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Abstract and Figures

Screening for new bioactive peptides in South American anurans has been pioneered in frogs of the genus Phyllomedusa. All frogs of this genus have venomous skin secretions, i.e., a complex mixture of bioactive peptides against potential predators and pathogens that presumably evolved in a scenario of predator-prey interaction and defense against microbial invasion. For every new anuran species studied new peptides are found, with homologies to hormones, neurotransmitters, antimicrobials, and several other peptides with unknown biological activity. From Vittorio Erspamer findings, this genus has been reported as a "treasure store" of bioactive peptides, and several groups focus their research on these species. From 1966 to 2009, more than 200 peptide sequences from different Phyllomedusa species were deposited in UniProt and other databases. During the last decade, the emergence of high-throughput molecular technologies involving de novo peptide sequencing via tandem mass spectrometry, cDNA cloning, pharmacological screening, and surface plasmon resonance applied to peptide discovery, led to fast structural data acquisition and the generation of peptide molecular libraries. Research groups on bioactive peptides in Brazil using these new technologies, accounted for the exponential increase of new molecules described in the last decade, much higher than in any previous decades. Recently, these secretions were also reported as a rich source of multiple antimicrobial peptides effective against multidrug resistant strains of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and virus, providing instructive lessons for the development of new and more efficient nanotechnological-based therapies for infectious diseases treatment. Therefore, novel drugs arising from the identification and analysis of bioactive peptides from South American anuran biodiversity have a promising future role on nanobiotechnology.
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REVIEW ARTICLE
Antimicrobial peptides from Phyllomedusa frogs:
from biomolecular diversity to potential nanotechnologic
medical applications
Leonardo de Azevedo Calderon Alexandre de Almeida E. Silva
Pietro Ciancaglini Rodrigo Guerino Sta
´beli
Received: 3 February 2010 / Accepted: 5 May 2010
ÓSpringer-Verlag 2010
Abstract Screening for new bioactive peptides in South
American anurans has been pioneered in frogs of the genus
Phyllomedusa. All frogs of this genus have venomous skin
secretions, i.e., a complex mixture of bioactive peptides
against potential predators and pathogens that presumably
evolved in a scenario of predator–prey interaction and
defense against microbial invasion. For every new anuran
species studied new peptides are found, with homologies to
hormones, neurotransmitters, antimicrobials, and several
other peptides with unknown biological activity. From
Vittorio Erspamer findings, this genus has been reported as
a ‘‘treasure store’’ of bioactive peptides, and several groups
focus their research on these species. From 1966 to 2009,
more than 200 peptide sequences from different Phyllo-
medusa species were deposited in UniProt and other dat-
abases. During the last decade, the emergence of high-
throughput molecular technologies involving de novo
peptide sequencing via tandem mass spectrometry, cDNA
cloning, pharmacological screening, and surface plasmon
resonance applied to peptide discovery, led to fast struc-
tural data acquisition and the generation of peptide
molecular libraries. Research groups on bioactive peptides
in Brazil using these new technologies, accounted for the
exponential increase of new molecules described in the last
decade, much higher than in any previous decades.
Recently, these secretions were also reported as a rich
source of multiple antimicrobial peptides effective against
multidrug resistant strains of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and
virus, providing instructive lessons for the development of
new and more efficient nanotechnological-based therapies
for infectious diseases treatment. Therefore, novel drugs
arising from the identification and analysis of bioactive
peptides from South American anuran biodiversity have a
promising future role on nanobiotechnology.
Keywords Phyllomedusa Bioprospection
Antimicrobial peptide Dermaseptin Infection disease
New drugs Nanobiotechnology
Abbreviations
ADR Adenoregulin
AFM Atomic force microscopy
AMP Antimicrobial peptide
CD Circular dichroism
DRP Dermaseptin related peptide
DRS Dermaseptin
L. A. Calderon R. G. Sta
´beli (&)
Centro de Estudos de Biomole
´culas Aplicadas a Medicina
‘Professor Dr. Jose
´Roberto Giglio’’ (CEBio), Nu
´cleo de Sau
´de
(NUSAU), Universidade Federal de Rondo
ˆnia (UNIR),
Porto Velho, RO 76800-000, Brazil
e-mail: stabeli@fiocruz.br
L. A. Calderon A. A. E. Silva
Instituto de Pesquisas em Patologias Tropicais de Rondo
ˆnia
(IPEPATRO), Porto Velho, RO 76812-245, Brazil
A. A. E. Silva
Laborato
´rio de Bioecologia de Insetos, Departamento de
Biologia, Nu
´cleo de Cie
ˆncia e Tecnologia (NCT),
Universidade Federal de Rondo
ˆnia (UNIR),
Porto Velho, RO 76800-000, Brazil
P. Ciancaglini
Departamento de Quı
´mica da Faculdade de Filosofia, Cie
ˆncias e
Letras de Ribeira
˜o Preto (FFCLRP), Universidade de Sa
˜o Paulo
(USP), Ribeira
˜o Preto, SP 14040-901, Brazil
R. G. Sta
´beli
Fundac¸a
˜o Oswaldo Cruz do Noroeste do Brasil,
Fundac¸a
˜o Oswaldo Cruz, Porto Velho, RO, Brazil
123
Amino Acids
DOI 10.1007/s00726-010-0622-3
DRT Dermatoxin
FSAP Frog skin active peptide
FTIR Fourier-transformed infrared spectroscopy
HIV-1 Human immunodeficiency virus 1
HSV-1 Herpes simplex virus 1
MALDI Matrix assisted laser desorption ionization
NMR Nuclear magnetic resonance
NPY Neuropeptide Y
PLS Phylloseptin
PLX Phylloxin
PM Plasmatic membrane
PTC Plasticin
PYY Polypeptide YY
SPYY Skin polypeptide YY
UniProt Universal protein resource
South America Phyllomedusae biodiversity
According to Frost, up to now, over 5,600 anuran species
have been described around the world, in a wide variety of
environments, except in the poles (Frost 2009). Compared
to other continents, South America includes the highest
number of the anuran species of the world in its biomes
(Toledo and Jared 1995). Brazil (821 spp.) (SBH 2009),
Colombia (732 spp.) (Frost 2009), and Ecuador (480 spp.)
(Coloma 2009) are the richest countries in anurans’ species
in South America.
Among all South American anurans, a complex group of
32 valid species of Phyllomedusa frogs (Table 1) deserve
special attention. The Phyllomedusa genus belongs to the
subfamily Phyllomedusinae (Amphibia, Anura, Hylidae)
that has seven genera of neotropic tree frogs distributed
from Central America to the east Andes along South
America (Agalychnis,Cruziohyla,Hylomantis,Pachyme-
dusa,Phasmahyla,Phrynomedusa, and Phyllomedusa).
The Phyllomedusa species display unique characters
among the neotropical hylidaes, including vertical slit
pupil, green back, hidden regions with contrasting patterns
of red, blue, and yellow (Caramaschi 2006). Eggs depos-
ited out of water give rise to aquatic larvae with different
exclusive characters, in addition to 95 transformations in
nuclear and mitochondrial proteins and ribosomic genes
(Faivovich et al. 2005).
According to Caramaschi (2006), most of the Phyllome-
dusa species are distributed among five groups: P. burmeisteri
group, P. hypochondrialis group, P. buckleyi group, P. per-
inesos group, and P. tarsius group (Caramaschi 2006). There
are, however, some species that are currently not assigned
to any group, such as P. atelopoides,P. bicolor,P. coelestis,
P. palliata,P. tomopterna,P. trinitatis,P. vaillantii,and
P. venusta (Caramaschi 2006).
The species belonging to the Phyllomedusa genus are
frequently renamed by herpetologists. These changes
influence other science areas that depend on the correct
taxonomic identification, mainly the ‘‘omics’’ sciences,
such as proteomics, peptidomics, secretomics, genomics,
and others, leading to new molecules described in dis-
continued, invalid, or non-described species names.
