Small molecules in the venom of the scorpion Hormurus waigiensis

Evans, Edward R.J., McIntyre, Lachlan, Northfield, Tobin, Daly, Norelle L., and Wilson, David T. (2020) Small molecules in the venom of the scorpion Hormurus waigiensis. Biomedicines, 8 (8). 259.

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Despite scorpion stings posing a significant public health issue in particular regions of the world, certain aspects of scorpion venom chemistry remain poorly described. Although there has been extensive research into the identity and activity of scorpion venom peptides, non-peptide small molecules present in the venom have received comparatively little attention. Small molecules can have important functions within venoms; for example, in some spider species the main toxic components of the venom are acylpolyamines. Other molecules can have auxiliary effects that facilitate envenomation, such as purines with hypotensive properties utilised by snakes. In this study, we investigated some non-peptide small molecule constituents of Hormurus waigiensis venom using LC/MS, reversed-phase HPLC, and NMR spectroscopy. We identified adenosine, adenosine monophosphate (AMP), and citric acid within the venom, with low quantities of the amino acids glutamic acid and aspartic acid also being present. Purine nucleosides such as adenosine play important auxiliary functions in snake venoms when injected alongside other venom toxins, and they may have a similar role within H. waigiensis venom. Further research on these and other small molecules in scorpion venoms may elucidate their roles in prey capture and predator defence, and gaining a greater understanding of how scorpion venom components act in combination could allow for the development of improved first aid.

Item ID: 66236
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2227-9059
Keywords: venom; scorpion; adenosine; purine; nucleoside; nucleotide; citric acid; glutamic acid;aspartic acid
Copyright Information: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open accessarticle distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution(CC BY) license (
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2021 00:16
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3205 Medical biochemistry and metabolomics > 320501 Medical biochemistry - amino acids and metabolites @ 100%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 100%
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