Special Issue "Toxinologic and Pharmacological Investigation of Venomous Arthropods"

A special issue of Toxins (ISSN 2072-6651). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Venoms".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Katsuhiro Konno
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Natural Medicine, University of Toyama, Toyama 930-0194, Japan
Interests: natural products chemistry; solitary wasp and ant venom peptides; sea anemone toxins; spider toxins
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Gandhi Rádis-Baptista
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Institute of Marine Sciences, Federal University of Ceará, Ceará, Brazil
Interests: transcriptome of arthropods, cnidarians and other venomous animals; peptide engineering; anti-proliferative peptides; membranolytic peptides; pharmaceutical biotechnology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Arthropods comprise the largest group of living animals that include thousands of species that inhabit marine and terrestrial niches in the biosphere. Among the major groups of terrestrial arthropods, several classes contain venomous species, such as arachnids (scorpions and spiders), hymenopterans (ants, bees, and wasps), and chilopods (centipedes). Many of them have well-developed venom apparatus and rich-blends of toxins in their venoms that are used for self-defense and prey capture. Some of them are harmful to humans, and even today cause many poisoning incidents all over the world. On the other hand, the arthropod venoms are recognized for the chemical and structural richness of their bioactive compounds and, consequently, for the diverse pharmacological activities and potential of drug discovery. The arthropod venoms contain not only peptides and proteins as major components, but also small organic molecules (e.g., biogenic amines and polyamines), which in combination may synergistically act to disrupt the physiological circuit of victims and/or prey. Thus, chemical and pharmacological investigation of arthropod venoms have been one of the major aspects of Toxinology that have made it possible for molecular pharmaceutical intervention to treat, for instance, chronic pain, immunological and neurological disorders, and infections caused by multi-drug resistant microbes. In recent years, remarkable progress of analytical methods by mass spectroscopy combined with transcriptomic and proteomic approaches, as well as with other “omics” methodologies, like metabolomics, made it possible to reveal the diversity and usefulness of the venom components from some tiny arthropod species. However, given the huge number of species of arthropods, there are still many understudied venoms that demand more detailed investigation regarding the pharmacological mode of action and structure–activity relationships, aiming at the medical application of native venom components and derivatives. Moreover, venom peptides have been harnessed to be developed into target-selective and specific biotherapeutics to tackle diseased processes of cells. This new Special Issue is a sequel to the previously published Special Issue “Arthropod Venom Components and their Potential Usage”. Hence, we would like to collect and combine in this companion Special Issue state-of-the-art progress that results from chemical, biological, and pharmacological research of arthropod venoms.

Dr. Katsuhiro Konno
Prof. Gandhi Rádis-Baptista
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxins is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • arthropod venom
  • venom components
  • peptide toxins
  • protein toxins
  • proteomics
  • transcriptomics
  • venomics
  • metabolomics
  • action mechanism
  • structure-activity relationship
  • venom-derived peptide leads
  • medical application
  • pharmaceutical biotechnology
  • biotherapeutics

