The tale of a resting gland: Transcriptome of a replete venom gland from the scorpion Hottentotta judaicus

David Morgenstern, Bettina H. Rohde, Glenn F. King, Tzachy Tal, Daniel Sher, Eliahu Zlotkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


cDNA libraries are increasingly being used for high-throughput interrogation of animal venomes. Most previous studies have focused on discovery of new venom toxins, whereas the dynamics of toxin transcription and associated cellular processes have received much less attention. Here we provide, for the first time, an analysis of a transcriptome from the venom gland of a scorpion (Hottentotta judaicus) that is not actively engaged in regenerating its venom. We demonstrate a low abundance of toxin-encoding transcripts coupled with a previously unobserved proliferation of protease sequences. Additionally, we identified several low abundance, toxin-like sequences that may represent decommissioned toxins that are unlikely to be translated. These sequences are not evenly distributed across all toxin families, but rather appear more frequently in transcripts related to α-toxins and β-toxins that are known to target voltage-gated sodium channels. The transcriptomic profile of the replete venom gland is very different to that obtained previously from scorpion venom glands actively engaged in venom regeneration, and it highlights our lack of knowledge as to how the dynamics of transcription changes as the gland progresses from venom regeneration to a " resting" state. This study therefore provides an important foundation for future studies into the dynamics of transcription in the venom glands of scorpions and other venomous animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-703
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Mr. Johannes Regenbogen for assistance in production of the cDNA library. DM acknowledges the support of a University of Queensland Research Scholarship (UQRS) and an Endeavor International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS). The work presented here was funded by the German " BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research), support code 0312616. EZ was supported by the " Committee of German–Israeli Cooperation in Biotechnology . This work is dedicated to the memory of the late Prof. Eliahu Zlotkin.


  • Hottentotta judaicus
  • Proteases
  • Scorpion
  • Toxin death
  • Transcriptome
  • Venom
  • Venom gland
  • Venom regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


Dive into the research topics of 'The tale of a resting gland: Transcriptome of a replete venom gland from the scorpion Hottentotta judaicus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this