Background: Solitary wasp venoms may be a rich source of neuroactive substances, since their venoms are used for paralyzing preys. We have been exploring bioactive constituents of solitary wasp venoms and, in this study, the component profile of the venom from a solitary scoliid wasp, Scolia decorata ventralis, was investigated through a comprehensive analysis using LC-MS. Two peptides were synthesized, and their neuroprotective properties were evaluated. Methods: A reverse-phase HPLC connected to ESI-MS was used for LC-MS analyses. Online mass fingerprinting was performed from TIC, and data-dependent tandem mass spectrometry gave the MS/MS spectra. The sequences of two major peptide components were determined by MALDI-TOF/TOF MS analysis, confirmed by solid phase synthesis. Using the synthetic peptides, biological activities were assessed. Cell integrity tests and neuroprotection analyzes using H2O2 as an oxidative stress inducer were performed for both peptides. Results: Online mass fingerprinting revealed that the venom contains 123 components, and the MS/MS analysis resulted in 33 full sequences of peptide components. The two main peptides, α-scoliidine (DYVTVKGFSPLR) and β-scoliidine (DYVTVKGFSPLRKA), present homology with the bradykinin C-terminal. Despite this, both peptides did not behave as substrates or inhibitors of ACE, indicating that they do not interact with this metallopeptidase. In further studies, β-scoliidine, but not α -scoliidine, showed protective effects against oxidative stress-induced neurotoxicity in PC12 cells through integrity and metabolism cell assays. Interestingly, β-scoliidine has the extension of the KA dipeptide at the C-terminal in comparison with α-scoliidine. Conclusion: Comprehensive LC-MS and MS/MS analyses from the Scolia decorata ventralis venom displayed the component profile of this venom. β-scoliidine showed an effective cytoprotective effect, probably due to the observed increase in the number of cells. This is the first report of solitary wasp venom peptides showing neuroprotective activity.
Keywords: Comprehensive analysis; LC-ESI-MS; Solitary wasp; Venom; Neuroprotective peptide.