The venom of the spine-bellied sea snake (Hydrophis curtus): proteome, toxin diversity and intraspecific variation

Neale, Vanessa, Sotillo, Javier, Seymour, Jamie E., and Wilson, David (2017) The venom of the spine-bellied sea snake (Hydrophis curtus): proteome, toxin diversity and intraspecific variation. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 18 (12).

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The spine-bellied sea snake (Hydrophis curtus) is known to cause human deaths, yet its venom composition has not yet been proteomically characterised. An in-depth proteomic analysis was performed on H. curtus venom from two different seasons, January and June, corresponding to adults and subadults, respectively. Venoms from adult and subadult H. curtus individuals were compared using reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC), matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS) to detect intraspecific variation, and the molecular weight data obtained with ESI-MS were used to assess toxin diversity. RP-HPLC and LC-ESI-MS/MS were used to characterise the venom proteome and estimate the relative abundances of protein families present. The most abundant protein family in January and June venoms is phospholipase A2 (PLA2: January 66.7%; June 54.5%), followed by three-finger toxins (3FTx: January 30.4%; June 40.4%) and a minor component of cysteine-rich secretory proteins (CRISP: January 2.5%; June 5%). Trace amounts of snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMP), C-type lectins and housekeeping and regulatory proteins were also found. Although the complexity of the venom is low by number of families present, each family contained a more diverse set of isoforms than previously reported, a finding that may have implications for the development of next-generation sea snake antivenoms. Intraspecific variability was shown to be minor with one obvious exception of a 14,157-Da protein that was present in some January (adult) venoms, but not at all in June (subadult) venoms. There is also a greater abundance of short-chain neurotoxins in June (subadult) venom compared with January (adult) venom. These differences potentially indicate the presence of seasonal, ontogenetic or sexual variation in H. curtus venom.

Item ID: 52166
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1424-6783
Keywords: Hydrophis curtus, spine-bellied sea snake, sea snake venom, venom proteome, venomics, intraspecific variation
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This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2018 07:47
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3101 Biochemistry and cell biology > 310109 Proteomics and intermolecular interactions (excl. medical proteomics) @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310914 Vertebrate biology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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