viper venoms


Summary: Venoms from SNAKES of the viperid family. They tend to be less toxic than elapid or hydrophid venoms and act mainly on the vascular system, interfering with coagulation and capillary membrane integrity and are highly cytotoxic. They contain large amounts of several enzymes, other factors, and some toxins.

Top Publications

  1. Visser L, Kyei Faried S, Belcher D, Geelhoed D, van Leeuwen J, van Roosmalen J. Failure of a new antivenom to treat Echis ocellatus snake bite in rural Ghana: the importance of quality surveillance. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2008;102:445-50 pubmed publisher
    ..ocellatus snake venom. This illustrates the absolute need for regional pilot tests to assess the effectiveness of a new antivenom against local snake venoms before its sole and general distribution in a region is initiated...
  2. Warrell D. Unscrupulous marketing of snake bite antivenoms in Africa and Papua New Guinea: choosing the right product--'what's in a name?'. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2008;102:397-9 pubmed publisher
    ..A major source of confusion is labelling antivenom with ambiguous snake names that fail to distinguish the Asian species whose venoms are used in their production from the local snakes whose venoms are antigenically dissimilar...
  3. Sunitha K, Hemshekhar M, Gaonkar S, Sebastin Santhosh M, Suresh Kumar M, Basappa -, et al. Neutralization of haemorrhagic activity of viper venoms by 1-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-1-(4-fluorophenyl)-3-oxo-1,3-dihydroisobenzofuran-5-carbonitrile. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2011;109:292-9 pubmed publisher
    ..DFD effectively neutralized the haemorrhagic activity of the medically important viper venoms such as Echis carinatus, Echis ocelatus, Echis carinatus sochureki, Echis carinatus leakeyi and Crotalus atrox ..
  4. Murakami T, Kamikado N, Fujimoto R, Hamaguchi K, Nakamura H, Chijiwa T, et al. A [Lys??]phospholipase A? from Protobothrops flavoviridis venom induces caspase-independent apoptotic cell death accompanied by rapid plasma-membrane rupture in human leukemia cells. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2011;75:864-70 pubmed
    ..In the cells treated with BPII, this spread over the cell membranes, implying that the cell toxicity of BPII is mediated via its cell-surface receptor...
  5. Vulfius C, Gorbacheva E, Starkov V, Osipov A, Kasheverov I, Andreeva T, et al. An unusual phospholipase A? from puff adder Bitis arietans venom--a novel blocker of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Toxicon. 2011;57:787-93 pubmed publisher
    ..Indeed, the protein possessed high PLA? activity, which was 1.95 mmol/min/?mol. Bitanarin is the first described PLA? that contains 14 disulphide bonds and the first nAChR blocker possessing PLA? activity. ..
  6. Perumal Samy R, Gopalakrishnakone P, Bow H, Puspharaj P, Chow V. Identification and characterization of a phospholipase A2 from the venom of the Saw-scaled viper: Novel bactericidal and membrane damaging activities. Biochimie. 2010;92:1854-66 pubmed publisher
    ..In conclusion, EcTx-I displays a heparin binding C-terminal region, which is probably responsible for the cytotoxic and bactericidal effects...
  7. Vaiyapuri S, Harrison R, Bicknell A, Gibbins J, Hutchinson G. Purification and functional characterisation of rhinocerase, a novel serine protease from the venom of Bitis gabonica rhinoceros. PLoS ONE. 2010;5:e9687 pubmed publisher
    Serine proteases are a major component of viper venoms and are thought to disrupt several distinct elements of the blood coagulation system of envenomed victims...
  8. Abubakar S, Abubakar I, Habib A, Nasidi A, Durfa N, Yusuf P, et al. Pre-clinical and preliminary dose-finding and safety studies to identify candidate antivenoms for treatment of envenoming by saw-scaled or carpet vipers (Echis ocellatus) in northern Nigeria. Toxicon. 2010;55:719-23 pubmed publisher
    ..EgyVac antivenom did not fulfil efficacy or safety criteria in 12 patients. On the basis of these results, ET-G and ET-Plus were selected for comparison in a RCT. ..
