Turkish scorpion Buthacus macrocentrus: general characterization of the venom and description of Bu1, a potent mammalian Na⁺-channel α-toxin.

Caliskan F., Quintero-Hernandez V., Restano-Cassulini R., Batista C. V. F., Zarnudio F. Z., Coronas F. I., ...More

Toxicon : official journal of the International Society on Toxinology, vol.59, no.3, pp.408-15, 2012 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


The venom of the scorpion Buthacus macrocentrus of Turkey was fractionated by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and its mass finger print analysis was obtained by spectrometry. More than 70 different fractions were obtained, allowing the determination of the molecular masses of at least 60 peptides ranging between 648 and 44,336 Da. The venom is enriched with peptides containing molecular masses between 3200-4500 Da, and 6000-7500 Da. They very likely correspond to K+-channel and Na+-channel specific peptides, respectively, as expected from venoms of scorpions of the family Buthidae, already determined for other species. The major component obtained from HPLC was shown to be lethal to mice and was further purified and characterized. It contains 65 amino acid residues maintained closely packed by 4 disulfide bridges, and shows a molecular weight of 7263 Da. Additionally, a cDNA from the venomous glands of this scorpion was used in conjunction with sequence data from Edman degradation and mass spectrometry for cloning the gene that codes for Bu1 as we named this toxin. This gene codes for a 67 amino acid residues peptide, where the two last are eliminated post-translationally for production of an amidated C-terminal arginine. Its sequence is closely related to toxins from the species Leiurus quinquestriatus, as revealed by a phylogenetic tree analysis. Electrophysiological results conducted with Bu1 using patch-clamp techniques indicate that it modifies the Na+ currents, in a similar way as other well known alpha-scorpion toxins. These results support the conclusion that this species of scorpions is dangerous to humans, having an epidemiological interest for the country. (c) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.