Development of an LC–MS multivariate nontargeted methodology for differential analysis of the peptide profile of Asian hornet venom (Vespa velutina nigrithorax): application to the investigation of the impact of collection period variation


Insect venom is a highly complex mixture of bioactive compounds, containing proteins, peptides, and small molecules. Environmental factors can alter the venom composition and lead to intraspecific variation in its bioactivity properties. The investigation of discriminating compounds caused by variation impacts can be a key to manage sampling and explore the bioactive compounds. The present study reports the development of a peptidomic methodology based on UHPLC–ESI-QTOF–HRMS analysis followed by a nontargeted multivariate analysis to reveal the profile variance of Vespa velutina venom collected in different conditions. The reliability of the approach was enhanced by optimizing certain XCMS data processing parameters and determining the sample peak threshold to eliminate the interfering features. This approach demonstrated a good repeatability and a criterion coefficient of variation (CV) > 30% was set for deleting nonrepeatable features from the matrix. The methodology was then applied to investigate the impact of collection period variation. PCA and PLS-DA models were used and validated by cross-validation and permutation tests. A slight discrimination was found between winter and summer hornet venom in two successive years with 10 common discriminating compounds.

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We express our acknowledgement to Eric DARROUZET of the Institut de Recherche sur la Biologie de l’Insecte (IRBI, UMR 7261) for providing the Asian hornets.

Funding information

We are grateful to the Centre-Val-de-Loire Region (France) and the program ARD 2020 Cosmétosciences for financial support.

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Correspondence to David da Silva.

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Asian hornets in France are not currently covered by legislation on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.

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Le, T.N., da Silva, D., Colas, C. et al. Development of an LC–MS multivariate nontargeted methodology for differential analysis of the peptide profile of Asian hornet venom (Vespa velutina nigrithorax): application to the investigation of the impact of collection period variation. Anal Bioanal Chem (2020) doi:10.1007/s00216-019-02372-2

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  • Mass spectrometry
  • Multivariate analysis
  • Peptidomic
  • Venom variation
  • Vespa velutina
  • XCMS