The Phyllomedusa cutaneous glands
The anuran skin displays great morphofunctional diversity
adapted to a number of adverse factors present in the
species habitat environment (Toledo and Jared 1993; Barra
and Simmaco 1995). The cutaneous glands present in the
skin play an essential role in respiration, reproduction,
defense against predators and protection against desicca-
tion, and proliferation of microorganisms on the body
surface (Toledo and Jared 1995). Ultrastructural charac-
terization of the Phyllomedusa species skin demonstrated
that the profile of skin glands are composed by three types
of cutaneous glands (acinous) differed in size and secretory
activity. These are lipid, mucous, and serous glands that lie
deep in the skin and subcutaneous connective tissue
(Lacombe et al. 2000).
The lipid glands promote the impermeabilization of the
skin in order to decrease water loss (Castanho and De Luca
2001). The mucous glands produce mucus to support
cutaneous functions, such as respiration, reproduction,
thermoregulation, and defense (Toledo and Jared 1995).
The serous glands are the largest and are widely distributed
over the animal’s body surface, as a main element in
amphibian passive defense (Toledo and Jared 1995;
Lacombe et al. 2000). These glands produce a wide variety
of noxious or toxic substances with various pharmacolog-
ical effects on microorganisms, vertebrate, and invertebrate
species (Toledo and Jared 1995; Lacombe et al. 2000). The
serous glands exhibit remarkable polymorphism in Phyl-
lomedusa (Delfino et al. 1998). They are classified basi-
cally into two classes, type I and II (Lacombe et al. 2000).
Type I glands exhibit a poorly developed smooth
endoplasmic reticulum (Lacombe et al. 2000) and present
two subtypes, Ia and Ib. Type Ia shows dense granules
which characterize the biosynthesis of proteinaceous
products reserved for exocytosis, and engage both rough
endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus (Delfino 1991).
Type Ib shows vesicles holding a lucent material in the
fluid serous secretions on the anuran skin, which undergo
maturation without condensation (Toledo and Jared 1995).
Type II glands, typical of Phyllomedusa bicolor, show a
well-developed smooth endoplasmic reticulum that is
possibly engaged in the biosynthesis of peptides (Blaylock
et al. 1976; Lacombe et al. 2000). These peptides are
L. A. Calderon et al.
123
synthesized as prepropeptides that are processed into
mature peptides after removal of the peptide signal and the
acidic propiece. These are then stored in the granules
(Nicolas and El Amri 2009). It is proposed that the release
of the gland content onto the skin surface is mediated by a
holocrine mechanism involving rupture of the plasmatic
membrane (PM) and extrusion of the granules through a
duct opening to the surface (Nicolas and El Amri 2009).
Table 1 Up to date list of Phyllomedusa species distributed by group and number of peptides characterized
Group Species Number of peptides References
P. burmeisteri [5 species] P. bahiana
P. burmeisteri 29 Barra et al. (1994), Mandel (2008), Mundim (2008),
UniProt (2009)
P. distincta 6 Batista et al. (1999,2001)
P. iheringii
P.tetraploidea
P. hypochondrialis [11 species] P. araguari
P. azurea 41 Thompson (2006), Thompson et al. (2006), Thompson et al.
(2007a,b), UniProt (2009)
P. ayeaye
P. centralis
P. hypochondrialis 34 Leite et al. (2005), Brand et al. (2006a,b), Chen et al.
(2006), Conceic¸a
˜o et al. (2006,2007), UniProt (2009)
P. itacolomi
P. megacephala
P. nordestina 3 Conceic¸a
˜o et al. (2009)
P. oreades 6 Brand et al. (2002), Leite et al. (2005)
P. palliata
P. rohdei 22 Anastasi et al. (1966), Barra et al. (1985), Montecucchi
et al. (1986), Mandel (2008), Mundim (2008)
P. perinesos [4 species] P. baltea
P. duellmani
P. ecuatoriana
P. perinesos
P. tarsius [5 species] P. boliviana
P. camba
P. neildi
P. sauvagii 31 Anastasi et al. (1969), Montecucchi et al. (1979),
Montecucchi et al. (1981a), Montecucchi et al. (1981b),
Erspamer et al. (1985), Richter et al. (1987), Mor et al.
(1991a,b), Chen et al. (2003a,b), Mor and Nicolas
(1994a), Chen and Shaw (2003), Chen et al. (2005a),
UniProt (2009)
P. tarsius 12 Silva et al. (2000), UniProt (2009)
Unassigned to group [7 species] P. atelopoides
P. bicolor 21 Anastasi et al. (1970), Richter et al. (1990), Daly et al.
(1992), Mignogna et al. 1992, Amiche et al. (1993),
Amiche et al. (1994), Mor et al. (1994a,b); Charpentier
et al. (1998); Fleury et al. (1998), Seon et al. (2000),
Amiche et al. (2000), Pierre et al. (2000), Vanhoye et al.
(2003), Chen et al. (2005b), UniProt (2009)
P. coelestis
P. tomopterna 21 Mandel (2008), Mundim (2008), UniProt (2009)
P. trinitatis 1 Marenah et al. (2004)
P. vaillantii
P. venusta
Antimicrobial peptides from Phyllomedusa frogs
123
Immunofluorescence analysis of the P. bicolor dermal
glands using an antibody to the acidic propiece region of
the preprodermaseptin/preprodeltorphins-derived family
[ENENEENHEEGSE] demonstrated that the fluorescence-
positive reaction is restricted to the serous glandular con-
tent, indicating their specificity in the biosynthesis
and secretion of dermaseptins and deltorphin peptides
(Lacombe et al. 2000). A recent mass spectral image study
(MALDI-image) of the skin of P. hypochondrialis indi-
cates that the serous glands present specialization in the
peptide production and storage (Brand et al. 2006b).
Peptides of Phyllomedusa skin secretions
In spite of the large number of anuran species from different
genera found within South America, a great deal of attention
is being paid to the study of neotropical hylid frogs that
belong to the subfamily Phyllomedusinae, as an excellent
source of these molecules. Erspamer et al. (1985) also stated
that ‘‘No other amphibian skin can compete with that of the
Phyllomedusae’’. The initial efforts on Phyllomedusa skin
secretions by Vittorio Erspamer followed by other scientists
around the world during the last four decades revealed a
complex cocktail of biologically active peptides with anti-
microbial,hormonal, and neuro activities (Bevins and Zasloff
1990; Amiche et al. 1993). The peptides secreted differ sig-
nificantly among species within this genus leading to an
interesting molecular diversity, associated with possible
specific differences present in the specie niche, such as the
interactions with environment, predators, and pathogens
characterizing Phyllomedusa species evolution.
The first peptide isolated from the Phyllomedusa skin
was Phyllokinin [RPPGFSPFRIY], a bradykinyl-isoleucyl-
tyrosine O-sulfate from P. rohdei in 1966 (Anastasi et al.
1966), followed by Phyllocaerulein [QEYTGWMDF-NH
2
]
a cerulein-like nonapeptide from P. sauvagii in 1969
(Anastasi et al. 1969). All these bioactive peptides were
discovered by Erspamer’s research group. Due to technical
limitations, large numbers of specimens have to be killed in
order to isolate, characterize, and perform the biological
assays on the two peptides. Since the 1960s, the number of
Phyllomedusa peptides discovered has increased expo-
nentially (Fig. 1, inset) followed by the drastic reduction of
specimens required for the analyses. Nowadays, it is pos-
sible to carry out transcriptome analysis to build a cDNA
library only with the secretions from a single living spec-
imen (Chen et al. 2003b). The impacts caused by the bio-
prospecting activity on the frog natural populations tend to
zero through the development of non-invasive techniques
largely due to scientific and technical advances.
The emergence of modern high-throughput molecular
technologies involving de novo peptide sequencing via
tandem mass spectrometry, cDNA cloning, and pharma-
cological screening applied to peptide discovery allowed
fast structural data analysis and the generation of peptide
sequence libraries, which in turn increased the capacity of
peptide characterization, remarkably reducing the amount
of samples needed (Shaw 2009).
The chronology related to the analyses of the Phyllo-
medusa peptide discovery (Fig. 1) was impacted by the
technological evolution applied to the study of venom-
derived peptides, including the emergence of new research
groups dedicated to the characterization of anuran venoms.
From 1966 to 2009, 227 peptide amino acid sequences,
including peptide precursor cDNA sequences, belonging to
the frog skin active peptide (FSAP) family from the skin of
Phyllomedusa species (Fig. 1, inset) were published in
scientific papers and/or deposited on genomic and/or pro-
teomic data banks as the Universal Protein Resource
Consortium (UniProt). The species P. azurea,P. bicolor,
P. burmeisteri,P. distincta,P. hypochondrialis,P. nordestina,
P. oreades,P. rohdei,P. sauvagii,P. tarsius,P. tomopterna,
and P. trinitatis that belong to all groups, except the
P. perinesos group, had their secreted peptides sequenced by
2009 (Table 1).
The Phyllomedusa skin peptides are grouped in to three
main groups according to their ‘‘primary’’ activity: anti-
microbial peptides (AMPs); smooth muscle active pep-
tides; and nervous system active peptides (Table 2)
(Erspamer et al. 1981). However, peptides’ secondary
activities were not considered in this systematization. The
Fig. 1 Phyllomedusa peptides and prepropeptides amino acid
sequences published on indexed scientific journals including the
structures deposited in genomic and proteomic databases from 1965
to 2009. Inset number of Phyllomedusa primary structures increment
per year showing an exponential growth
L. A. Calderon et al.
123
Table 2 Skin peptide families, main activity, and distribution on Phyllomedusa species
Main activity Peptide family Species
P. azurea P. bicolor P. burmeisteri P. distincta P. hypochondrialis P. nordestina P. oreades P. rohdei P. sauvagii P. tarsius P. tomopterna P. trinitatis
Antimicrobial Dermaseptin (Mor et al. 1991a)X X X X X X X X X X X
Dermatoxin (Amiche et al. 2000)X XX
Distinctin (Batista et al. 2001)X X X
Phylloseptin (Leite et al. 2005)X X X X X X X X
Phylloxin (Pierre et al. 2000)X X
Plasticins (Vanhoye et al. 2004)X X
SPYY (Mor et al. 1994a,b)X
Central nervous
system active
Deltorphin (Erspamer et al. 1989)XX X
Dermorphin (Broccardo et al. 1981)XXX
Smooth muscle
active
Bradykinin (Brand et al. 2006a)X X X X X X X
Phyllokinin (Anastasi et al. 1966)X X X X
Tryptophyllin (Gozzini et al. 1985)X X X
Litorin (Barra et al. 1985) X
Phyllolitorin (Yasuhara et al. 1983) X
Phyllomedusin (Anastasi
and Erspamer 1970)
X
Phyllocaerulein (Anastasi et al. 1969) X
Sauvagine (Montecucchi et al. 1980) X
Sauvatide (Wang et al. 2009) X
S-Calcitonin gene related
(Seon et al. 2000)
X
Unknown Hyposin (Thompson et al. 2007b)X X
Antimicrobial peptides from Phyllomedusa frogs
123
first group acts as a skin anti-infective passive defense
barrier, the second and the third groups cause the disruption
of the predator homeostasis balance. The biological activ-
ity of the hyposin peptides is still unknown.
Antimicrobial peptides
Among the peptides of the FSAP family, the AMPs are the
most diverse class. To date, the AMPs described in Phyl-
lomedusa skin include seven distinct families (or subfam-
ilies) according to their sequence similarity and activity,
e.g., Dermaseptin (Mor et al. 1991a), Dermatoxin (Amiche
et al. 2000), Distinctin (Batista et al. 2001), Phylloseptin
(Leite et al. 2005), Phylloxin (Pierre et al. 2000), Plasticin
(Vanhoye et al. 2004), and Skin Polypeptide YY (Mor et al.
1994a,b,c). These peptides comprise the skin anti-infec-
tive passive defense barrier of these anurans. According to
Pierre et al. (2000), the biological significance of such a
complex mixture of antibiotic peptides with different
specificity and potency in Phyllomedusa skin is possibly
related to a greater protection against a wide range of
potential invaders at a minimum metabolic cost (Pierre
et al. 2000), e.g., dermaseptins exhibit synergy of action
upon combination with other antibiotic molecules or
AMPs, resulting in a 100-fold increase in antibiotic activity
potency (Mor and Nicolas 1994b; Giacometti et al. 2006).
These peptides differ in amino acid composition, length,
structure, specificity, and several other non-antimicrobial
activities, but share common physico-chemical properties,
such as cationic charge and an amphipathic structure when
interacting with PMs. They have also shared a conserved
prepro region originating from a single gene family named
preprodermorphin/dermaseptins-derived peptides family
that unites them (Nicolas and El Amri 2009). This
canonical precursor (Table 3) has an architecture that
comprises: a N-terminal pre-sequence composed by the
signal peptide, with the first 22 amino acid residues; the
acidic propiece with 21–24 residues in the middle region,
that terminates in a typical -KR- propeptide convertase
processing motif that cleaves and releases each respective
mature peptide located at the C-terminus (Chen et al.
2005a) with remarkably conserved, both within and
between species; and a markedly different C-terminal
domain sequence corresponding to chemically and func-
tionally different mature peptides with 19–34 residues that
include amphipathic antimicrobial peptides as well as
dermorphins and deltorphins, D-amino acid-containing
heptapeptides which are very potent and specific agonists
of the l-opiod or d-opioid receptors (Erspamer 1992;
Amiche et al. 1998,1999; Lazarus et al. 1999; Pierre et al.
2000; Nicolas et al. 2003; Vanhoye et al. 2003; Nicolas and
El Amri 2009).
Despite the intensive studies, the complete and precise
structure–activity relationships and mechanisms of the
AMPs action are still not fully understood (Nicolas and El
Amri 2009). Morphological and functional assays confirm
that PM permeabilization is achieved by distortion of the
PM structure, not by activation of a pre-existing pore or
transporter (Rivas et al. 2009). The ensuing effects depend
on the antimicrobial peptide and the severity of the dam-
age, and usually include dissipation of ionic gradients
across the PM, leakage of nutrients and/or larger cyto-
plasmic components, and finally, a collapse of the parasite
bioenergetics and osmotic lysis. This killing mechanism
acts promptly by destroying their PM, promoting the
reduction of log orders of pathogens in a few minutes
(Feder et al. 2000). This mechanism is unlikely to induce
antibiotic-resistance in microorganisms due to a great
metabolic change in the PM composition (Shai 1995).
Two elements seem to be relevant to the antimicrobial
action: the selectiveness, and the ability to destabilize PMs
(Hwang and Vogel 1998; Dathe and Wieprecht 1999;Shai
2002; Yeaman and Yount 2003). The biochemical and
biophysical properties of the peptide, e.g., amphipathicity,
charge, conformation, hydrophobicity, and polar angle,
result from the interrelationship between the physico-
chemical properties of the amino acid composition and its
position in the sequence, driving the peptide three-dimen-
sional configuration (Yeaman and Yount 2003). Therefore,
changes in composition, sequence, and intramolecular
bonds may profoundly affect the structure–activity relation-
ships of the solubilized AMPs, upon binding to target PMs.
The coordination of these events allow the optimization of
antimicrobial peptide efficacy determined by the balance
between increased affinity against a microbial target versus
reduced toxicity to host cells (Matsuzaki 2009).
