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    Scorpion venoms are a rich source of bioactive molecules, but characterisation of toxin peptides affecting cytosolic Ca2+, central to cell signalling and cell death, is limited. We undertook a functional screening of the venom of the Australian scorpion Hormurus waigiensis to determine the breadth of Ca2+ mobilisation. A human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cell line stably expressing the genetically encoded Ca2+ reporter GCaMP5G and the rabbit type 1 ryanodine receptor (RyR1) was developed as a biosensor. Size-exclusion Fast Protein Liquid Chromatography separated the venom into 53 fractions, constituting 12 chromatographic peaks. Liquid chromatography mass spectroscopy identified 182 distinct molecules with 3 to 63 components per peak. The molecular weights varied from 258 Da-13.6 kDa, with 53% under 1 kDa. The majority of the venom chromatographic peaks (tested as six venom pools) were found to reversibly modulate cell monolayer bioimpedance, detected using the xCELLigence platform (ACEA Biosciences). Confocal Ca2+ imaging showed 9/14 peak samples, with molecules spanning the molecular size range, increased cytosolic Ca2+ mobilization. H. waigiensis venom Ca2+ activity was correlated with changes in bio-impedance, reflecting multi-modal toxin actions on cell physiology across the venom proteome.


    David M Housley, Jeremy L Pinyon, Georg von Jonquieres, Chamini J Perera, Michael Smout, Michael J Liddell, Ernest A Jennings, David Wilson, Gary D Housley. Australian Scorpion Hormurus waigiensis Venom Fractions Show Broad Bioactivity Through Modulation of Bio-Impedance and Cytosolic Calcium. Biomolecules. 2020 Apr 16;10(4)

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    PMID: 32316246

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