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PubMed 26054852


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Title: The venomous cocktail of the vampire snail Colubraria reticulata (Mollusca, Gastropoda).

Authors: Maria Vittoria Modica, Fabrizio Lombardo, Paolo Franchini, Marco Oliverio

Journal, date & volume: BMC Genomics, 2015 , 16, 441

PubMed link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26054852


Abstract
Hematophagy arose independently multiple times during metazoan evolution, with several lineages of vampire animals particularly diversified in invertebrates. However, the biochemistry of hematophagy has been studied in a few species of direct medical interest and is still underdeveloped in most invertebrates, as in general is the study of venom toxins. In cone snails, leeches, arthropods and snakes, the strong target specificity of venom toxins uniquely aligns them to industrial and academic pursuits (pharmacological applications, pest control etc.) and provides a biochemical tool for studying biological activities including cell signalling and immunological response. Neogastropod snails (cones, oyster drills etc.) are carnivorous and include active predators, scavengers, grazers on sessile invertebrates and hematophagous parasites; most of them use venoms to efficiently feed. It has been hypothesized that trophic innovations were the main drivers of rapid radiation of Neogastropoda in the late Cretaceous. We present here the first molecular characterization of the alimentary secretion of a non-conoidean neogastropod, Colubraria reticulata. Colubrariids successfully feed on the blood of fishes, throughout the secretion into the host of a complex mixture of anaesthetics and anticoagulants. We used a NGS RNA-Seq approach, integrated with differential expression analyses and custom searches for putative secreted feeding-related proteins, to describe in detail the salivary and mid-oesophageal transcriptomes of this Mediterranean vampire snail, with functional and evolutionary insights on major families of bioactive molecules.A remarkably low level of overlap was observed between the gene expression in the two target tissues, which also contained a high percentage of putatively secreted proteins when compared to the whole body. At least 12 families of feeding-related proteins were identified, including: 1) anaesthetics, such as ShK Toxin-containing proteins and turripeptides (ion-channel blockers), Cysteine-rich secretory proteins (CRISPs), Adenosine Deaminase (ADA); 2) inhibitors of primary haemostasis, such as novel vWFA domain-containing proteins, the Ectonucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase family member 5 (ENPP5) and the wasp Antigen-5; 3) anticoagulants, such as TFPI-like multiple Kunitz-type protease inhibitors, Peptidases S1 (PS1), CAP/ShKT domain-containing proteins, Astacin metalloproteases and Astacin/ShKT domain-containing proteins; 4) additional proteins, such the Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE: vasopressive) and the cytolytic Porins.Colubraria feeding physiology seems to involve inhibitors of both primary and secondary haemostasis, anaesthetics, a vasoconstrictive enzyme to reduce feeding time and tissue-degrading proteins such as Porins and Astacins. The complexity of Colubraria venomous cocktail and the divergence from the arsenal of the few neogastropods studied to date (mostly conoideans) suggest that biochemical diversification of neogastropods might be largely underestimated and worth of extensive investigation.