Adenosine in the venoms from viperinae snakes of the genus Bitis: identification and quantitation using LC/MS and CE/MS

RL Graham, Stephen McClean, EJ O'Kane, D Theakston, C Shaw

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Snake venoms are rich sources of toxic proteins and small molecules. This study was directed at molecules of molecular mass below 1 kDa. Thirty different venoms, of either neurotoxic or haemorrhagic type, were fractionated using size-exclusion chromatography. Only venoms of the Puff adder (Bitis arietans), Gaboon viper (Bitis gabonica), and Rhinoceros viper (Bitis nasicornis) exhibited large absorbance peaks at lambda(280 nm) in the total volume range of the chromatographic column indicating the presence of abundant low molecular mass material. Analysis of fractions containing this material using both HPLC and capillary electrophoresis interfaced with electrospray ion-trap mass spectrometry unequivocally established that the bioactive nucleoside, adenosine, was the major component. The concentrations of adenosine found (Puff adder--97.7 x 10(-6) mol L(-1); Gaboon viper--28.0 x 10(-6) mol L(-1); and Rhinoceros viper-56.8 x 10(-6) mol L(-1)) were above those required to activate all known sub-types of adenosine receptors. Adenosine may thus act at the site of envenomation causing local vasodilatation and may play a role in the subsequent systemic hypotension observed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-94
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Jul 2005

Bibliographical note

LR: 20061115; PUBM: Print; JID: 0372516; 0 (Viper Venoms); 58-61-7 (Adenosine); 2005/05/13 [received]; 2005/05/14 [accepted]; ppublish


  • Adenosine/analysis/chemistry
  • Animals
  • Chromatography
  • High Pressure Liquid/methods
  • Electrophoresis
  • Capillary/methods
  • Species Specificity
  • Spectrometry
  • Mass
  • Electrospray Ionization/methods
  • Viper Venoms/analysis/chemistry
  • Viperidae/classification/metabolism


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