  9. Wagstaff S, Laing G, Theakston R, Papaspyridis C, Harrison R. Bioinformatics and multiepitope DNA immunization to design rational snake antivenom. PLoS Med. 2006;3:e184 pubmed
    ..Here we exploit recent molecular sequence analysis and DNA immunization tools to design more rational toxin-targeted antivenom...

More Information


  1. BROWN M, Staniszewska I, Del Valle L, Tuszynski G, Marcinkiewicz C. Angiostatic activity of obtustatin as alpha1beta1 integrin inhibitor in experimental melanoma growth. Int J Cancer. 2008;123:2195-203 pubmed publisher
    ..Summarizing, we present studies of low molecular weight disintegrin, obtustatin as a potential therapeutic compound for treatment of melanoma that contain a high level of vascularization...
  2. BROWN M, Eble J, Calvete J, Marcinkiewicz C. Structural requirements of KTS-disintegrins for inhibition of alpha(1)beta(1) integrin. Biochem J. 2009;417:95-101 pubmed publisher
    ..In addition, the replacements L38V and P40Q may account for a further 25-fold increase in alpha(1)beta(1) inhibitory potency of viperistatin over KTSR-obtustatin. ..
  3. O callaghan C. Thrombomodulation via CLEC-2 targeting. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2009;9:90-5 pubmed publisher
    ..CLEC-2 is a promising target for therapeutic strategies to inhibit platelet activity in thrombotic vascular disease. ..
  4. Zouari Kessentini R, Luis J, Karray A, Kallech Ziri O, Srairi Abid N, Bazaa A, et al. Two purified and characterized phospholipases A2 from Cerastes cerastes venom, that inhibit cancerous cell adhesion and migration. Toxicon. 2009;53:444-53 pubmed publisher
    ..Furthermore, both CC-PLA2-1 and CC-PLA2-2 abolished HT1080 cell migration towards fibrinogen and fibronectin. This activity is reported for the first time for PLA2 enzymes...
  5. Watson A, Eble J, O callaghan C. Crystal structure of rhodocytin, a ligand for the platelet-activating receptor CLEC-2. Protein Sci. 2008;17:1611-6 pubmed publisher
  6. Hooley E, Papagrigoriou E, Navdaev A, Pandey A, Clemetson J, Clemetson K, et al. The crystal structure of the platelet activator aggretin reveals a novel (alphabeta)2 dimeric structure. Biochemistry. 2008;47:7831-7 pubmed publisher
  7. Barlow A, Pook C, Harrison R, Wüster W. Coevolution of diet and prey-specific venom activity supports the role of selection in snake venom evolution. Proc Biol Sci. 2009;276:2443-9 pubmed publisher
  8. Paalme V, Trummal K, Samel M, Tõnismägi K, Järvekülg L, Vija H, et al. Nerve growth factor from Vipera lebetina venom. Toxicon. 2009;54:329-36 pubmed publisher
    ..The isolated NGF caused neurite outgrowth from PC12 cells in concentrations beginning from 2.5 ng/ml. ..
  9. Vija H, Samel M, Siigur E, Aaspõllu A, Trummal K, Tõnismägi K, et al. Purification, characterization, and cDNA cloning of acidic platelet aggregation inhibiting phospholipases A(2) from the snake venom of Vipera lebetina (Levantine viper). Toxicon. 2009;54:429-39 pubmed publisher
    ..The phylogenetic analysis on the basis of the amino acid sequence homology demonstrates that VLPLA(2)s grouped with other Asp49 PLA(2)s and they appear to share a close evolutionary relationship with the European vipers...
  10. Ramazanova A, Starkov V, Osipov A, Ziganshin R, Filkin S, Tsetlin V, et al. Cysteine-rich venom proteins from the snakes of Viperinae subfamily - molecular cloning and phylogenetic relationship. Toxicon. 2009;53:162-8 pubmed publisher
    ..berus venom was revealed using a combination of gel-filtration chromatography, electrophoresis and MALDI mass spectrometry. The finding of the putative channel blocker in viper venom may indicate its action on prey nervous system. ..
