Convergent evolution of pain-inducing defensive venom components in spitting cobras

Kazandjian, T.D., Petras, D., Robinson, S.D., van Thiel, J., Greene, H.W., Arbuckle, K., Barlow, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-5532-9458, Carter, D.A., Wouters, R.M., Whiteley, G., Wagstaff, S.C., Arias, A.S., Albulescu, L., Plettenberg Laing, A., Hall, C., Heap, A., Penrhyn-Lowe, S., McCabe, C.V., Ainsworth, S., da Silva, R.R., Dorrestein, P.C., Richardson, M.K., Gutiérrez, J.M., Calvete, J.J., Harrison, R.A., Vetter, I., Undheim, E.A.B., Wüster, W. and Casewell, N.R., 2021. Convergent evolution of pain-inducing defensive venom components in spitting cobras. Science, 371 (6527), pp. 386-390. ISSN 0036-8075

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Abstract

Convergent evolution provides insights into the selective drivers underlying evolutionary change. Snake venoms, with a direct genetic basis and clearly defined functional phenotype, provide a model system for exploring the repeated evolution of adaptations. While snakes use venom primarily for predation, and venom composition often reflects diet specificity, three lineages of cobras have independently evolved the ability to spit venom at adversaries. Using gene, protein, and functional analyses, we show that the three spitting lineages possess venoms characterized by an up-regulation of phospholipase A2 (PLA2) toxins, which potentiate the action of preexisting venom cytotoxins to activate mammalian sensory neurons and cause enhanced pain. These repeated independent changes provide a fascinating example of convergent evolution across multiple phenotypic levels driven by selection for defense.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Science
Creators: Kazandjian, T.D., Petras, D., Robinson, S.D., van Thiel, J., Greene, H.W., Arbuckle, K., Barlow, A., Carter, D.A., Wouters, R.M., Whiteley, G., Wagstaff, S.C., Arias, A.S., Albulescu, L., Plettenberg Laing, A., Hall, C., Heap, A., Penrhyn-Lowe, S., McCabe, C.V., Ainsworth, S., da Silva, R.R., Dorrestein, P.C., Richardson, M.K., Gutiérrez, J.M., Calvete, J.J., Harrison, R.A., Vetter, I., Undheim, E.A.B., Wüster, W. and Casewell, N.R.
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Date: 22 January 2021
Volume: 371
Number: 6527
ISSN: 0036-8075
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1126/science.abb9303DOI
1404468Other
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 01 Feb 2021 11:52
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2021 11:52
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/42157

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