American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology

Identification of Venom-Specific Fingerprints of Clinically Relevant Uruguayan Snakes by MALDI-TOF

Norma Suarez and Victor Morais

DOI : 10.3844/ajbbsp.2019.119.124

American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology

Volume 15, Issue 3

Pages 119-124


Snakebite envenomation is a particular public health problem in many areas of the world, including extensive areas of Latin America. In particular, in Uruguay, snakebite accidents are caused by two snakes of the genus Bothrops: Bothrops alternatus and Bothrops pubescens. The only effective treatment available is the administration of the specific antivenom. Although there is an ELISA that allows the determination of venom in serum samples, the technique does not allow discrimination between the two species and can also generate uncertainty in the case of foreign snakes, highlighting the need for alternative analytical methods that ensure species identification. The aim of this work was to use of Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) for the identification and discrimination of B. pubescens and B. alternatus venoms and evaluate the suitability for diagnostic use. The two venoms were compared by SDS-PAGE and MALDI-TOF MS. The results showed similar protein profiles for both venoms with differences in the distribution of bands by SDS-PAGE densitometry. However, the use of the MALDI-TOF MS technique allowed discrimination between these two venoms, providing characteristic “fingerprints” that are proposed as a new tool suitable for clinical diagnosis.


© 2019 Norma Suarez and Victor Morais. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.