  11. Casewell N, Harrison R, Wüster W, Wagstaff S. Comparative venom gland transcriptome surveys of the saw-scaled vipers (Viperidae: Echis) reveal substantial intra-family gene diversity and novel venom transcripts. BMC Genomics. 2009;10:564 pubmed publisher
    ..We adopt a venom gland transcriptome approach in order to investigate the diversity of toxins in the genus and elucidate the mechanisms which result in prey-specific adaptations of venom composition...
  12. Momić T, Arlinghaus F, Arien Zakay H, Katzhendler J, Eble J, Marcinkiewicz C, et al. Pharmacological aspects of Vipera xantina palestinae venom. Toxins (Basel). 2011;3:1420-32 pubmed publisher
    ..These snake venom proteins represent promising tools for research and development of novel collagen receptor selective drugs. These discoveries are also relevant for future improvement of antivenom therapy towards V.x.p. envenomation. ..
  13. Jonebring A, Lange U, Bucha E, Deinum J, Elg M, Lövgren A. Expression and characterization of recombinant ecarin. Protein J. 2012;31:353-8 pubmed publisher
    ..9 ?M. In conclusion, r-ecarin was identified as a promising candidate for replacement of native ecarin in assays utilizing conversion of prothrombin to thrombin...
  14. Wagstaff S, Favreau P, Cheneval O, Laing G, Wilkinson M, Miller R, et al. Molecular characterisation of endogenous snake venom metalloproteinase inhibitors. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008;365:650-6 pubmed
    b>Viper venoms contain one of the most potent mixtures of proteases in natural existence and yet the venom gland and proteins in this mixture are refractory to degradation...
  15. Juárez P, Wagstaff S, Sanz L, Harrison R, Calvete J. Molecular cloning of Echis ocellatus disintegrins reveals non-venom-secreted proteins and a pathway for the evolution of ocellatusin. J Mol Evol. 2006;63:183-93 pubmed
  16. Metz M, Piliponsky A, Chen C, Lammel V, Abrink M, Pejler G, et al. Mast cells can enhance resistance to snake and honeybee venoms. Science. 2006;313:526-30 pubmed
    ..These findings identify a new biological function for mast cells in enhancing resistance to the morbidity and mortality induced by animal venoms. ..
  17. Calvete J, Escolano J, Sanz L. Snake venomics of Bitis species reveals large intragenus venom toxin composition variation: application to taxonomy of congeneric taxa. J Proteome Res. 2007;6:2732-45 pubmed
    ..g. rhinoceros as a separate species, Bitis rhinoceros. Moreover, our proteomic data fit better to a weighted phylogram based on overall genetic distances than to an unweighted maximum-parsimony tree...
  18. Suzuki Inoue K, Kato Y, Inoue O, Kaneko M, Mishima K, Yatomi Y, et al. Involvement of the snake toxin receptor CLEC-2, in podoplanin-mediated platelet activation, by cancer cells. J Biol Chem. 2007;282:25993-6001 pubmed
    ..These findings suggest that CLEC-2 is a physiological target protein of podoplanin and imply that it is involved in podoplanin-induced platelet aggregation, tumor metastasis, and other cellular responses related to podoplanin. ..
  19. Jan V, Guillemin I, Robbe Vincent A, Choumet V. Phospholipase A2 diversity and polymorphism in European viper venoms: paradoxical molecular evolution in Viperinae. Toxicon. 2007;50:1140-61 pubmed
    ..Most of the European viper venoms studied contained either a myotoxin or a neurotoxin, and all contained ammodytin I1 and ammodytin I2...
  20. Sales P, Santoro M. Nucleotidase and DNase activities in Brazilian snake venoms. Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 2008;147:85-95 pubmed
    ..The omnipresence of nucleotidase and DNase activities in viperid venoms implies a role for them within the repertoire of enzymes involved in immobilization and death of preys...