Matsuzaki (2009) stated that strong antimicrobial
activity and less cytotoxicity could be achieved by
increasing the net positive charge of the peptide with
minimal hydrophobicity above a threshold, which is sup-
ported by the hypothesis that the lipid composition of cell
surfaces primarily determines cell selectivity. The hydro-
phobicity responsible for cytotoxicity is displayed by the
hydrophobic face of the amphipathic secondary structure
formed upon binding to the PM. Residues close to the ends
of a helix do not fully contribute to the effective hydro-
phobicity (Matsuzaki 2009).
According to Nicolas and El Amri (2009), the peptide
antimicrobial potency is essentially independent of the
bacterial envelope structure, related to the AMP selec-
tiveness. Ultrastructural studies performed by electron
microscopy and immunocytochemistry (Hernandez et al.
1992) and also biophysical studies with liposomal models
(Pouny et al. 1992) demonstrated that dermaseptin exerts
its action through selective lysis of PMs (Mor and Nicolas
L. A. Calderon et al.
123
Table 3 Primary structures of Phyllomedusa antimicrobial prepropeptides
Name
a
Abbreviation
a
Prepropeptide Sequence
b
Species Digital abstract
Dermaseptin AZ3 DRS-AZ3 (DMS3) MAFLKKSLFLVLFLGMVSLSIC EEEKRENEDEEK-Q-EDDEQSEM KR GLWSTIKNVAAAAGKAALGALGEQ
P. azurea
Q17UY8 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q17UY8.html)
AZ4 DRS-AZ4 (DMS4) MAFMKKSLFLVLFLGMVSLSIC EEEKRENEDEAK-Q-EDDEQSEM KR GLWSTIKNVGKEAAIAAGKAALGALGEQ Q1EJP4 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q1EJP4.html)
AZ5 DRS-AZ5 (DMS5) ----KSLFLVLFLGMVSLSIC EEEKRENEDEEK-Q-EDDEQSEM KR GLWSTIKNVGKEAAIAAGKAVLGSLGEQ Q1EJP5 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q1EJP5.html )
B1 DRS-B1 MDILKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKRENEDEEK-Q–-DDEQSEM KR AMWKDVLKKIGTVALHAGKAALGAVADTISQGEQ
P. bicolor
P80282 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P80282.html)
B2 DRS-B2 (ADR) MAFLKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKRENEDEEE-Q-EDDEQSEM KR GLWSKIKEVGKEAAKAAAKAAGKAALGAVSEAVGEQ P31107 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P31107.html)
B3 DRS-B3 MAFLKKSVFLVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKREEENEEK-Q-EDDEQSEE KR ALWKNMLKGIGKLAGQAALGAVKTLVGAE P81485 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P81485.html)
B4 DRS-B4 MAFLKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKRENKDEIE-Q-EDDEQSEE KR ALWKDILKNVGKAAGKAVLNTVTDMVNQGEQ P81486 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P81486.html)
B6 DRS-B6 MAFLKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSVC EEEKRENEDEME-Q-EDDEQSEE KR ALWKDILKNAGKAALNEINQLVNQGEL P81490 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P81490.html)
B7 DRS-B7 (DRG1) MASLKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKRENEDEEE-Q-EDDEQSEM KR GLWSNIKTAGKEAAKAALKAAGKAALGAVTDAVGEQ Q90ZK3 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q90ZK3.html)
B8 DRS-B8 (DRG2) MAFLKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKRENEDEEE-Q-EDDEQSEM KR GLWSKIKEAGKAALTAAGKAALGAVSDAVGEQ Q90ZK5 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q90ZK5.html)
B9 DRS-B9 (DRG3) MAFLKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSVC EEEKRENEDEEE-Q-EDDEQSEE KR ALWKTIIKGAGKMIGSLAKNLLGSQAQPESEQ P81488 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P81488.html)
H1 DRS-H1 (DShypo 01) MAFLKKSLFLVLFLGMVSLSIC EEEKRENEDEEL-Q-EDDEQSEM KR GLWSTIKNVGKEAAIAAGKAALGAL P. hypochondrialis P84596 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84596.html)
H2 DRS-H2 (DSN-1) MDILKKSLFIVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKRENEDEEE-Q-EDDEQSEE KR GLWKSLLKNVGVAAGKAALNAVTDMVNQGEQ Q0VZ37 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q0VZ37.html)
S1 DRS-S1 (DS I) MDILKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKRENEDEEK-Q-EDDEQSEM KR ALWKTMLKKLGTMALHAGKAALGAAADTISQGTQ
P. sauvagii
Q7T3K6 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q7T3K6.html)
S6 DRS-S6 (SVI) MDILKKSLFFILFLGLVSLSIS EEEKRENEDEED-Q-EDDEQSEE KR GLWSKIKTAGKEAAKAAAKAAGKAALNAVSEAIGEQ Q7T3K9 ( http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q7T3K9.html)
S7 DRS-S7 (SVII) MDILKKSLFLVLFLGLISLSFC EEEKRENEDEEE-Q-EDDEQSEE KR GLWKSLLKNVGKAAGKAALNAVTDMVNQGEQ Q7T3K8 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q7T3K8.html)
S8 DRS-S8 (SVIII) MDILKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKRENEDEEK-Q-EDDEQSEM KR ALWKTMLKKLGTVALHAGKAALGAAADTISQGAQ Q7T3K7 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q7T3K7.html)
S9 DRS-S9 (DSS9) MAFLKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSIC DEEKRENEDEEN-Q-EDDEQSEM RR GLRSKIWLWVLLMIWQESNKFKKM Q1EN15 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q1EN15.html)
S11 DRS-S11 (DS11) MAFLKKSLFLVLFLGMVSLSIC EEEKRENEDEEE-Q-EDDEQSEE KR ALWKTLLKGAGKVFGHVAKQFLGSQGQPES Q1EN13 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q1EN13.html)
S12 DRS-S12 (DS12) -ASLKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKRENEDEEN-Q-EDDEQSEM RR GLWSKIKEAAKTAGKMAMGFVNDMVGEQ Q1EN12 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q1EN12.html)
S13 DRS-S13 (DS13) MAFLKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSIC DEEKRENEDEEN-Q-EDDEQSEM RR GLRSKIKEAAKTAGKMALGFVNDMAGEQ Q1EN11 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q1EN11.html)
Dermatoxin B1 DRT-B1 MAFLKKSLFLVLFLGLVPLSLC ESEKREGENEEE-Q-EDD-QSEE KR SLGSFLKGVGTTLASVGKVVSDQFGKLLQAGQG P. bicolor Q9PT75 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q9PT75.html)
S1 DRT-S1 MAFLKKSLFLILFLGLVPLSFC ENDKREGENEEE-Q-DDD-QSEE KR ALGTLLKGVGSAVATVGKMVADQFGKLLQAGQG P. sauvagii Q5DVA5 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q5DVA5.html)
Phylloseptin AZ1 PLS-AZ1 (PS-2) LKKSLFLVVFLGLATLSIC EEEKRETEEEEYNQGEDD-KSEE KR FLSLIPHAINAVSTLVHHFG
P. azurea
P85881 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P85881.html)
AZ2 PLS-AZ2 (PS-7) MAFLKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKRETEEKENEQEDDD-KSEE KR FLSLIPHAINAVSAIAKHFG P85882 ( http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P85882.html)
AZ3 PLS-AZ3 (PS-8) MAFLKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKRETEEEEYNQEDDD-KSEE KR FLSLIPTAINAVSALAKHFG P85883 ( http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P85883.html)
AZ4 PLS-AZ4 (PS-12) -------LVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKRETEEEENDQEEDD-KSEE KR FLSLLPSIVSGAVSLAKKLG Q17UY9 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q17UY9.html)
AZ7 PLS-AZ7 (PS-15) ---LKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKRETEEKENEQ-EDD-KSEE KR LLSLVPHAINAVSAIAKHFG Q0VKG9 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q0VKG9.html)
B1 PLS-B1 (PBN1) MAFLKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKRETEEKEYDQGEDD-KSEE KR FLSLIPHIVSGVAALAKHLG P. bicolor Q800R3 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q800R3.html)
H2 PLS-H2 (PS-2) -AFLKKSLFLVLFLGLATLSIC EEEKRETEEEEYNQEEDD-KSEE KR FLSLIPHAINAVSTLVHHFG
P. hypochondrialis
P84567 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84567.html)
H5 PLS-H5 (PS-7) MAFLKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKRETEEEENEQEDDD-KSEE KR FLSLIPHAINAVSAIAKHFG P84572 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84572.html)
