Amphibian skin secretions are renowned as complex mixtures of bioactive peptides many of which are analogues of endogenous regulatory peptides. While skin secretions can be obtained non-invasively for peptidome analysis, parallel studies on the granular gland transcriptome required specimen sacrifice. The aim of the present study was to analyse archived skin secretions to determine the robustness of bioactive peptide precursor-encoding polyadenylated mRNAs in an attempt to extract maximum molecular information from rare samples. A range of solvated skin secretion samples were examined after lyophilisation for their potential to generate viable and comprehensive cDNA libraries based upon polyadenylated mRNA capture and amplification/cloning using appropriate commercial kits. Here we present unequivocal data that the granular gland transcriptome persists in a PCR amenable format even after storage for as long as 12 years in 0.1%(v/v) aqueous trifluoroacetic acid (TFA). We used a pooled skin secretion sample (2 ml) from the yellow-bellied toad, Bombina variegata (n = 14), containing the equivalent of 5 mg/ml of lyophilised skin secretion, that had been used in part for peptide isolation purposes in 1998 and had been stored at - 20 °C since that time. In the first cloning experiment, 12 different bombinin-like peptide precursor cDNAs were cloned encoding 17 different bombinins, the majority of which were novel. Subsequently, bombesin and bradykinin-related peptide precursor transcripts have been cloned successfully. These data illustrate the unexpected stability/longevity of the transcriptome in these secretions — a finding with implications for both this field of research and for the wider field of molecular biology.
Bai, B., Wang, L., Zhou, M., Chen, T., & Shaw, C. (2010). Construction of cDNA libraries from trifluoroacetic acid-solvated amphibian skin secretions: molecular cloning of multiple bombinin-like peptide precursor transcripts from a library of yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata) secretion. Regulatory Peptides, 164, 34-34. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.regpep.2010.07.081