  21. Tsai I, Wang Y, Cheng A, Starkov V, Osipov A, Nikitin I, et al. cDNA cloning, structural, and functional analyses of venom phospholipases A? and a Kunitz-type protease inhibitor from steppe viper Vipera ursinii renardi. Toxicon. 2011;57:332-41 pubmed publisher
    ..Vur-PL2B was weakly cytotoxic to rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cells and showed both strong anticoagulant and anti-platelet activities. This is the first case of a strong anticoagulating ammodytin I analog in Vipera venom...
  22. Chang C, Chung C, Hsu C, Huang T, Huang T. A novel mechanism of cytokine release in phagocytes induced by aggretin, a snake venom C-type lectin protein, through CLEC-2 ligation. J Thromb Haemost. 2010;8:2563-70 pubmed publisher
    ..These results indicate that aggretin may induce cytokine TNF-?/IL-6 release via interacting with CLEC-2 receptor and the subsequent MAPK and NF-?B activation in monocytes/macrophages. ..
  23. Vaiyapuri S, Wagstaff S, Watson K, Harrison R, Gibbins J, Hutchinson E. Purification and functional characterisation of rhiminopeptidase A, a novel aminopeptidase from the venom of Bitis gabonica rhinoceros. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2010;4:e796 pubmed publisher
  24. Sunitha K, Hemshekhar M, Santhosh M, Kumar M, Kemparaju K, Girish K. Inhibition of hemorrhagic activity of viper venoms by N-acetyl cysteine: involvement of N-acetyl and thiol groups. Curr Top Med Chem. 2011;11:2589-600 pubmed
    ..Future studies related to the protective role of NAC against the venom induced systemic hemorrhage and secondary complications are highly exciting. ..
  25. Abubakar I, Abubakar S, Habib A, Nasidi A, Durfa N, Yusuf P, et al. Randomised controlled double-blind non-inferiority trial of two antivenoms for saw-scaled or carpet viper (Echis ocellatus) envenoming in Nigeria. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2010;4:e767 pubmed publisher
    ..In West Africa, envenoming by saw-scaled or carpet vipers (Echis ocellatus) causes great morbidity and mortality, but there is a crisis in supply of effective and affordable antivenom (ISRCTN01257358)...
  26. Park M, Son D, Kwak D, Song H, Oh K, Yoo H, et al. Snake venom toxin inhibits cell growth through induction of apoptosis in neuroblastoma cells. Arch Pharm Res. 2009;32:1545-54 pubmed publisher
  27. Ramazanova A, Zavada L, Starkov V, Kovyazina I, Subbotina T, Kostyukhina E, et al. Heterodimeric neurotoxic phospholipases A2--the first proteins from venom of recently established species Vipera nikolskii: implication of venom composition in viper systematics. Toxicon. 2008;51:524-37 pubmed
    ..nikolskii and V. ammodytes) corroborates the hypothesis about the pre-existence of genes encoding these proteins in all true viper species and their expression under certain conditions. ..
  28. Suzuki Inoue K. Essential in vivo roles of the platelet activation receptor CLEC-2 in tumour metastasis, lymphangiogenesis and thrombus formation. J Biochem. 2011;150:127-32 pubmed publisher
    ..The absence of CLEC-2 does not significantly increase bleeding tendency, implying that CLEC-2 may be a good target protein for anti-platelet drugs in addition to anti-metastatic drugs. ..
  29. Watson A, Christou C, James J, Fenton May A, Moncayo G, Mistry A, et al. The platelet receptor CLEC-2 is active as a dimer. Biochemistry. 2009;48:10988-96 pubmed publisher
  30. Wagstaff S, Harrison R. Venom gland EST analysis of the saw-scaled viper, Echis ocellatus, reveals novel alpha9beta1 integrin-binding motifs in venom metalloproteinases and a new group of putative toxins, renin-like aspartic proteases. Gene. 2006;377:21-32 pubmed
    ..Most significantly, we identified for the first time a conserved alpha(9)beta(1) integrin-binding motif in several SVMPs, and a new group of putative venom toxins, renin-like aspartic proteases...
