Bothrops jararacavenom gland secretory cells in culture: Effects of noradrenaline on toxin production and secretion

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Primary culture of snake venom gland secretory cells could be a good model to study the mechanism(s) of toxin(s) production. These cells can produce and secrete venom to the medium with a hemorrhagic activity comparable to that induced by venom collected from snakes. Production of new venom is triggered by the sympathetic outflow, through the release of noradrenaline, but the importance of this neurotransmitter on toxin synthesis has not been addressed. This work led to the identification and comparison of the toxin panel produced by cultured secretory cells, during a 12-day time-course analysis, as well as to the effects of noradrenaline on the process. The results showed that in our culture model the synthesis of new toxins is asynchronous, mimicking data previously published from proteomic analyses of venom glands harvested from animal experimentation. Furthermore, noradrenaline did regulate the synthesis and/or secretion of venom toxins over the analyzed period. Finally, we demonstrated that snake venom metalloproteinases present in these cultured cells secretome were mostly in their zymogen forms; consequently, processing occurs after secretion to the gland lumen. Overall, the data support the use of venom gland secretory cells as a reliable model to investigate the mechanism(s) of toxin(s) synthesis and secretion.

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