By integrating systematic peptidome and transcriptome studies of the defensive skin secretion of the Central American red-eyed leaf frog, Agalychnis callidryas, we have identified novel members of three previously described antimicrobial peptide families, a 27-mer dermaseptin-related peptide (designated DRP-AC4), a 33-mer adenoregulin-related peptide (designated ARP-AC1) and most unusually, a 27-mer caerin-related peptide (designated CRP-AC1). While dermaseptin and adenoregulin were originally isolated from phyllomedusine leaf frogs, the caerins, until now. had only been described in Australian frogs of the genus, Litoria. Both the dermaseptin and adenoregulin were C-terminally amidated and lacked the C-terminal tripeptide of the biosynthetic precursor sequence. In contrast, the caerin-related peptide, unlike the majority of Litoria analogs. was not C-terminally amidated. The present data emphasize the need for structural characterization of mature peptides to ensure that unexpected precursor cleavages and/or post-translational modifications do not produce mature peptides that differ in structure to those predicted from cloned biosynthetic precursor cDNA. Additionally, systematic study of the secretory peptidome can produce unexpected results such as the CRP described here that may have phylogenetic implications. It is thus of the utmost importance in the functional evaluation of novel peptides that the primary structure of the mature peptide is unequivocally established - something that is often facilitated by cloning biosynthetic precursor cDNAs but obviously not reliable using such data alone. (C) 2008 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
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