Shotgun Proteomics Analysis of Saliva and Salivary Gland Tissue from the Common Octopus Octopus vulgaris

Legana C. H. W. Fingerhut, Jan M. Strugnell, Pierre Faou, Álvaro Roura Labiaga, Jia Zhang, and Ira R. Cooke

Phylogenetic tree of molluscan serine proteases. Shaded clade is exclusive to Cephalopods and expressed in the venom gland

A wide variety of octopus and cuttlefish species use venom to disable and kill their prey.   Although this has been known for over a hundred years the molecules responsible for this toxicity remain relatively unknown.  In this paper we found that a particular family of proteins (serine proteases) are extremely diverse and abundant in the venom glands of octopus.  Although serine proteases are common in all animals (and not always toxins) we found that they are extraordinarily diverse in octopus and cuttlefish, and that this diversity is almost entirely due to molecules that are found in the venom glands.

Most of the work for this paper was done by Legana as part of her honours year. Well done Legana on your first paper.

Featured image is of Felicinda the octopus who was the mother of octopuses featured in this study. Photograph by Álvaro Roura

 Published in the Journal of Proteome Research