The Transcriptome of the Zoanthid Protopalythoa variabilis (Cnidaria, Anthozoa) Predicts a Basal Repertoire of Toxin-like and Venom-Auxiliary Polypeptides
AbstractProtopalythoa is a zoanthid that, together with thousands of predominantly marine species, such as hydra, jellyfish, and sea anemones, composes the oldest eumetazoan phylum, i.e., the Cnidaria. Some of these species, such as sea wasps and sea anemones, are highly venomous organisms that can produce deadly toxins for preying, for defense or for territorial disputes. Despite the fact that hundreds of organic and polypeptide toxins have been characterized from sea anemones and jellyfish, practically nothing is known about the toxin repertoire in zoanthids. Here, based on a transcriptome analysis of the zoanthid Protopalythoa variabilis, numerous predicted polypeptides with canonical venom protein features are identified. These polypeptides comprise putative proteins from different toxin families: neurotoxic peptides, hemostatic and hemorrhagic toxins, membrane-active (pore-forming) proteins, protease inhibitors, mixed-function venom enzymes, and venom auxiliary proteins. The synthesis and functional analysis of two of these predicted toxin products, one related to the ShK/Aurelin family and the other to a recently discovered anthozoan toxin, displayed potent in vivo neurotoxicity that impaired swimming in larval zebrafish. Altogether, the complex array of venom-related transcripts that are identified in P. variabilis, some of which are first reported in Cnidaria, provides novel insight into the toxin distribution among species and might contribute to the understanding of composition and evolution of venom polypeptides in toxiferous animals.
[…] The presence of signal peptide motif in the protein precursor sequences of P. variabilis was predicted and compared using both the Signal-BLAST with the detection mode set as “Balanced Prediction” () and SignalP with the default D-cutoff value (). […]
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