The defensive skin secretions of many amphibians contain a wide spectrum of biologically active compounds, particularly antimicrobial peptides that act as a first line of defence against bacterial infection. Here we describe for the first time the identification of three novel dermaseptin-related peptides (dermaseptins sVI–sVIII) whose primary structures were deduced from cDNAs cloned from a library constructed from lyophilised skin secretion of the South American hylid frog, Phyllomedusa sauvagei. The molecular masses of each were subsequently confirmed by interrogation of archived LC/MS files of fractionated skin secretion followed by automated Edman degradation sequencing. The heterogeneity of primary structures encountered in amphibian skin antimicrobial peptides may in part be explained by individual variation—a factor essential for selective functional molecular evolution and perhaps, ultimately in speciation.
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