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Arachnids of medical importance in Brazil: main active compounds present in scorpion and spider venoms and tick saliva

By Francielle A. Cordeiro, Fernanda G. Amorim, Fernando A. P. Anjolette and Eliane C. Arantes


Arachnida is the largest class among the arthropods, constituting over 60,000 described species (spiders, mites, ticks, scorpions, palpigrades, pseudoscorpions, solpugids and harvestmen). Many accidents are caused by arachnids, especially spiders and scorpions, while some diseases can be transmitted by mites and ticks. These animals are widely dispersed in urban centers due to the large availability of shelter and food, increasing the incidence of accidents. Several protein and non-protein compounds present in the venom and saliva of these animals are responsible for symptoms observed in envenoming, exhibiting neurotoxic, dermonecrotic and hemorrhagic activities. The phylogenomic analysis from the complementary DNA of single-copy nuclear protein-coding genes shows that these animals share some common protein families known as neurotoxins, defensins, hyaluronidase, antimicrobial peptides, phospholipases and proteinases. This indicates that the venoms from these animals may present components with functional and structural similarities. Therefore, we described in this review the main components present in spider and scorpion venom as well as in tick saliva, since they have similar components. These three arachnids are responsible for many accidents of medical relevance in Brazil. Additionally, this study shows potential biotechnological applications of some components with important biological activities, which may motivate the conducting of further research studies on their action mechanisms

Topics: Arachnid toxins, Scorpion venom, Spider venom, Tick saliva, Arctic medicine. Tropical medicine, RC955-962, Toxicology. Poisons, RA1190-1270, Zoology, QL1-991
Publisher: BMC
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.1186/s40409-015-0028-5
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