Snake venom color and L-amino acid oxidase: an evidence of long-term captive Crotalus durissus terrificus venom plasticity

The venom color variation of Crotalus durissus terrificus (Cdt) is attributed to the presence of the toxin L-amino acid oxidase (LAAO). During the venom milking routine of Instituto Butantan, we have noticed that most venoms of captive Cdt specimens show a yellowish color, while most venoms of wild specimens are white. Here we describe a comparative analysis of long-term captive (LTC) and recently wild-caught (RWC) Cdt, focusing on LAAO variation. For the identification of LAAO in individual venoms, four different approaches were employed: evaluation of the enzymatic activity, SDS-PAGE, Western blotting, and ELISA. In addition, mass spectrometry analysis was performed using pooled samples. Although some variation among these methodologies was observed, it was possible to notice that LAAOs presence were significantly higher in the venom of LTC individuals. LAAO was identified in 60-80% LTC specimens and in only 10-12% of RWC specimens. Furthermore, this enzyme accounts for 5.6% of total venom proteins of LTC Cdt pooled venom, while it corresponds to only 0.7% of RWC Cdt pooled venom. These findings strongly suggest that captive maintenance increases the expression of LAAO in Cdt venom.
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Lima EOV, Tasima LJ, Hatakeyama DM, Silva CS, Fabri C, Galizio NC, et al. Snake venom color and L-amino acid oxidase: an evidence of long-term captive Crotalus durissus terrificus venom plasticity. Toxicon X. 2021 Jan:in press. doi:10.1016/j.toxicon.2021.01.006.
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