Intraspecific variation in the venoms of the South American rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus terrificus)

Ivo M.B. Francischetti, Maria E.C. Gombarovits, Jesus G. Valenzuela, Célia R. Carlini, Jorge A. Guimarães

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The venom of eight individual Crotalus durissus terrificus snakes from the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil, in addition to pooled venom from Butantan Institute, were compared. Snakes were captured in distinct locations, some of them 600 km apart: Conselheiro Lafaiete, Entre Rios de Minas, Itauna, Itapecerica, Lavras, Patos de Minas, Paracatu, and Santo Antonio do Amparo. The crude venoms were tested for proteolytic, phospholipase A2, platelet aggregating, and hemagglutinating activities. The venoms were also analyzed by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) and isoelectric focusing (IEF). Chromatographic patterns of venom proteins on both gel-filtration and anion- exchange chromatographies were also performed. All venoms presented high phospholipase A2 and platelet-aggregating activities, but only minimal hemagglutinating or proteolytic activities were found. Gel-filtration chromatography showed a characteristic profile for most venoms where four main peaks were separated, including the typical ones where convulxin and crotoxin were identified; however, peaks with high amounts of lower molecular weight proteins were found in the venoms from the Santo Antonio do Amparo location and Butantan Institute, characterizing these venoms as crotamine positive. Anion-exchange chromatographies presented a similar protein distribution pattern, although the number of peaks (up to ten) distinguished some venom samples. Consistent with these results, polyacrylamide gels that were silver stained after venom separation by PAGE or IEF presented a similar qualitative band distribution, although a quantitative heterogeneity was detected among venoms. Our results suggest that the variability found in venom components of C. d. terrificus venoms captured in Minas Gerais State may be genetically inherited and/or environmentally induced. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-36
Number of pages14
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - C Pharmacology Toxicology and Endocrinology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Convulxin
  • Crotalus durissus terrificus
  • Crotamine
  • Crotoxin
  • Intraspecific variation
  • Isoforms
  • Minas Gerais State
  • South American rattlesnake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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