Snake venoms are important sources of active biomolecules whose scientific and therapeutic potential has not been fully explored. The primary biological function of the venom is to facilitate immobilization and digestion of prey. The observation of the existence of variability in the composition of snake venom proteomes at various taxonomic levels as well as the relationship between venom variability and animal diet remain in constant discussion. The Bothrops genus is widely distributed in the Brazilian territory, and the species B. jararaca is of great medical importance in the Southeastern region of the country. Genetic and phylogeographic analyses described the existence of a monophyletic group, named Jararaca group, which includes the island species B. alcatraz and B. insularis in addition to B. jararaca. Geological events during the Pleistocene (11,000 years ago) resulted in the geographic isolation of specimens of B. jararaca in different island environments in the Sao Paulo coast, leading to the emergence of B. alcatraz, on the Alcatrazes Island, and B. insularis, on the Queimada Grande Island. The restricted availability of food in these islands led to the existence of diets based on ectotherms, for juvenile specimens, and birds, for adult specimens of B. insularis, while B. alcatraz specimens are limited to ingestion of ectotherms, mainly centipedes and amphibians, throughout all life stages, so that even in adulthood, these individuals physically resemble the juvenile specimens of B. jararaca. Considering the absence of knowledge about the B. alcatraz venom, in this project we will use proteomics, peptidomics and glycomics approaches to explore the venom of B. alcatraz to analyze its composition in light of important analytical methodologies.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: