A biochemical characterization of the major peptides from the Venom of the giant Neotropical hunting ant Dinoponera australis

Stephen R. Johnson, Julio A. Copello, M. Steven Evans, Andrew V. Suarez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Venom from the " false tocandira" Dinoponera australis, a giant Neotropical hunting ant, paralyzes small invertebrate prey and induces a myriad of systemic effects in large vertebrates. HPLC/DAD/MS analyses revealed that the venom has over 75 unique proteinaceous components with a large diversity of properties ranging in size, hydrophobicity, and overall abundance. The six most abundant peptides, demonstrative of this diversity and hereafter referred to as Dinoponeratoxins, were de novo sequenced by exact mass precursor ion selection and Edman degradation. The smallest peptide characterized, Da-1039, is hydrophilic and has similarities to vasoactive peptides like kinin and bombesin. The two largest and most abundant peptides, Da-3105 and Da-3177, have a 92.9% identity in a 28 residue overlap and share ~50 of their sequence with ponericin G2 (an antimicrobial from another ponerine ant Pachycondyla goeldii). One peptide, Da-1585, is a hydrophilic cleavage product of an amphipathic peptide, Da-2501. The most hydrophobic peptide, Da-1837, is amidated (a PTM observed in one half of the major peptides) and shares homology with poneratoxin, a sodium channel modifier found in the bullet ant Paraponera clavata. This study is the first examination of potential pharmacophores from venom of the genus Dinoponera (Order: Hymenoptera).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)702-710
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010



  • Dinoponera australis
  • Dinoponeratoxins
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Neuroactive
  • Peptide
  • South America
  • Venom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology

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