The tailed frog Ascaphus truei occupies a unique position in phylogeny as the most primitive extant anuran and is regarded as the sister taxon to the clade of all other living frogs. A previous study led to the isolation of eight antimicrobial peptides, termed ascaphins, from norepinephrine-stimulated skin secretions. Peptidomic analysis (HPLC separation followed by MALDI mass spectrometry and Edman degradation) of these secretions has led to the identification and structural characterization of 13 additional peptides present in relatively high concentration. In addition to bradykinin (BK; RPPGFSPFR), a C-terminally extended bradykinin (peptide RD-11; RPPGFSPFRVD), a bradykinin-like peptide (peptide AR-10; APVPGLSPFR), and a C-terminally extended form of this peptide (peptide AV-12; APVPGLSPFRVV) were obtained in pure form. These peptides produced concentration-dependent relaxation of precontracted mouse tracheal rings with a rank order of potency of BK > RD-11 > AR-10 > AV-12 but only RD-11 caused the same maximal relaxation as bradykinin. Four small peptides were also isolated from the skin secretions that contain the Pro-Trp motif that is a characteristic of the tryptophyllin family of peptides previously identified in skins of frogs of the family Hylidae. The data show that the synthesis of dermal peptides that may play a role in defense against predators arose early in the evolution of anurans.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology