The tachykinins hylambatin and (Thr)11-hylambatin have been isolated from the defensive skin secretion of the African hyperoliid frog, Kassina maculata,. Hylambatin (DPPDPNRFYGMMamide) is revised in structure from the original sequence by a single site substitution (Asn/Asp at position 6), and (Thr)11-hylambatin, a novel tachykinin, differs in structure from hylambatin by a single Thr/Met substitution. (Thr)11-hylambatin is five- to ten-fold more abundant than hylambatin in secretions. Synthetic replicates of both peptides were active in smooth muscle preparations including the rat tail artery, rat ileum and bovine trachea. While hylambatin displayed activity consistent with an NK1-receptor ligand, (Thr)11-hylambatin was more active than either substance P or neurokinin A in both NK1- and NK-2 receptor rich preparations. Incorporation of a threoninyl residue rather than the canonical leucyl residue at the penultimate position in both substance P and neurokinin A, generated active ligands in both arterial and intestinal smooth muscle preparations. Hylambatin precursor cDNAs, designated HYBN-1 and HYBN-2, respectively, were cloned from a skin library by 3'- and 5'-RACE reactions. Both were highly-homologous containing open-reading frames of 66 amino acids encoding single copies of either hylambatin or (Thr)11-hylambatin. These data reveal a hitherto unrecognized structure/activity attribute of mammalian tachykinin receptors revealed though discovery of a novel amphibian skin-derived, site-substituted peptide ligand.