TitleMultifunctional warheads: Diversification of the toxin arsenal of centipedes via novel multidomain transcripts
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsUndheim EAB, Sunagar K, Hamilton BR, Jones A, Venter DJ, Fry BG, King GF
Date PublishedMay 6
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1874-3919
Accession NumberBIOSIS:PREV201400462408
Keywords(EC, (toxin), 10060, Biochemistry studies - General, 10802, Enzymes - General and, 22501, Toxicology - General and methods, 64056, Invertebrata: comparative, experimental morphology, physiology, 81510-83-0, 9001-92-7, and pathology - Arthropoda: myriapoda, Animals, Arthropods,, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Chilopoda [75202], comparative studies: coenzymes, Invertebrates, Myriapods, laboratory techniques, imaging and microscopy techniques, MALDI-imaging, Myriapoda, Arthropoda, Invertebrata, Animalia, peptide/prepropeptide/cysteine-rich peptide/arsenal, protease, Toxicology, [Scolopendra morsitans]
AbstractArthropod toxins are almost invariably encoded by transcripts encoding prepropeptides that are posttranslationally processed to yield a single mature toxin. In striking contrast to this paradigm, we used a complementary transcriptomic, proteomic and MALDI-imaging approach to identify four classes of multidomain centipede-toxin transcripts that each encodes multiple mature toxins. These multifunctional warheads comprise either: (1) repeats of linear peptides; (2) linear peptides preceding cysteine-rich peptides; (3) cysteine-rich peptides preceding linear peptides; or (4) repeats of linear peptides preceding cysteine-rich peptides. MALDI imaging of centipede venom glands revealed that these peptides are posttranslationally liberated from the original gene product in the venom gland and not by proteases following venom secretion. These multidomain transcripts exhibit a remarkable conservation of coding sequences, in striking contrast to monodomain toxin transcripts from related centipede species, and we demonstrate that they represent a rare class of predatory toxins that have evolved under strong negative selection. We hypothesize that the peptide toxins liberated from multidomain precursors might have synergistic modes of action, thereby allowing negative selection to dominate as the toxins encoded by the same transcript become increasingly interdependent.Biological significanceThese results have direct implications for understanding the evolution of centipede venoms, and highlight the importance of taking a multidisciplinary approach for the investigation of novel venoms. The potential synergistic actions of the mature peptides are also of relevance to the growing biodiscovery efforts aimed at centipede venom. We also demonstrate the application of MALDI imaging in providing a greater understanding of toxin production in venom glands. This is the first MALDI imaging data of any venom gland. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.