  31. Segura A, Villalta M, Herrera M, León G, Harrison R, Durfa N, et al. Preclinical assessment of the efficacy of a new antivenom (EchiTAb-Plus-ICP) for the treatment of viper envenoming in sub-Saharan Africa. Toxicon. 2010;55:369-74 pubmed publisher
    ..It therefore constitutes a promising therapeutic option for the treatment of snakebite envenoming in this region...
  32. Staniszewska I, Walsh E, Rothman V, Gaathon A, Tuszynski G, Calvete J, et al. Effect of VP12 and viperistatin on inhibition of collagen-receptor-dependent melanoma metastasis. Cancer Biol Ther. 2009;8:1507-16 pubmed
    ..These data suggest that collagen receptors may be an interesting target for development of new anti-metastatic therapies...
  33. Harrison R, Ibison F, Wilbraham D, Wagstaff S. Identification of cDNAs encoding viper venom hyaluronidases: cross-generic sequence conservation of full-length and unusually short variant transcripts. Gene. 2007;392:22-33 pubmed
  34. Doley R, Pahari S, Mackessy S, Kini R. Accelerated exchange of exon segments in Viperid three-finger toxin genes (Sistrurus catenatus edwardsii; Desert Massasauga). BMC Evol Biol. 2008;8:196 pubmed publisher
    ..Venom proteins are encoded by multigene families that have evolved through a process of gene duplication followed by accelerated evolution in the protein coding region...
  35. Lomonte B, Angulo Y, Sasa M, Gutierrez J. The phospholipase A2 homologues of snake venoms: biological activities and their possible adaptive roles. Protein Pept Lett. 2009;16:860-76 pubmed
    ..Finally, experiments designed to assess the validity of such hypothetical roles are suggested, to stimulate future studies in this field...
  36. Gnanathasan A, Rodrigo C, Peranantharajah T, Coonghe A. Saw-scaled viper bites in Sri Lanka: is it a different subspecies? Clinical evidence from an authenticated case series. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2012;86:254-7 pubmed publisher
  37. Kularatne S, Sivansuthan S, Medagedara S, Maduwage K, de Silva A. Revisiting saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus) bites in the Jaffna Peninsula of Sri Lanka: distribution, epidemiology and clinical manifestations. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2011;105:591-7 pubmed publisher
    ..The median time for correction of coagulopathy was 802min (range 180-1669min) with Indian polyvalent antivenom. All recovered. The saw scaled viper is responsible for most venomous bites in the Jaffna peninsula...
  38. Vaiyapuri S, Wagstaff S, Harrison R, Gibbins J, Hutchinson E. Evolutionary analysis of novel serine proteases in the venom gland transcriptome of Bitis gabonica rhinoceros. PLoS ONE. 2011;6:e21532 pubmed publisher
    ..Our findings have potential for helping the future development of improved therapeutics for snake bites. ..
  39. Fox J, Serrano S. Insights into and speculations about snake venom metalloproteinase (SVMP) synthesis, folding and disulfide bond formation and their contribution to venom complexity. FEBS J. 2008;275:3016-30 pubmed publisher
  40. Petan T, Krizaj I, Pungercar J. Restoration of enzymatic activity in a Ser-49 phospholipase A2 homologue decreases its Ca(2+)-independent membrane-damaging activity and increases its toxicity. Biochemistry. 2007;46:12795-809 pubmed
  41. Severin S, Pollitt A, Navarro Nuñez L, Nash C, Mourão Sá D, Eble J, et al. Syk-dependent phosphorylation of CLEC-2: a novel mechanism of hem-immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif signaling. J Biol Chem. 2011;286:4107-16 pubmed publisher
  42. Ramos Cerrillo B, de Roodt A, Chippaux J, Olguín L, Casasola A, Guzmán G, et al. Characterization of a new polyvalent antivenom (Antivipmyn Africa) against African vipers and elapids. Toxicon. 2008;52:881-8 pubmed publisher
    ..The criteria for its design are discussed, particularly in terms of the implementation of realistic public health policies targeting mostly rural populations in the continent. ..
