Cytotoxic and genotoxic effects on human keratinocytes triggered by sphingomyelinase D from Loxosceles venom

The spiders of the Loxosceles genus (called brown or violin spiders) are of medical relevance in several countries due to the many human envenomation cases reported. The main component of Loxosceles venom is the enzyme sphingomyelinase D (SMase D), which is responsible for the local and systemic effects induced by the whole venom. Here, we investigated the cytotoxic and genotoxic effects caused by Loxosceles laeta venom and SMase D on human keratinocytes to better understand the dermonecrosis development mechanism. Our findings indicate that whole venom, as well as SMase D, increases intracellular superoxide levels, leading to DNA damage. These effects appear to be dependent on the binding of SMase D to the cell surface, although the complete pathway triggered as a result of the binding still needs to be elucidated. Moreover, after SMase D treatment, we observed the presence of histone ?H2AX, suggesting that the cells are undergoing DNA repair. Moreover, when ATR kinase was inhibited, the cell viability of human keratinocytes was decreased. Together, our findings strongly suggest that L. laeta venom, as well as SMase D, increases intracellular superoxide levels, leading to DNA damage in human keratinocytes. Additionally, the induced DNA damage is repaired through the activation of an apparent ATR-mediated DNA-damage response. This knowledge may contribute to a better understanding of the behaviour of human keratinocytes during cutaneous loxoscelism, a condition that affects thousands of people around the world.
Keywords
Loxosceles venom;  Sphingomyelinase D;  Reactive oxygen species;  DNA damage;  DNA-damage response

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Silva MS, Lopes PH, Elias MC, Tambourgi DV. Cytotoxic and genotoxic effects on human keratinocytes triggered by sphingomyelinase D from Loxosceles venom. Arch. Toxicol.. 2020 jun.. doi:10.1007/s00204-020-02830-2.
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