Jan 25, 2014

Elucidation of the unexplored biodiversity of ant venom peptidomes via MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry and its application for chemotaxonomy

Journal of Proteomics
Axel TouchardPierre Escoubas


The rise of integrative taxonomy, a multi-criteria approach used in characterizing species, fosters the development of new tools facilitating species delimitation. Mass spectrometric (MS) analysis of venom peptides from venomous animals has previously been demonstrated to be a valid method for identifying species. Here we aimed to develop a rapid chemotaxonomic tool for identifying ants based on venom peptide mass fingerprinting. The study focused on the biodiversity of ponerine ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Ponerinae) in French Guiana. Initial experiments optimized the use of automated matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) to determine variations in the mass profiles of ant venoms using several MALDI matrices and additives. Data were then analyzed via a hierarchical cluster analysis to classify the venoms of 17 ant species. In addition, phylogenetic relationships were assessed and were highly correlated with methods using DNA sequencing of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1. By combining a molecular genetics approach with this chemotaxonomic approach, we were able to improve the accuracy of the taxonomic findings to reveal cryptic ant species within spec...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Stegastes apicalis
Psammochloa villosa
Surface Enhanced Laser Desorption Ionization Mass Spectrometry
Pachnoda marginata
Cytochrome C Oxidase
Peptide Mapping
Phaeonychium villosum
CFC1 gene
Pseudomonas marginata

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