Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Biological Control of Insects Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #390152

Research Project: Biologically-Based Products for Insect Pest Control and Emerging Needs in Agriculture

Location: Biological Control of Insects Research

Title: iVenomDB: a manually curated database for insect venom proteins

Author
item CHEN, LONGFEI - Zhejiang University
item ZHANG, BO - Zhejiang University
item SHI, JIAMIN - Zhejiang University
item YU, YANPING - Zhejiang University
item Stanley, David
item YE, GONGYIN - Zhejiang University
item FANG, QI - Zhejiang University

Submitted to: Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/11/2022
Publication Date: 5/28/2022
Citation: Chen, L., Zhang, B., Shi, J., Yu, Y., Stanley, D.W., Ye, G., Fang, Q. 2022. iVenomDB: a manually curated database for insect venom proteins. Briefings in Bioinformatics. Article 13054. https://doi.org/10.1111/1744-7917.13054.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1744-7917.13054

Interpretive Summary: Many animals, including snakes, spiders, scorpions, insects and predatory sea snails have special organs in which they produce and store venoms. The venoms serve in protection, capturing food and in host-parasite relationships. Virtually all venoms have a substantial number of proteins and other chemicals. These venom components are highly potent and selective and, for these two traits, many venom components have been developed into research tools or into lead compounds for pharmaceutical drug development. Technical improvements in analytical chemistry have led to discovery and characterization of many thousands of venom components. Some specialized databases have been developed as central sources of all known venoms of particular animal groups. For a single example, Arachnoserver was developed to provide information on all known spider venoms. The current problem is that there are many thousands of scientific publications reporting the identification and characterization of insect venom proteins. These many reports are published in a very wide range of journals. There is no unifying database dedicated to identifying and characterizing insect venom proteins and the genes encoding the proteins. Here, we developed and now report on a new database, iVenomDB. This is a searchable database that provides all known information on specific insect venom components, including identifications, protein sequences, chemical structures and other valuable functional information on each of the thousands of known venom proteins. Parasitoid wasps have more species than any other animal group. Many of these species are natural enemies of pest insects. Some of the products of this research will lead to substantial improvement in pest insect management programs at the global level.

Technical Abstract: Venomous animals, such as snakes, insects (wasps, bees, ants and some bugs), spiders, scorpions and cone snails use venom for predation and/or defense. Venom mainly contains proteins and peptides. Due to their high potency and selectivity, venom components have been developed as research tools, bio-insecticides and drug leads. The advent of high-throughput sequencing and mass spectrometry has enabled exploration of venom components in new depth and at unprecedented pace. To be useful to the scientific community, knowledge on these proteins must be curated, stored and annotated. Currently, several databases are dedicated to venoms from a large range of animals, such as Arachnoserver (focuses on spider toxins), Conoserver (specializes in cone snail toxins) and Tox-Prot program within UniprotKB. There are many thousands of reports on identifying and characterizing components of insect venoms. However, there is no database dedicated to insect venom proteins and peptides, and to their cognate genes. Here, we developed a manually curated database, called iVenomDB, to provide scientific community with the venom protein sequences, structures and other important functional information.