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Multiple representatives of eulipotyphlan mammals such as shrews have oral venom systems. Venom facilitates shrews to hunt and/or hoard preys. However, little is known about their venom composition, and especially the mechanism to hoard prey in comatose states for meeting their extremely high metabolic rates. A toxin (BQTX) was identified from venomous submaxillary glands of the shrew Blarinella quadraticauda. BQTX is specifically distributed and highly concentrated (~ 1% total protein) in the organs. BQTX shares structural and functional similarities to toxins from snakes, wasps and snails, suggesting an evolutional relevancy of venoms from mammalians and non-mammalians. By potentiating thrombin and factor-XIIa and inhibiting plasmin, BQTX induces acute hypertension, blood coagulation and hypokinesia. It also shows strong analgesic function by inhibiting elastase. Notably, the toxin keeps high plasma stability with a 16-h half-life in-vivo, which likely extends intoxication to paralyze or immobilize prey hoarded fresh for later consumption and maximize foraging profit. © 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


Zhiyi Liao, Xiaopeng Tang, Wenlin Chen, Xuelong Jiang, Zhongzheng Chen, Kai He, Quan Li, Zilei Duan, Xiaoqin He, Peter Muiruri Kamau, Longbao Lv, Zhiye Zhang, Mingqiang Rong, Qiumin Lv, Ren Lai. Shrew's venom quickly causes circulation disorder, analgesia and hypokinesia. Cellular and molecular life sciences : CMLS. 2022 Jan 06;79(1):35

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PMID: 34989866

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