  43. Bazaa A, Luis J, Srairi Abid N, Kallech Ziri O, Kessentini Zouari R, Defilles C, et al. MVL-PLA2, a phospholipase A2 from Macrovipera lebetina transmediterranea venom, inhibits tumor cells adhesion and migration. Matrix Biol. 2009;28:188-93 pubmed publisher
    ..This finding may serve as starting point for structure-function relationship studies leading to design a new generation of specific anti-cancer drugs...
  44. Watson A, Brown J, Harlos K, Eble J, Walter T, O Callaghan C. The crystal structure and mutational binding analysis of the extracellular domain of the platelet-activating receptor CLEC-2. J Biol Chem. 2007;282:3165-72 pubmed
  45. Bentur Y, Raikhlin Eisenkraft B, Galperin M. Evaluation of antivenom therapy in Vipera palaestinae bites. Toxicon. 2004;44:53-7 pubmed
    ..g. involvement of an entire limb). Randomized prospective controlled studies are needed to elucidate these issues. ..
  46. Segev G, Shipov A, Klement E, Harrus S, Kass P, Aroch I. Vipera palaestinae envenomation in 327 dogs: a retrospective cohort study and analysis of risk factors for mortality. Toxicon. 2004;43:691-9 pubmed
    ..Specific antivenom therapy (10 ml/dog) was not associated with a higher survival rate, thus its use, dose and timing of administration should be further investigated. ..
  47. Gould R, Polokoff M, Friedman P, Huang T, Holt J, Cook J, et al. Disintegrins: a family of integrin inhibitory proteins from viper venoms. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1990;195:168-71 pubmed
    ..However, certain nonconserved amino acids appear to modify the activity of disintegrins, their specificity for various receptors, and their ability to compete specifically with various ligands. ..
  48. Ariaratnam C, Sjostrom L, Raziek Z, Kularatne S, Arachchi R, Sheriff M, et al. An open, randomized comparative trial of two antivenoms for the treatment of envenoming by Sri Lankan Russell's viper (Daboia russelii russelii). Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2001;95:74-80 pubmed
    ..The safety of this larger dose is the subject of further studies. ..
  49. Kisiel D, Calvete J, Katzhendler J, Fertala A, Lazarovici P, Marcinkiewicz C. Structural determinants of the selectivity of KTS-disintegrins for the alpha1beta1 integrin. FEBS Lett. 2004;577:478-82 pubmed
  50. Prasad N, Uma B, Bhatt S, Gowda V. Comparative characterisation of Russell's viper (Daboia/Vipera russelli) venoms from different regions of the Indian peninsula. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1999;1428:121-36 pubmed
    ..However, the polyclonal antibodies prepared against southern regional venom showed no protection against lethal toxicity of other regional venoms. ..
  51. Janes R, Peapus D, Wallace B. The crystal structure of human endothelin. Nat Struct Biol. 1994;1:311-9 pubmed
    ..This may be a functionally significant difference as this region is crucial for receptor binding and vasoactivity. ..
  52. Harrison R. Development of venom toxin-specific antibodies by DNA immunisation: rationale and strategies to improve therapy of viper envenoming. Vaccine. 2004;22:1648-55 pubmed
  53. Roberto P, Kashima S, Soares A, Chioato L, Faça V, Fuly A, et al. Cloning and expression of an acidic platelet aggregation inhibitor phospholipase A2 cDNA from Bothrops jararacussu venom gland. Protein Expr Purif. 2004;37:102-8 pubmed
    ..The structure and function of the recombinant protein was compared to that of the native protein by circular dichroism (CD), enzymatic activity, edema-inducing, and platelet aggregation inhibition activities. ..