27 June 2022 by MDPI in Pathogens and Natural Toxins e-Conference section Venomous Animals

Naja kaouthia is a medically important Asian snake from the Elapidae family. In Brazil, the Elapidae family is represented by the Micrurus genus, and the antielapidic serum is produced using M. corallinus and M. frontalis venoms. There are still barriers in the antielapidic serum production, such as breeding snakes from the Micrurus genus and the small amount of venom extracted from individuals. Due to evolutionary and venom composition resemblances between N. kaouthia and Micrurus genus, like the large amount of three-finger toxins (3FTx) and phospholipases A2 (PLA2), it is interesting to search for similar proteins in N. kaouthia’s venom as a possible alternative to enrich the pool of Micrurus’ venoms used in the antielapid serum production. The venom composition and function of 29 N. kaouthia individuals and three different Micrurus species, M. altirostris, M. lemniscatus and M. spixii, were evaluated by measurement of enzymatic activities of L-amino acid oxidase (LAAO), PLA2 and proteolytic activity over azocasein, SDS-PAGE, RP-HPLC, ELISA and Western Blotting (using antielapidic and antinaja serums). Analyzing the results obtained, the N. kaouthia venom enzymatic activities were most like to the M. altirostris venom activities, which suggested similarities in venom composition. SDS-PAGE profile of the four species had differences in the high molecular weight bands and only quantitative variations in the region correspondent to PLA2 and 3FTx, between 10 and 15 kDa. RP-HPLC profiles of the four species were severely different, the Micrurus species presenting more abundance of peaks. Finally, the Western Blotting showed cross reactivity between a band of approximately 10 kDa from M. lemniscatus venom and the antinaja serum and between two bands among 10 and 15 kDa in N. kaouthia venom and the antielapidic serum. So, the recognized bands in N. kaouthia, probably 3FTx and PLA2, have the potential to enrich the antielapid venom pool. Acknowledgements: This work was supported by FAPESP processes 2018/25786-0 and 2021/05405-5.

Keywords: antivenom; snake venom; Elapidae
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