Exploration of immunoglobulin transcriptomes from mice immunized with three-finger toxins and phospholipases A2 from the Central American coral snake, Micrurus nigrocinctus

Andreas Hougaard Laustsen, Mikael Engmark, Christopher Clouser, Sonia Timberlake, Francois Vigneault, José María Gutiérrez, Bruno Lomonte

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Abstract

Snakebite envenomings represent a neglected public health issue in many parts of the rural tropical world. Animal-derived antivenoms have existed for more than a hundred years and are effective in neutralizing snake venom toxins when timely administered. However, the low immunogenicity of many small but potent snake venom toxins represents a challenge for obtaining a balanced immune response against the medically relevant components of the venom. Here, we employ high-throughput sequencing of the immunoglobulin (Ig) transcriptome of mice immunized with a three-finger toxin and a phospholipase A2 from the venom of the Central American coral snake, Micrurus nigrocinctus. Although exploratory in nature, our indicate results showed that only low frequencies of mRNA encoding IgG isotypes, the most relevant isotype for therapeutic purposes, were present in splenocytes of five mice immunized with 6 doses of the two types of toxins over 90 days. Furthermore, analysis of Ig heavy chain transcripts showed that no particular combination of variable (V) and joining (J) gene segments had been selected in the immunization process, as would be expected after a strong humoral immune response to a single antigen. Combined with the titration of toxin-specific antibodies in the sera of immunized mice, these data support the low immunogenicity of three-finger toxins and phospholipases A2 found in M. nigrocinctus venoms, and highlight the need for future studies analyzing the complexity of antibody responses to toxins at the molecular level.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2924
JournalPeerJ
Volume5
Number of pages18
ISSN2167-8359
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Murine immune response
  • Venom
  • Micrurus nigrocinctus
  • High-throughput sequencing
  • Antivenom
  • Antibody isotyping
  • Toxins
  • Coral snake
  • Antibodies
  • Transcriptomics

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