Six peptides with antimicrobial activity were isolated from an extract of freeze-dried skin of the Japanese mountain brown frog Rana ornativentris. Two structurally related peptides (brevinin-20a GLFNVFKGALKTAGKHVAGSLLNQLKCKVSGGC, 11 nmol/g dried tissue, and brevinin-20b GIFNVFKGALKTAGKHVAGSLLNQLKCKVSGEC, 170 nmol/g) belong to the brevinin-2 family, previously identified in Asian and European, but not North American, Ranid frogs. Four peptides (temporin-10a FLPLLASLFSRLL.NH2, 13 nmol/g; temporin-10b FLPLIGKILGTI L.NH2, 350 nmol/g; temporin-10c FLPLLASLFSRLF.NH2, 14 nmol/g; and temporin-10d FLPLLASLFSGLF.NH2, 8 nmol/g) are members of the temporin family first identified in the European common frog Rana temporaria but also found in the skins of North American Ranids. The brevinin-2 peptides showed broad-spectrum activity against the gram-positive bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus, the gram-negative bacterium, Escherichia coli and the yeast Candida albicans, whereas the temporins showed potent activity only against S. aureus. The brevinins and temporins belong to the class of cationic antimicrobial peptides that adopt an amphipathic α-helical conformation but it is significant that temporin-10d, which lacks a basic amino acid residue, is still active against S. aureus (minimum inhibitory concentration=13 μM compared with 2 μM for temporin-10a). This suggests that strong electrostatic interaction between the peptide and the negatively charged phospholipids of the cell membrane is not an absolute prerequisite for antimicrobial activity.
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