From defensive skin secretions acquired from two species of African hyperoliid frogs, Kassina maculata and Kassina senegalensis, we have isolated two structurally related, C-terminally amidated tridecapeptides of novel primary structure that exhibit a broad spectrum of biological activity. In reflection of their structural novelty and species of origin, we named the peptides kassorin M (FLEGLLNTVTGLLamide; 1387.8 Da) and kassorin S (FLGGILNTITGLLamide; 1329.8 Da), respectively. The primary structure and organisation of the biosynthetic precursors of kassorins M and S were deduced from cloned skin secretion-derived cDNA. Both open-reading frames encoded a single copy of kassorin M and S, respectively, located at the C-terminus. Kassorins display limited structural similarities to vespid chemotactic peptides (7/13 residues), temporin A (5/13 residues), the N-terminus of Lv-ranaspumin, a foam nest surfactant protein of the frog, Leptodactylus vastus, and an N-terminal domain of the equine sweat surfactant protein, latherin. Both peptides elicit histamine release from rat peritoneal mast cells. However, while kassorin S was found to possess antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, kassorin M was devoid of such activity. In contrast, kassorin M was found to contract the smooth muscle of guinea pig urinary bladder (EC50 = 4.66 nM) and kassorin S was devoid of this activity. Kassorins thus represent the prototypes of a novel family of peptides from the amphibian innate immune system as occurring in defensive skin secretions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology