Simon C. Wagstaff

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Venom variation occurs at all taxonomical levels and can impact significantly upon the clinical manifestations and efficacy of antivenom therapy following snakebite. Variation in snake venom composition is thought to be subject to strong natural selection as a result of adaptation towards specific diets. Members of the medically important genus Echis(More)
The regulation of tissue turnover requires the coordinated activity of both local and systemic factors. Nucleotides exist transiently in the extracellular environment, where they serve as ligands to P2 receptors. Here we report that the localized release of these nucleotides can sensitize osteoblasts to the activity of systemic factors. We have investigated(More)
Variation in venom composition is a ubiquitous phenomenon in snakes and occurs both interspecifically and intraspecifically. Venom variation can have severe outcomes for snakebite victims by rendering the specific antibodies found in antivenoms ineffective against heterologous toxins found in different venoms. The rapid evolutionary expansion of different(More)
BACKGROUND Most epidemiological and clinical reports on snake envenoming focus on a single country and describe rural communities as being at greatest risk. Reports linking snakebite vulnerability to socioeconomic status are usually limited to anecdotal statements. The few reports with a global perspective have identified the tropical regions of Asia and(More)
Viper venoms contain one of the most potent mixtures of proteases in natural existence and yet the venom gland and proteins in this mixture are refractory to degradation. Here we demonstrate that the sub-10-kDa components of venom from two African viper species (Echis ocellatus and Cerastes cerastes cerastes) are predominantly composed of the tri-peptide(More)
Venom is a critical evolutionary innovation enabling venomous snakes to become successful limbless predators; it is therefore vital that venomous snakes possess a highly efficient venom production and delivery system to maintain their predatory arsenal. Here, we exploit the unusual stability of messenger RNA in venom to conduct, for the first time,(More)
Snake envenoming is a significant cause of mortality and morbidity in sub-Saharan Africa. The only effective treatment, antivenom, has been in short supply since the 1990s. Whilst the humanitarian response by some antivenom producers has significantly improved the situation, strategies to ensure the long term stability of antivenom supply are still(More)
Bitis arietans is considered one of the most medically significant snakes in Africa, primarily due to a combination of its extensive geographical distribution, common occurrence and highly potent haemorrhagic and cytotoxic venom. Our investigation has revealed a remarkable degree of intra-species variation between pooled venom samples from different(More)
Gene duplication is a key mechanism for the adaptive evolution and neofunctionalization of gene families. Large multigene families often exhibit complex evolutionary histories as a result of frequent gene duplication acting in concordance with positive selection pressures. Alterations in the domain structure of genes, causing changes in the molecular(More)
BACKGROUND Snake venom is a potentially lethal and complex mixture of hundreds of functionally diverse proteins that are difficult to purify and hence difficult to characterize. These difficulties have inhibited the development of toxin-targeted therapy, and conventional antivenom is still generated from the sera of horses or sheep immunized with whole(More)