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Stability and Safety of Inhibitor Cystine Knot Peptide, GTx1-15, from the Tarantula Spider Grammostola rosea
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 621; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090621 - 03 Sep 2021
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Abstract
Inhibitor cystine knot (ICK) peptides are knotted peptides with three intramolecular disulfide bonds that affect several types of ion channels. Some are proteolytically stable and are promising scaffolds for drug development. GTx1-15 is an ICK peptide that inhibits the voltage-dependent calcium channel Ca [...] Read more.
Inhibitor cystine knot (ICK) peptides are knotted peptides with three intramolecular disulfide bonds that affect several types of ion channels. Some are proteolytically stable and are promising scaffolds for drug development. GTx1-15 is an ICK peptide that inhibits the voltage-dependent calcium channel Cav3.1 and the voltage-dependent sodium channels Nav1.3 and Nav1.7. As a model molecule to develop an ICK peptide drug, we investigated several important pharmaceutical characteristics of GTx1-15. The stability of GTx1-15 in rat and human blood plasma was examined, and no GTx1-15 degradation was observed in either rat or human blood plasma for 24 h in vitro. GTx1-15 in blood circulation was detected for several hours after intravenous and intramuscular administration, indicating high stability in plasma. The thermal stability of GTx1-15 as examined by high thermal incubation and protein thermal shift assays indicated that GTx1-15 possesses high heat stability. The cytotoxicity and immunogenicity of GTx1-15 were examined using the human monocytic leukemia cell line THP-1. GTx1-15 showed no cytotoxicity or immunogenicity even at high concentrations. These results indicate that GTx1-15 itself is suitable for peptide drug development and as a peptide library scaffold. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxinologic and Pharmacological Investigation of Venomous Arthropods)
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Article
Antiparasitic Effects of Potentially Toxic Beetles (Tenebrionidae and Meloidae) from Steppe Zones
Toxins 2021, 13(7), 489; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13070489 - 14 Jul 2021
Viewed by 740
Abstract
Arthropods and specifically beetles can synthesize and/or sequester metabolites from dietary sources. In beetle families such as Tenebrionidae and Meloidae, a few studies have reported species with toxic defensive substances and antiparasitic properties that are consumed by birds. Here we have studied the [...] Read more.
Arthropods and specifically beetles can synthesize and/or sequester metabolites from dietary sources. In beetle families such as Tenebrionidae and Meloidae, a few studies have reported species with toxic defensive substances and antiparasitic properties that are consumed by birds. Here we have studied the antiparasitic activity of extracts from beetle species present in the habitat of the Great Bustard (Otis tarda) against four pathogen models (Aspergillus niger, Meloidogyne javanica, Hyalomma lusitanicum, and Trichomonas gallinae). The insect species extracted were Tentyria peiroleri, Scaurus uncinus, Blaps lethifera (Tenebrionidae), and Mylabris quadripunctata (Meloidae). M. quadripunctata exhibited potent activity against M. javanica and T. gallinae, while T. peiroleri exhibited moderate antiprotozoal activity. The chemical composition of the insect extracts was studied by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis. The most abundant compounds in the four beetle extracts were hydrocarbons and fatty acids such as palmitic acid, myristic acid and methyl linoleate, which are characteristic of insect cuticles. The presence of cantharidin (CTD) in the M. quadripunctata meloid and ethyl oleate (EO) in T. peiroleri accounted for the bioactivity of their extracts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxinologic and Pharmacological Investigation of Venomous Arthropods)
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Article
Sphingomyelinase D Activity in Sicarius tropicus Venom: Toxic Potential and Clues to the Evolution of SMases D in the Sicariidae Family
Toxins 2021, 13(4), 256; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13040256 - 01 Apr 2021
Viewed by 917
Abstract
The spider family Sicariidae includes three genera, Hexophthalma, Sicarius and Loxosceles. The three genera share a common characteristic in their venoms: the presence of Sphingomyelinases D (SMase D). SMases D are considered the toxins that cause the main pathological effects of [...] Read more.
The spider family Sicariidae includes three genera, Hexophthalma, Sicarius and Loxosceles. The three genera share a common characteristic in their venoms: the presence of Sphingomyelinases D (SMase D). SMases D are considered the toxins that cause the main pathological effects of the Loxosceles venom, that is, those responsible for the development of loxoscelism. Some studies have shown that Sicarius spiders have less or undetectable SMase D activity in their venoms, when compared to Hexophthalma. In contrast, our group has shown that Sicarius ornatus, a Brazilian species, has active SMase D and toxic potential to envenomation. However, few species of Sicarius have been characterized for their toxic potential. In order to contribute to a better understanding about the toxicity of Sicarius venoms, the aim of this study was to characterize the toxic properties of male and female venoms from Sicarius tropicus and compare them with that from Loxosceles laeta, one of the most toxic Loxosceles venoms. We show here that S. tropicus venom presents active SMases D. However, regarding hemolysis development, it seems that these toxins in this species present different molecular mechanisms of action than that described for Loxosceles venoms, whereas it is similar to those present in bacteria containing SMase D. Besides, our results also suggest that, in addition to the interspecific differences, intraspecific variations in the venoms’ composition may play a role in the toxic potential of venoms from Sicarius species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxinologic and Pharmacological Investigation of Venomous Arthropods)
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