Venom, a complex biochemical cocktail of biologically active components, such as proteins, peptides, amino acids, neurotransmitters and polyamines, has underpinned the successful diversification of venomous animals, such as scorpions, spiders, and lionfish. Current research focusing on potential pharmacological agents or physiological tools found in the toxins of venomous animals (e.g. snakes) revealed several pharmaceuticals with function ranging from anticoagulation to antiangiogenesis.
Venomous fishes have been largely ignored as a source of potential pharmaceuticals compared to terrestrial animal groups, with only around one dozen toxins characterized to date from venomous fishes. However, recent findings suggest that there may be more venomous fish species than all other venomous vertebrates combined, yet little is known about the composition of venoms present in fishes. Therefore, venomous fishes represent an untapped resource of natural products with potential pharmaceutical benefits waiting for exploitation.
Thus, we will study representatives of venomous osteichthyes from Siluriformes, Beryciformes, Perciformes and Scorpaeniformes, using a combination of transcriptomics and peptidomics (LC-MS/MS sequencing), followed by extended bioinformatics analyses, to successfully identify the toxin-like peptides in fish venoms.
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