King's College London

Research portal

"beyond Primary Sequence" - Proteomic Data Reveal Complex Toxins in Cnidarian Venoms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Adrian Jaimes-Becerra, Ranko Gacesa, Liam B. Doonan, Ashlie Hartigan, Antonio C. Marques, Beth Okamura, Paul F. Long

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-785
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

King's Authors


Venomous animals can deploy toxins for both predation and defense. These dual functions of toxins might be expected to promote the evolution of new venoms and alteration of their composition. Cnidarians are the most ancient venomous animals but our present understanding of their venom diversity is compromised by poor taxon sampling. New proteomic data were therefore generated to characterize toxins in venoms of a staurozoan, a hydrozoan, and an anthozoan. We then used a novel clustering approach to compare venom diversity in cnidarians to other venomous animals. Comparison of the presence or absence of 32 toxin protein families indicated venom composition did not vary widely among the 11 cnidarian species studied. Unsupervised clustering of toxin peptide sequences suggested that toxin composition of cnidarian venoms is just as complex as that in many venomous bilaterians, including marine snakes. The adaptive significance of maintaining a complex and relatively invariant venom remains unclear. Future study of cnidarian venom diversity, venom variation with nematocyst types and in different body regions are required to better understand venom evolution.

View graph of relations

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454