Amphibian skin secretions are rich sources of biologically-active peptides and several studies involving molecular cloning of their biosynthetic precursors have revealed that many exhibit highly-conserved domain architectures with an associated high degree of primary structural conservation of the signal peptides. This conservation of primary structure is reflected at the level of nucleotide sequence — a finding that has permitted our group to design primers to these sites facilitating “shotgun” cloning using cDNA libraries from uninvestigated species. Here we describe the results of such an approach using a skin secretion-derived cDNA library from the Fujian large-headed frog, Limnonectes fujianensis, a completely unstudied species. In over 50 clones studied by this approach, 12 were found to encode peptides of different primary structure. Representatives of 5 different families of antimicrobial peptides derived from the skins of ranid frogs were found and these were brevinin-1 (n = 3), the ranatuerin-2 (n = 3), esculentin-2 (n = 1), temporin (n = 1) and chensinin (n = 1). Three clones encoded peptides that were novel with no homologues present in contemporary on-line databases. These included two related 16-mer peptides, named peptides SC-16a and b, and an unrelated 24-mer, named peptide AG-24. Preliminary biological characterisation of SC-16a has demonstrated an antimicrobial activity against Gram-negative bacteria with a minimal inhibitory concentration of 35 µM with no observable haemolysis up to 200 µM. This finding may suggest that this peptide represents a novel class of antimicrobial with little effect on eukaryotic membranes.
|Number of pages||1|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2010|