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Laustsen AH, Engmark M, Clouser C, Timberlake S, Vigneault F, Gutiérrez JM, Lomonte B.2016. Exploration of immunoglobulin transcriptomes from mice immunized with three-finger toxins and phospholipases A2 from the Central American coral snake, Micrurus nigrocinctus. PeerJ Preprints4:e2364v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.2364v1
Snakebite envenomings represent a neglected public health issue in many parts of the rural tropical world. Animal-derived antivenoms have existed for more than a hundred years and are effective in neutralizing snake venom toxins when timely administered. However, the low immunogenicity of many small but potent snake venom toxins represents a challenge for obtaining a balanced immune response against the medically relevant components of the venom. Here, we employ next generation sequencing of the immunoglobulin (Ig) transcriptome of mice immunized with a three-finger toxin and a phospholipase A2 from the venom of the Central American coral snake, Micrurus nigrocinctus. Results showed that only low frequencies of mRNA encoding IgG isotypes, the most relevant isotype for therapeutic purposes, were present in splenocytes of mice immunized with 6 doses of the toxins over 90 days. Furthermore, analysis of Ig heavy chain transcripts showed that no particular combination of variable (V) and joining (J) gene segments had been selected in the immunization process, as would be expected after a strong humoral immune response to a single antigen. Combined with the titration of toxin-specific antibodies in the sera of immunized mice, these data support the low immunogenicity of three-finger toxins and phospholipases A2found in elapid snake venoms, and highlight the need for future studies analyzing the complexity of antibody responses to toxins at the molecular level.