Small Molecules in the Venom of the Scorpion Hormurus waigiensis

Edward R. J. Evans, Lachlan McIntyre, Tobin D. Northfield, Norelle L. Daly, David T. Wilson
2020 Biomedicines  
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
more » ... mponents 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.
doi:10.3390/biomedicines8080259 pmid:32751897 fatcat:veqplh2owjenzjkb4d37ndbx5q