Lomonte, Bruno, et al. “Comparative characterization of Viperidae snake venoms from Perú reveals two compositional patterns of phospholipase A2 expression.” Toxicon: X, vol. 7, 2020, p. 100044., doi:10.1016/j.toxcx.2020.100044.
Snake species within the Bothrops complex (sensu lato) are of medical relevance in Latin America, but knowledge on their venom characteristics is limited, or even unavailable, for some taxa. Perú harbors 17 species of pit vipers, within the genera Bothrops, Bothriechis, Bothrocophias, Porthidium, Crotalus, and Lachesis. This study compared the venoms of twelve species, through chromatographic and electrophoretic profiles, as well as proteolytic and phospholipase A2 (PLA2) activities. Also, proteomic profiles were analyzed for nine of the venoms using a shotgun approach. Results unveiled conspicuous differences in the expression of venom PLA2s among species, six of them presenting scarce levels as judged by RP-HPLC profiles. Since most species within the bothropoid lineage possess venoms with high to intermediate abundances of this protein family, our findings suggest the existence of a phenotypic duality in the expression of venom PLA2s within the Bothrops (sensu lato) complex. Bothrops barnetti and Bothrocophias andianus venoms, very scarce in PLA2s, were shown to lack significant myotoxic activity, highlighting that the observed variability in PLA2 expression bears toxicological correlations with effects attributed to these proteins. Finally, an attempt to identify phylogenetic relationships of bothropoid species from Perú presenting low- or high-PLA2 venom phenotypes showed an interspersed pattern, thus precluding a simple phylogenetic interpretation of this venom compositional dichotomy.