Sphingomyelinase D activity in Sicarius Tropicus Venom: toxic potential and clues to the evolution of SMases D in the Sicariidae family
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The spider family Sicariidae includes three genera, Hexophthalma, Sicarius and Loxosceles. The three genera share a common characteristic in their venoms: the presence of Sphingomyelinases D (SMase D). SMases D are considered the toxins that cause the main pathological effects of the Loxosceles venom, that is, those responsible for the development of loxoscelism. Some studies have shown that Sicarius spiders have less or undetectable SMase D activity in their venoms, when compared to Hexophthalma. In contrast, our group has shown that Sicarius ornatus, a Brazilian species, has active SMase D and toxic potential to envenomation. However, few species of Sicarius have been characterized for their toxic potential. In order to contribute to a better understanding about the toxicity of Sicarius venoms, the aim of this study was to characterize the toxic properties of male and female venoms from Sicarius tropicus and compare them with that from Loxosceles laeta, one of the most toxic Loxosceles venoms. We show here that S. tropicus venom presents active SMases D. However, regarding hemolysis development, it seems that these toxins in this species present different molecular mechanisms of action than that described for Loxosceles venoms, whereas it is similar to those present in bacteria containing SMase D. Besides, our results also suggest that, in addition to the interspecific differences, intraspecific variations in the venoms’ composition may play a role in the toxic potential of venoms from Sicarius species.
Lopes PH, Fukushima CS, Shoji RF, Bertani R, Tambourgi DV. Sphingomyelinase D activity in Sicarius Tropicus Venom: toxic potential and clues to the evolution of SMases D in the Sicariidae family. Toxins. 2021 Apr;13(4):256. doi:10.3390/toxins13040256.
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