Identification and comparative analysis of novel factors from the venom gland of the coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) and related species

St Pierre, Liam Daniel (2005) Identification and comparative analysis of novel factors from the venom gland of the coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) and related species. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Snake venoms are a complex mixture of polypeptide and other molecules that adversely affect multiple homeostatic systems within their prey in a highly specific and targeted manner. Amongst the most potently toxic venoms in the world are those of the Australian venomous snakes, which belong almost exclusively to the elapid family. Their venoms posses a number of unique properties by which they target the mammalian cardiovascular and neuromuscular systems and are the focus for the identification of novel pharmacologically interesting compounds which may be of diagnostic or therapeutic benefit. Although much is known about the biochemical properties of Australia snake venoms as a whole, little research attention has focused upon individual components at the molecular level. This thesis describes the cloning, characterisation and comparative analysis of a number of unique toxins from the venom gland of the coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) and a total of seven other related Australian snakes. These include the factor X- and factor V-like components of a prothrombin activator that causes a highly coagulable state in mammals. Comparative analysis of the sequences identified in this study, along with recombinant expression of an active form of the factor X-like component, provides important information on the structural, functional and evolutionary relationships of these molecules. Numerous other toxins were similarly identified and characterised including a pseudechetoxin-like protein, multiple phospholipase A2 enzymes and neurotoxin isoforms as well as vasoactive venom natriuretic peptides. Identified transcripts included not only toxin sequences but also other cellular peptides implicated in toxin processing, including a calglandulin-like protein. This thesis is the first description of the majority of these molecules at either the cDNA or protein level, and provides a means to study the activity of individual components from snake venoms and probe their function within the systems they specifically target. This study represents the most detailed and comprehensive description to date of the cloning and characterisation of different genes associated with envenomation from Australian snakes.

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ID Code: 16677
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Lavin, Martin, Marsh, Neville, & Masci, Paul
Keywords: coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus), Australian elapid snake, venom, gene cloning, recombinant protein expression, toxin, prothrombin activator, phospholipase a2, pseudechetoxin, neurotoxin, natriuretic peptide, calglandulin, l-amino acid oxidase
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > School of Life Sciences
Department: Faculty of Science
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Liam Daniel St Pierre
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:08
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:50

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