Phyllomedusine frogs are an extraordinary source of biologically active peptides. At least 8 families of antimicrobial peptides have been reported in this frog clade, the dermaseptins being the most diverse. By a peptidomic approach, integrating molecular cloning, Edman degradation sequencing and tandem mass spectrometry, a new family of antimicrobial peptides has been identified in Cruziohyla calcarifer. These 15 novel antimicrobial peptides of 20–32 residues in length are named cruzioseptins. They are characterized by having a unique shared N-terminal sequence GFLD– and the sequence motifs –VALGAVSK– or –GKAAL(N/G/S) (V/A)V– in the middle of the peptide. Cruzioseptins have a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity and low haemolytic effect. The most potent cruzioseptin was CZS-1 that had a MIC of 3.77 μM against the Gram positive bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus and the yeast Candida albicans. In contrast, CZS-1 was 3–fold less potent against the Gram negative bacterium, Escherichia coli (MIC 15.11 μM). CZS-1 reached 100% haemolysis at 120.87 μM. Skin secretions from unexplored species such as C. calcarifer continue to demonstrate the enormous molecular diversity hidden in the amphibian skin. Some of these novel peptides may provide lead structures for the development of a new class of antibiotics and antifungals of therapeutic use.
- Cruzioseptins; antimicrobial peptides; peptidomic; molecular cloning; skin secretions; tandem massspectrometry