A Meta-Analysis of the Protein Components in Rattlesnake Venom
Thallapuranam, Suresh Kumar
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The specificity and potency of venom components give them a unique advantage in developing various pharmaceutical drugs. Though venom is a cocktail of proteins, rarely are the synergy and association between various venom components studied. Understanding the relationship between various components of venom is critical in medical research. Using meta-analysis, we observed underlying patterns and associations in the appearance of the toxin families. For Crotalus, Dis has the most associations with the following toxins: PDE; BPP; CRL; CRiSP; LAAO; SVMP P-I and LAAO; SVMP P-III and LAAO. In Sistrurus venom, CTL and NGF have the most associations. These associations can predict the presence of proteins in novel venom and understand synergies between venom components for enhanced bioactivity. Using this approach, the need to revisit the classification of proteins as major components or minor components is highlighted. The revised classification of venom components is based on ubiquity, bioactivity, the number of associations, and synergies. The revised classification can be expected to trigger increased research on venom components, such as NGF, which have high biomedical significance. Using hierarchical clustering, we observed that the genera’s venom compositions were similar, based on functional characteristics rather than phylogenetic relationships.