Bacterial Adaptation to Venom in Snakes and Arachnida

Elham Esmaeilishirazifard, Louise Usher, Carol Trim, Hubert Denise, Vartul Sangal, Gregory H. Tyson, Axel Barlow, Keith F. Redway, John D. Taylor, Myrto Kremyda-Vlachou, Sam Davies, Teresa D. Loftus, Mikaella M. G. Lock, Kstir Wright, Andrew Dalby, Lori A. S. Snyder, Wolfgang Wuster, Steve Trim, Sterghios A. Moschos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Animal venoms are considered sterile sources of antimicrobial compoundswith strong membrane-disrupting activity against multidrug-resistant bacteria. However,venomous bite wound infections are common in developing nations. Investigating theenvenomation organ and venom microbiota offive snake and two spider species, weobserved venom community structures that depend on the host venomous animal spe-cies and evidenced recovery of viable microorganisms from black-necked spitting cobra(Naja nigricollis) and Indian ornamental tarantula (Poecilotheria regalis) venoms. Amongthe bacterial isolates recovered fromN. nigricollis,weidentified two venom-resistant,novel sequence types ofEnterococcus faecaliswhose genomes feature 16 virulencegenes, indicating infectious potential, and 45 additional genes, nearly half of whichimprove bacterial membrane integrity. Ourfindings challenge the dogma of venom ste-rility and indicate an increased primary infection risk in the clinical management of ven-omous animal bite wounds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalMicrobiology spectrum
Issue number3
Early online date23 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2022


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