Mass landscapes of seven scorpion species: The first analyses of Australian species with 1,5-DAN matrix

Research Report

J Venom Res (2012), Vol 3, 07-14

Published online: 23 October 2012

Full Text: (PDF ~503kb | Supplementary Data ~487kb) | (PubMed Central Record HTML)

Jennifer J Smith, Alun Jones and Paul F Alewood*

Institute for Molecular Biosciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia

*Correspondence to: Paul Alewood, Email:, Tel: + 61 7 33462982, Fax: + 61 7 33462101

Received: 28 May 2012, Revised: 24 July 2012, Accepted: 08 August 2012

© Copyright The Authors


Scorpion venoms have been studied for over fifty years, however the majority of research has focussed primarily on medically important Buthidae species. Additionally, venoms of the estimated 200 species of scorpion native to Australia have received very little attention. The first venom mass profiles of six non-buthid and one buthid scorpion species are presented herein, four of which are endemic to Australia. While masses under 5 kDa dominated the venoms of all species, the buthid venom contained considerably more masses between 7 and 8 kDa than those of the non-buthids, corroborating the emergent trend that buthids are richer in long-chain neurotoxins than non-buthids. The Australian scorpion venom fractions were also analysed with the relatively new MALDI-ToF matrix 1,5-DAN. Over forty partial sequences were obtained, the majority of which are homologous to scorpion antimicrobials such as opistoporin and IsCT2. Overall, this study is the single most comprehensive mass spectrometric analysis of scorpion venom landscapes to date and provides an insight into untapped Australian species.

KEYWORDS: Scorpion venom, mass landscapes, mass spectrometry