A comparison of the venom proteomes and potential therapeutics of 3 African naja subgenera

Benedict C. Offor, Lizelle A. Piater

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


African cobras (Naja species) represent one of the most encountered medically important snakes in Africa. They are classified as African spitting (Afronaja subgenus) and non-spitting cobras (Uraeus and Boulengerina subgenera) with similar and different characteristics. Snake venom toxins including three-finger toxin (3FTx), phospholipase A2 (PLA2), and snake venom metalloproteinase (SVMP) cause snakebite envenomation leading to morbidity and mortality. The profile of the proteome of African cobra venoms will help to develop safer and more effective antivenoms. The approval of Captopril by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, has led to intensified research towards possible use of venom toxins as therapeutics. In this review, we compare the venom proteome profile of 3 African Naja subgenera. In both Afronaja and Boulengerina subgenera, 3FTx (Afronaja–69.79%; Boulengerina–60.56%) followed by PLA2 (Afronaja–21.15%; Boulengerina–20.21%) dominated the venoms compared to the Uraeus subgenus dominated by 3FTx (84.55%) with little to no PLA2 abundance (0.8%). The venom of subgenus Uraeus was distinct from the other two subgenera by the almost total absence of PLA2, thus indicating little or no contribution of PLA2 in the envenomation caused by Uraeus compared to Afronaja and Boulengerina. Furthermore, we report studies on the experimental testing of African cobra venoms and toxins against diseases including anti-cancer properties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107792
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2024


  • Anti-cancer
  • Non-spitting cobra
  • Snake venom
  • Spitting cobra
  • Therapeutics
  • Venom toxin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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