Main content area

Microbial production of toxins from the scorpion venom: properties and applications

Amorim, Fernanda Gobbi, Cordeiro, Francielle Almeida, Pinheiro-Júnior, Ernesto Lopes, Boldrini-França, Johara, Arantes, Eliane Candiani
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 2018 v.102 no.15 pp. 6319-6331
Escherichia coli, bacteria, cell growth, drugs, heterologous gene expression, neurotoxins, peptides, pharmaceutical industry, protein synthesis, recombinant proteins, scorpion venoms, therapeutics, yeasts
Scorpion venom are composed mainly of bioactive proteins and peptides that may serve as lead compounds for the design of biotechnological tools and therapeutic drugs. However, exploring the therapeutic potential of scorpion venom components is mainly impaired by the low yield of purified toxins from milked venom. Therefore, production of toxin-derived peptides and proteins by heterologous expression is the strategy of choice for research groups and pharmaceutical industry to overcome this limitation. Recombinant expression in microorganisms is often the first choice, since bacteria and yeast systems combine high level of recombinant protein expression, fast cell growth and multiplication and simple media requirement. Herein, we present a comprehensive revision, which describes the scorpion venom components that were produced in their recombinant forms using microbial systems. In addition, we highlight the pros and cons of performing the heterologous expression of these compounds, regarding the particularities of each microorganism and how these processes can affect the application of these venom components. The most used microbial system in the heterologous expression of scorpion venom components is Escherichia coli (85%), and among all the recombinant venom components produced, 69% were neurotoxins. This review may light up future researchers in the choice of the best expression system to produce scorpion venom components of interest.