Limnonectins: A new class of antimicrobial peptides from the skin secretion of the Fujian large-headed frog (Limnonectes fujianensis)

Y. Wu, Mei Zhou, Lei Wang, Chengbang Ma, X. Chen, B. Bai, Tianbao Chen, Christopher Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Amphibian skin secretions are rich sources of biologically-active peptides with antimicrobial peptides predominating in many species. Several studies involving molecular cloning of biosynthetic precursor-encoding cDNAs from skin or skin secretions have revealed that these exhibit highly-conserved domain architectures with an unusually high degree of conserved nucleotide and resultant amino acid sequences within the signal peptides. This high degree of nucleotide sequence conservation has permitted the design of primers complementary to such sites facilitating “shotgun” cloning of skin or skin secretion-derived cDNA libraries from hitherto unstudied species. Here we have used such an approach using a skin secretion-derived cDNA library from an unstudied species of Chinese frog – the Fujian large-headed frog, Limnonectes fujianensis – and have discovered two 16-mer peptides of novel primary structures, named limnonectin-1Fa (SFPFFPPGICKRLKRC) and limnonectin-1Fb (SFHVFPPWMCKSLKKC), that represent the prototypes of a new class of amphibian skin antimicrobial peptide. Unusually these limnonectins display activity only against a Gram-negative bacterium (MICs of 35 and 70 µM) and are devoid of haemolytic activity at concentrations up to 160 µM. Thus the “shotgun” cloning approach described can exploit the unusually high degree of nucleotide conservation in signal peptide-encoding domains of amphibian defensive skin secretion peptide precursor-encoding cDNAs to rapidly expedite the discovery of novel and functional defensive peptides in a manner that circumvents specimen sacrifice without compromising robustness of data
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)981-987
Number of pages7
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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