Transcriptome analysis of the spider Phonotimpus pennimani reveals novel toxin transcripts
Abstract Background: Phonotimpus pennimani (Araneae, Phrurolithidae) is a small-sized (3-5 mm) spider endemic to the Tacaná volcano in Chiapas, Mexico, where it is found in soil litter of cloud forests and coffee plantations. Its venom composition has so far not been investigated, partly because it is not a species of medical significance. However, it does have an important impact on the arthropod populations of its natural habitat. Methods: Specimens were collected in Southeastern Mexico (Chiapas) and identified taxonomically by morphological characteristics. A partial sequence from the mitochondrial gene coxI was amplified. Sequencing on the Illumina platform of a transcriptome library constructed from 12 adult specimens revealed 25 toxin or toxin-like genes. Transcripts were validated (RT-qPCR) by assessing the differential expression of the toxin-like PpenTox1 transcript and normalising with housekeeping genes. Results: Analysis of the coxI-gene revealed a similarity to other species of the family Phrurolithidae. Transcriptome analysis also revealed similarity with venom components of species from the families Ctenidae, Lycosidae, and Sicariidae. Expression of the toxin-like PpenTox1 gene was different for each developmental stage (juvenile or adult) and also for both sexes (female or male). Additionally, a partial sequence was obtained for the toxin-like PpenTox1 from DNA. Conclusion: Data from the amplification of the mitochondrial coxI gene confirmed that P. pennimani belongs to the family Phrurolithidae. New genes and transcripts coding for venom components were identified.