The alyteserins: Two families of antimicrobial peptides from the skin secretions of the midwife toadAlytes obstetricans(Alytidae)

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Abstract

Two families of structurally related C-terminally α-amidated antimicrobial peptides have been identified in norepinephrine-stimulated skin secretions of the midwife toad Alytes obstetricans (Alytidae). The alyteserin-1 peptides (Gly-Leu-Lys-(Asp/Glu)-Ile-Phe-Lys-Ala-Gly-Leu-Gly-Ser-Leu-Val-Lys-(Gly/Asn)-Ile-Ala-Ala-His-Val-Ala-(Asn/Ser).NH2) show limited structural similarity to the ascaphins from the skins of frogs of the family Leiopelmatidae. Alyteserin-2a (Ile-Leu-Gly-Lys-Leu-Leu-Ser-Thr-Ala-Ala-Gly-Leu-Leu-Ser-Asn-Leu.NH2) and alyteserin-2b and -2c (Ile-Leu-Gly-Ala-Ile-Leu-Pro-Leu-Val-Ser-Gly-Leu-Leu-Ser-(Asn/Ser)-Lys-Leu.NH2) show limited sequence identity with bombinin H6, present in the skins of frogs of the family Bombinatoridae. The alyteserin-1 peptides show selective growth inhibitory activity against the Gram-negative bacteria Escherichia coli (MIC = 25 μM) whereas alyteserin-2a is more potent against the Gram-positive bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (MIC = 50 μM). The hemolytic activity against human erythrocytes of all peptides tested is relatively weak (LC50 > 100 μM). The data demonstrate that the frogs belonging to the family Alytidae are among those producing dermal antimicrobial peptides that may represent a component of the animal's system of innate immunity.

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