H6 PLS-H6 (PS-8) MAFLKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKRETEEEEYNQEDDD-KSEE KR FLSLIPTAINAVSALAKHFG Q0VZ41 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q0VZ41.html)
H7 PLS-H7 (PS-9) MAFLKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKRETEEEENDQEEDD-KSEE KR FLGLLPSIVSGAVSLVKKLG Q0VZ38 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q0VZ38.html)
H8 PLS-H8 (PS-10) MAFLKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKRETEEEENDQEEDD-KSEE KR FLSLLPSLVSGAVSLVKKLG Q0VZ39 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q0VZ39.html)
H9 PLS-H9 (PS-11) MAFLKKSLFLVLFLGLVSLSIC EEEKRETEEEENDQEEDD-KSEE KR FLSLLPSLVSGAVSLVKILG Q0VZ40 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q0VZ40.html)
Phylloxin B1 PLX-B1 MVFLKKSLLLVLFVGLVSLSIC EENKREEHE-EIE-ENK-EKAEE KR GWMSKIASGIGTFLSGMQQG P. bicolor P81565 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P81565.html)
S1 PLX-S1 MVFLKKSLLLVLFVGLVSLSIC EENKREEHE-EVE-ENA-EKAEE KR GWMSKIASGIGTFLSGVQQG P. sauvagii Q5DVA6 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q5DVA6.html)
Plasticin B1 PLC-B1 (PBN2) MAFLKKSLFLVLFLALVPLSIC EEKKSEEENEEK-Q-EDD-QSEE KR GLVTSLIKGAGKLLGGLFGSVTGGQS P. bicolor Q800R4 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q800R4.html )
S1 PLC-S1 (DS10) MAFLKKSLFLVLFLALVPLSIC EEEKREGENEKE-Q-EDDNQSEE KR GLVSDLLSTVTGLLGNLGGGGLKKI P. sauvagii Q1EN14 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q1EN14.html)
a
The peptides are named according to the nomenclature proposed by Amiche et al. (2008), the original nomenclature are in brackets
b
The prepropeptide comprises a signal peptide (normal font) followed by an acidic propiece (bold font) that ends in a typical prohormone processing signal -KR- (italic bold font) that precedes the single downstream copy of the antimicrobial peptide
progenitor sequence (italic font)
Antimicrobial peptides from Phyllomedusa frogs
123
1994b). Furthermore, biophysical investigations indicate
that the PM surface charge helps with the association of
cationic peptides, but does not affect the channel structures
themselves (Be
´ven et al. 1999; Bechinger 2004; Gregory
et al. 2008). Recent investigations by isothermal titration
calorimetry (ITC) and by fluorescence spectroscopy sup-
port that the addition of cholesterol to phosphatidylcholine
mimetic PMs lead to a decrease of dermaseptin membrane
interactions and the concomitant disruption of the lipid
bilayers (Verly et al. 2008). Other investigations through
atomic force microscopy (AFM) indicated that dermaseptin
is able to disrupt anionic PMs typical of bacteria (Silva
et al. 2008). Fluorescence spectroscopy studies with lipo-
somes and surface plasmonic resonance (SPR) analysis of
the interaction of dermaseptins with immobilized bilayers
demonstrated that the peptides preferentially bind to neg-
atively charged membranes (Verly et al. 2009). Theoretical
predictions and circular-dichroism (CD) studies indicated
that dermaseptin is highly propense to fold into a cationic
and amphipathic helix in hydrophobic medium, a structure
indicative of PM lysing potential (Mor and Nicolas 1994a,
b; Shalev et al. 2002; Lequin et al. 2003; Castiglione-
Morelli et al. 2005). According to Verly et al. (2009), the
unstabilization induced by the insertion of the peptide in
one bilayer of the PM propagates from one bilayer to the
next, triggering the loss of lipid order as a function of PM
thickness (Verly et al. 2009). This effect is most pro-
nounced on peptides that mismatch the bilayer thickness or
those oriented parallel to the membrane surface (Harzer
and Bechinger 2000).
The main advanced models for PM permeation by
amphipathic helical peptides are very different, e.g., a
canonical trans PM pore (barrel-stave); solubilization of
the PM by a detergent-like action (Bechinger 2005) based
on the amphipathic character of the AMPs and their mas-
sive accumulation into the PM (carpet model); and an
intermediate two-state model (worm-hole) (Matsuzaki
1998; Papo and Shai 2003; Huang et al. 2004; Bechinger
and Lohner 2006; Chan et al. 2006). The first two models
are limited experimentally, e.g., the prediction that the PM
permeation occurs at very low peptide:phospholipid ratio,
assuming that peptide–peptide interaction is stronger than
the peptide–phospholipid in the barrel-stave model, or the
need for the whole covering of the organism by the peptide
in the carpet model (Huang et al. 2004). The intermediate
worm-hole or two-state model proposed independently by
Matsuzaki and Huang (Matsuzaki 1998) tries to integrate
three experimental observations: (1) the change in orien-
tation undergone by a fraction of PM bound peptide once a
threshold is reached, (2) peptide-induced phospholipid flip-
flop, and (3) peptide translocation into the cytoplasm,
ignored by the carpet and barrel-stave model (Rivas et al.
2009).
In this model, the massive union of the AMPs into the
external monolayer of the PM leads to its expansion,
causing a mechanical stress. Once a threshold is reached, a
fraction of the peptides lying parallel to the plane of the
PM, change their orientation from parallel to transversal,
promoting a positive curvature of the PM and forming a
mixed phospholipid–peptide toroidal pore, where the
hydrophobic lining is provided both by the polar heads of
the phospholipids and the hydrophilic face of the peptides.
This pore also acts as catalyst in the phospholipid inter-
change between the two leaflets. This pore is transitory
and, when it disappears, stochastically sends it’s forming
monomers to either side of the PM (Rivas et al. 2009). This
more comprehensive model is a subtle tour de force
refinement over the detergent carpet-like model and sup-
ports the step-wise increase in conductivity observed for
several AMPs (Rivas et al. 2009).
Two other models are also proposed; a fourth mecha-
nism, the ‘‘aggregate model’’ (Chan et al. 2006), relaxes
the structural requirements intrinsic to the toroidal model,
mostly applicable to a-helical peptides, to accommodate
peptides not adopting this prototypical cylindrical shape
(Rivas et al. 2009) and a fifth model, the so called ‘‘Droste
mechanism’’ (Sengupta et al. 2008), indicating that the
toroidal lumen adopts a poor orientation and the hydro-
philic lining is mostly provided by the positive curvature of
the phospholipids, with a scarce role of the peptide, which
accumulates at the rim of the pore and stabilizes it (Rivas
et al. 2009).
Dermaseptin
The dermaseptin family comprises a large class of PM
damaging polycationic (K-rich) peptides with different
lengths (28–34 residues) and amino acid sequences that
undergo coil-to-helix transition upon binding to lipid bilay-
ers (Nicolas and El Amri 2009) found in the skin of Phyl-
lomedusa azurea,P. bicolor,P. burmeisteri,P. distincta,
P. hypochondrialis,P. oreades,P. rohdei,P. sauvagii,
P. tarsius,P. tomopterna, and P. trinitatis (see Table 2).
Generally, they all have conserved a W residue at position 3
usually preceded by AL- or GL-, an AG[A]K[Q]A[M]A
[V]L[G]G[N/K]A[F]V[A/L] consensus motif in the middle
or C-terminal region and positive charge due to the presence
of K residues that punctuate an alternating hydrophobic and
hydrophilic sequence (Table 4).
The first dermaseptin described was a 34-amino acid
antimicrobial peptide termed dermaseptin-S1 identified in
skin extract of P. sauvagii (Mor et al. 1991a). This peptide
has lytic activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative
bacteria, yeast, and protozoa, but does not damage mam-
malian cells. This was the first gene-encoded eukaryotic
peptide with lethal effect against filamentous fungi
L. A. Calderon et al.
123
responsible for opportunistic infections in immunodeficiency
syndrome or immunosuppressed individuals (Nicolas and El
Amri 2009). This was followed by the isolation of aden-
oregulin (also named dermaseptin-B2) from P. bicolor skin, a
peptide that interacts with the adenosine receptor (Daly et al.
1992), and dermaseptin-B1 (Mor et al. 1994a,c). These two
peptides were thought to be unrelated, but the cloning of their
precursor polypeptides revealed the existence of the canoni-
cal precursor (Amiche et al. 1993; Vouille et al. 1997). After
that, additional members of the dermaseptin family were
rapidly identified in various South American anuran species
(Lequin et al. 2006; Nicolas and El Amri 2009).
Dermaseptins and their analogs have lytic activity
in vitro against a broad spectrum of free-living microor-
ganism strains of the wall-less bacteria: Acholeplasma
laidlawii,Spiroplasma apis,S. citri,S. floricola, and
S. melliferum (Fleury et al. 1998); Gram-negative bacteria:
Aerornonas caviae (Mor and Nicolas 1994a,b; Strahilevitz
et al. 1994), Acholeplasma laidlawii (Fleury et al. 1998),
Acetobacter calcoaceticus (Brand et al. 2002), Escherichia
coli (Mor and Nicolas 1994a,b; Strahilevitz et al. 1994;
Fleury et al. 1998; Batista et al. 1999; Silva et al. 2000;
Brand et al. 2002; Conceic¸a
˜o et al. 2006; Brand et al.
2006b; Leite et al. 2008), Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Rydlo
et al. 2006; Zairi et al. 2009), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa
(Fleury et al. 1998; Batista et al. 1999; Silva et al. 2000;
Brand et al. 2002,2006b; Conceic¸a
˜o et al. 2006; Leite et al.
2008); Gram-positive bacteria: Corynebacterium glutami-
cum (Fleury et al. 1998), Enterococcus faecalis (Batista
et al. 1999; Silva et al. 2000), Micrococcus luteus (Con-
ceic¸a
˜o et al. 2006), Nocardia spp. (Leite et al. 2008),
Nocardia brasiliensis (Mor and Nicolas 1994a,b; Strahi-
levitz et al. 1994), Staphylococcus aureus (Strahilevitz
et al. 1994; Fleury et al. 1998; Batista et al. 1999; Silva
et al. 2000; Brand et al. 2002,2006b; Conceic¸a
˜o et al.,
2006; Leite et al. 2008), Streptococcus dysgalactiae (Leite
et al. 2008), and S. uberis (Leite et al. 2008); the fungi:
Aspergillus fumigatus (Mor and Nicolas 1994a,b), Arth-
roderma simii,Cryptococcus neofonnans (Strahilevitz et al.
1994; Mor and Nicolas 1994a,b), Candida albicans (Mor
and Nicolas 1994a,b; Strahilevitz et al. 1994; Leite et al.
2008; Zairi et al. 2008), C. tropicalis,C. guilliermondii
(Leite et al. 2008), Microsporum canis,Tricophyton
rubrum (Strahilevitz et al. 1994; Mor and Nicolas 1994a,
b); Protozoa: Leishmania major (promastigotes) (Feder
et al. 2000; Kustanovich et al. 2002; Gaidukov et al. 2003),
L. mexicana (promastigotes) (Hernandez et al. 1992; Mor
and Nicolas 1994b), L. amazonensis (epimastigotes and
promastigotes) (Brand et al. 2006b), L. chagasi (prom-
astigotes) (Zampa et al. 2009), Plasmodium falciparum
(trophozoites) (Ghosh et al. 1997; Krugliak et al. 2000;
Dagan et al. 2002), and Trypanosoma cruzi (trypomastig-
otes) (Brand et al. 2002); and Virus: HSV-1 (Belaid et al.
2002) and HIV-1 (Lorin et al. 2005; Zairi et al. 2009).
The wall-less bacteria, Mycoplasma gallisepticum and
M. mycoides, and Gram-negative bacteria, Salmonella
typhimurium, are resistant to dermaseptin B9 (DRG3) from
P. bicolor (Fleury et al. 1998).
Despite the sequence similarities, the dermaseptins dif-
fer in their action efficiency (Nicolas and El Amri 2009;
Rivas et al. 2009). But they present rapid and irreversible
antimicrobial effect and no toxic effects in mammalian
cells in vitro (Kustanovich et al. 2002; Navon-Venezia
et al. 2002). However, dermaseptin-S4 analogs had a potent
activity against human sperm (Zairi et al. 2009).
Some of the peptides from the dermaseptin superfamily
present other additional biological functions that have
unclear relations with pathogen clearance, e.g., dermasep-
tin B2 (adenoregulin): isolated by Daly et al. (1992)asa
peptide that stimulated the binding of agonists to A1
adenosine receptors and also enhanced the binding of
agonists to several G-protein coupled receptors in rat brain
PMs through a mechanism involving enhancement of
guanyl nucleotide exchange at G-proteins (Shin et al.
1994); dermaseptin-B4: stimulates insulin release by acute
incubation with glucose-responsive cells (Marenah et al.
2004); dermaseptin-S1: stimulates the production of reac-
tive oxygen species and release of myeloperoxidase by
polymorphonuclear leukocytes (Ammar et al. 1998).
Dermatoxin
Two dermatoxins were identified in the skin secretions of
Phyllomedusa bicolor,P. sauvagii,andP. tarsius. The primary
structures of dermatoxin are highly conserved exhibiting few
chemically conservative amino acid substitutions (Chen et al.
2005a). In contrast to dermaseptins, dermatoxins do not have W
in its composition, having instead a G residue at position 3, or an
R residue preceded by AL- or SL- and followed by a conserved
KGVG consensus sequence. From the middle of the C-terminus
region, a high conserved sequence AT[G/S]VGKV[M/I]VA
[S]DQFG[D]KLLQ[E]A is observed (Table 5).
Another interesting feature was the presence of the
C-terminal dipeptide -GQ on the P. bicolor dermatoxin-B1
(DRT-B1) (Amiche et al. 2000; Chen et al. 2005a). The
dermatoxin is structured as a preproprotein of the derm-
aseptin family of peptide precursors (Table 3) and char-
acterized by strongly conserved preproregions followed by
C-terminal sequence domain of precursors of the derm-
aseptin family (Amiche et al. 2000).
Dermatoxin presents a cationic amphipathic a-helical
conformation in low polarity media, which mimics the
lipophilicity of the PM of target microorganisms (Amiche
et al. 2000; Chen et al. 2005a). It is membranotropic and
antimicrobial with a sequence and cell killing mechanism
diverse from dermaseptin and phylloxin (Amiche et al.
Antimicrobial peptides from Phyllomedusa frogs
123
Table 4 Primary structures of dermaseptins from Phyllomedusa species
Species Dermaseptin Abbreviation Peptide Digital abstract
P. azurea AZ2 DRS-AZ2 (DMS2)
a
GLWSKIKDVAAAAGKAALGAVNEALGEQ P84937 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84937.html)
AZ3 DRS-AZ3 (DMS3)
a
GLWSTIKNVAAAAGKAALGALNH
2
b
Q17UY8 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q17UY8.html)
AZ4 DRS-AZ4 (DMS4)
a
GLWSTIKNVGKEAAIAAGKAALGALNH
2
Q1EJP4 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q1EJP4.html)
AZ5 DRS-AZ5 (DMS5)
a
GLWSTIKNVGKEAAIAAGKAVLGSLNH
2
Q1EJP5 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q1EJP5.html)
AZ6 DRS-AZ6 (DMS6)
a
GLWSTIKQKGKEAAIAAAKAAGQAALGAL P84936 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84936.html)
P. bicolor B1 DRS-B1 (B1) AMWKDVLKKIGTVALHAGKAALGAVADTISQ-NH
2
b
P80282 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P80282.html)
B2 DRS-B2 (B2) GLWSKIKEVGKEAAKAAAKAAGKAALGAVSEAV-NH
2
b
P31107 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P31107.html)
B3 DRS-B3 (B3) ALWKNMLKGIGKLAGQAALGAVKTLVGAE P81485 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P81485.html)
B4 DRS-B4 (B4) ALWKDILKNVGKAAGKAVLNTVTDMVNQ-NH
2
P81486 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P81486.html)
B5 DRS-B5 (B5) GLWNKIKEAASKAAGKAALGFVNEMV P81487 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P81487.html)
B6 DRS-B6 (B6) ALWKDILKNAGKAALNEINQLVNQ-NH
2
P81490 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P81490.html)
B7 DRS-B7 (DRG1) GLWSNIKTAGKEAAKAALKAAGKAALGAVTDAV-NH
2
b
Q90ZK3 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q90ZK3.html)
B8 DRS-B8 (DRG2) GLWSKIKEAGKAALTAAGKAALGAVSDAV-NH
2
b
Q90ZK5 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q90ZK5.html)
B9 DRS-B9 (DRG3) ALWKTIIKGAGKMIGSLAKNLLGSQAQPES P81488 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P81488.html)
P. burmeisteri BU1 DRS-BU1 (DS III-like) ALWKNMLKGIGKLAGKAALGAVKP86281 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P86281.html)
BU2 DRS-BU2 (DRS-DI4-like) ALWKNMLKGIGKLAGQAALGAVKTLVGA P86279 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P86279.html)
BU3 DRS-BU3 (DS VIII-like) ALWKTMLKKLGTVALHAGKAALGAAADTISQGA P86280 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P86280.html)
P. distincta DI1 DRS-DI1 (DD K) GLWSKIKAAGKEAAKAAAKAAGKAALNAVSEAV P83638 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P83638.html)
DI2 DRS-DI2 (DD L) ALWKTLLKNVGKAAGKAALNAVTDMVNQ P83639 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P83639.html)
DI3 DRS-DI3 (DD M) ALWKTMLKKLGTMALHAGKAAFGAAADTISQ P83640 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P83640.html)
DI4 DRS-DI4 (DD Q1) ALWKNMLKGIGKLAGQAALGAVKTLVGAES P83641 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P83641.html)
D15 DRS-DI5 (DD Q2) GLWSKIKEAAKTAGLMAMGFVNDMV P83642 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P83642.html)
P. hypochondrialis H1 DRS-H1 (DShypo 01)
a
GLWSTIKNVGKEAAIAAGKAALGAL-NH
2
P84596 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84596.html)
H2 DRS-H2 (DShypo 02)
a
GLWKSLLKNVGVAAGKAALNAVTDMVNQ P84597 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84597.html)
H3 DRS-H3 (DShypo 03)
a
ALWKDVLKKIGTVALHAGKAAFGAAADTISQGGS P84598 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84598.html)
H4 DRS-H4 (DShypo 04)
a
GLWSTIKQKGKEAAIAAAKAAGKAVLNAASEAL-NH
2
P84599 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84599.html)
H5 DRS-H5 (DShypo 05)
a
GLWSTIKQKGKEAAIAAAKAAGQAALGAL-NH
2
P84600 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84600.html)
H6 DRS-H6 (DShypo 06)
a
GLWSTIKQKGKEAAIAAAKAAGQAVLNSASEAL-NH
2
P84601 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84601.html)
H7 DRS-H7 (DShypo 07)
a
GLWSTIKQKGKEAAIAAAKAAGQAALNAASEAL-NH
2
P84880 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84880.html)
H8 DRS-H8 (DSN-2)
a
ALWKSLLKNVGVAAGKAALNAVTDMVNQ Q0VZ36 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q0VZ36.html)
P. oreades O1 DRS-O1 (DS01) GLWSTIKQKGKEAAIAAAKAAGQAALGAL-NH
2
P83637 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P83637.html)
P. sauvagii S1 DRS-S1 (DS I) ALWKTMLKKLGTMALHAGKAALGAAADTISQGTQ P24302 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P24302.html)
S2 DRS-S2 (DS II) ALWFTMLKKLGTMALHAGKAALGAAANTISQGTQ P80278 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P80278.html)
S3 DRS-S3 (DS III) ALWKNMLKGIGKLAGKAALGAVKKLVGAES P80279 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P80279.html)
S4 DRS-S4 (DS IV) ALWMTLLKKVLKAAAKALNAVLVGANA P80280 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P80280.html)
S5 DRS-S5 (DS V) GLWSKIKTAGKSVAKAAAKAAVKAVTNAV P80281 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P80281.html)
S6 DRS-S6 (DS VI) GLWSKIKTAGKEAAKAAAKAAGKAALNAVSEAI Q7T3K9 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q7T3K9.html)
S7 DRS-S7 (DS VII) GLWKSLLKNVGKAAGKAALNAVTDMVNQ Q7T3K8 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q7T3K8.html)
S8 DRS-S8 (DS VIII) ALWKTMLKKLGTVALHAGKAALGAAADTISQ Q7T3K7 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q7T3K7.html)
S9 DRS-S9 (S9) GLRSKIWLWVLLMIWQESNKFKKM Q1EN15 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q1EN15.html)
S11 DRS-S11 (S11) ALWKTLLKGAGKVFGHVAKQFLGSQGQPES Q1EN13 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q1EN13.html)
S12 DRS-S12 (S12) GLWSKIKEAAKTAGKMAMGFVNDMVGEQ Q1EN12 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q1EN12.html)
S13 DRS-S13 (S13) GLRSKIKEAAKTAGKMALGFVNDMAGEQ Q1EN11 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q1EN11.html)
L. A. Calderon et al.
123
2000). Observation of bacterial cells by reflected light
fluorescence microscopy after DNA-staining supports the
cell-killing mechanism based upon the alteration of PM
permeability rather than PM solubilization, possibly related
to ion-conducting channels through the PM (Amiche et al.
2000).
The antimicrobial activity spectrum of dermatoxin
includes stains of wall-less and Gram-positive bacteria, and
also, though to a lesser extent, Gram-negative bacteria. The
wall-less bacteria: Acholeplasma laidlawii,Spiroplasma
melliferum; Gram-negative bacteria: Sinorhizobium melil-
oti; and Gram-positive bacteria: Bacillus megaterium and
Corynebacterium glutamicum are susceptible to DRT-B1.
The Gram-negative bacteria: Burkholderia cepacia,Pseu-
domonas aeruginosa and Salmonella typhimurium; and
Gram-positive bacteria: Staphylococcus aureus are resis-
tant to DRT-B1 (Amiche et al. 2000). Amiche et al. (2000)
argue that the higher resistance against dermatoxin by
Gram-negative bacteria might be related to the presence of
a second PM in their envelope.
Distinctin
Distinctin, a prototypical member of a family of antimi-
crobial peptides, is a 5.4-kDa heterodimeric antimicrobial
peptide from Phyllomedusa distincta with two linear pep-
tide chains of 22 and 25 amino acid residues joined by a
single intermolecular disulfide bond (Fig. 2) (Batista et al.
2001). To date, only the peptide that shows sequence
similarity to the distinctin chain B was the distinctin-like
peptide (ppdis-H1) from P. azurea. They have in common
a high conserved N-terminal sequence NLVSG[A]-
LIEA[G]RKYL (Table 6). Heterodimeric structures joined
by a single intermolecular S–S bond were reported in
invertebrates’ neurotoxins inhibiting neurotransmitter
release, imperatoxin I, and L-bungarotoxins (Kwong et al.
1995). CD and FTIR studies indicate that this molecule
adopts, in aqueous solution, a structure with a significant
percentage of antiparallel b-sheet (Batista et al. 2001)
whereas the CD and FTIR spectroscopy experimental data
indicate that the distinctin heterodimer adopts helical
conformations with a lower b-sheet content in PM envi-
ronments (Serra et al. 2008). NMR experiments indicated
that the peptide helices are oriented almost parallel to the
PM surface, thereby reflecting the amphipathic distribution
of apolar and hydrophilic amino acid side chains (Bech-
inger 1999; Bechinger et al. 2001; Resende et al. 2008).
According to Serra et al. (2008), the experimental output
recorded so far for the distinctin mechanism of insertion
into PMs is compatible with a barrel-stave pore (Serra et al.
2008).
The antimicrobial activity spectrum of distinctin
includes strains of the Gram-negative bacteria: Acineto-
bacter baumannii,Escherichia coli,Klebsiella pneumo-
niae,Pseudomonas aeruginosa,Serratia marcescens, and
Stenotrophomonas maltophilia; and Gram-positive bacte-
ria: Enterococcus faecalis,E. faecium,Staphylococcus
aureus, and Streptococcus pneumoniae (Batista et al. 2001;
Giacometti et al. 2006; Serra et al. 2008).
Phylloseptin
Phylloseptins are AMPs of 19–21 residues (1.7–2.1 kDa)
found in the skin secretions of the Phyllomedusa azurea,
P. bicolor,P. burmeinsteri,P. hypochondrialis,P. oreades,
P. rohdei,P. tarsius, and P. tomopterna (see Table 2).
Their common structural features include a highly con-
served sequence FLSLI[L]P in the N-terminal region and
Table 4 continued
Species Dermaseptin Abbreviation Peptide Digital abstract
P. tarsius T1 DRS-T1 (DStar 01) GLWSKIKETGKEAAKAAGKAALNKIAEAV-NH
2
P84921 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84921.html)
T2 DRS-T2 (DStar 02) ALWKDILKNVGKAAGKAVLNTVTDMVNQ-NH
2
P84922 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84922.html)
T3 DRS-T3 (DStar 03) GLFKTLIKGAGKMLGHVAKQFLGSQGQPES P84923 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84923.html)
T4 DRS-T4 (DStar 04) ALWKDILKNAGKAALNEINQIVQ-NH
2
P84924 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84924.html)
T5 DRS-T5 (DStar 05) GLWSKIKEAAKTAGKAAMGFVNEMV-NH
2
P84925 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84925.html)
T6 DRS-T6 (DStar 06) ALWKNMLKGIGKLAGQAALGAVKTLVGA P84926 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84926.html)
T7 DRS-T7 (DStar 07) ALWKDVLKKIGTVALHAGKAALGAVADTISQ-NH
2
P84927 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84927.html)
The bold residues belong to the consensus motif. Names used are in accordance with the nomenclature proposed by Amiche et al. (2008). Abbreviations used before the new
nomenclature are in brackets
a
New names proposed for peptides isolated from P. azurea and P. hypochondrialis according to the nomenclature rules proposed by Amiche et al. (2008). Before P. azurea was
renamed by Caramaschi (2006) the species used to be named as P. hypochondrialis azurea (Calderon et al. 2009b)
b
The C-terminal amidation given is based on similarity and not on experimental findings
Antimicrobial peptides from Phyllomedusa frogs
123
C-terminal amidation (Leite et al. 2005) (see Table 7).
Phylloseptins exemplify that considerable differences in
biological activity may rely upon minor modifications of
the primary sequence of model compounds, even when
overall amino acid composition is kept constant (Wieprecht
et al. 1997). Phylloseptin peptides adopt a-helical confor-
mations in PM environments stabilized by electrostatic
interactions of the helix dipole and others, such as hydro-
phobic and capping interactions (Resende et al. 2008).
AFM experiments indicated that the bacteriolytic proper-
ties of these peptides might be related to their disruptive
action on the PM characterized by a number of bubble-like
formations, preceding every cell lysis (Leite et al. 2005).
The antimicrobial activity spectrum of phylloseptins
includes strains of the Gram-negative bacteria: Acineto-
bacter calcoaceticus,Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas
aeruginosa (Leite et al. 2005; Resende et al. 2008); Gram-
positive bacteria: Enterococcus faecalis,Klebsiella pen-
eumoniae,Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus
agalactiae; Fungi: Candida albicans (Resende et al. 2008);
and Protozoa: Leishmania amazonensis (promastigotes)
(Ku
¨ckelhaus et al. 2009), Plasmodium falciparum (rings,
trophozoites, and schizonts) (Ku
¨ckelhaus et al. 2009), and
Trypanosoma cruzi (trypomastigotes) (Leite et al. 2005).
Besides, this peptide exhibited negligible effects on
red blood cells (Leite et al. 2005) and some toxic effect
to mammalian cells only at very high concentrations
(Ku
¨ckelhaus et al. 2006,2009).
Phylloxin
Phylloxin is a family of cationic and amphipathic peptides
that have very similar N-terminal preprosequences fol-
lowed by marked C-terminal domains. Two phylloxins,
19 residues long from Phyllomedusa skin, were identified.
Phylloxin B1 from P. bicolor (PLX-B1) (Pierre et al. 2000;
Chen et al. 2005b) and phylloxin S1 from P. sauvagii
(PLX-S1) (Chen et al. 2005a) (Table 8). The primary
structures of the two phylloxins are extremely conserved,
exhibiting only one conservative amino acid substitution at
position 17, containing M or V for PLX-B1 and PLX-S1,
respectively.
Phylloxins are members of the family of prepro-
dermorphin/dermaseptins-derived peptides (see Table 3).
Despite the considerable similarity between the phylloxin
polypeptide precursor and the preprodermaseptin-B1
(Pierre et al. 2000), there is no homology between the
phylloxin and dermaseptins (Pierre et al. 2000), in spite of
some resemblance to the levitide-precursor fragment and
the xenopsin-precursor fragment, two AMPs isolated from
Xenopus laevis (Poulter et al. 1988; Fleury et al. 1996;
Pierre et al. 2000).
The preprophylloxin consists of a putative signal peptide
of 20–23 residues, a typical propeptide convertase pro-
cessing site (–KR–), an intervening acidic amino acid
residue-rich spacer peptide, a second typical processing site
and a terminal antimicrobial peptide-encoding domain (the
hypervariable domain) (Chen et al. 2005a).
Circular dichroism (CD) spectra of phylloxin in low
polarity medium, mimicking the lipophilicity of the PM of
target microorganisms, indicated 60–70% a-helical con-
formation, and predictions of secondary structure sug-
gested that the peptide can be configured as an amphipathic
helix spanning residues 1–19 (Pierre et al. 2000).
The antimicrobial activity spectrum of phylloxin
includes the strains of the wall-less bacteria: Acholeplasma
laidlawii and Spiroplasma melliferum; Gram-negative
bacteria: Escherichia coli; and Gram-positive bacteria:
Table 5 Primary structures of dermatoxins from Phyllomedusa species
Species Dermatoxin
a
Abbreviation
a
Sequence Digital abstract
P. bicolor B1 DRT-B1 SLGSFLKGVGTTLASVGKVVSDQFGKLLQAGQG Q9PT75 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q9PT75.html)
P. sauvagii S1 DRT-S1 ALGTLLKGVGSAVATVGKMVADQFGKLLQAGQG Q5DVA5 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q5DVA5.html)
P. tarsius T1 DRT-T1 (DStar 08) SLRGFLKGVGTALAGVGKVVADQFDKLLQAGQ-NH
2
P84928 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84928.html)
The bold residues are conserved
a
The peptides are named according to the nomenclature proposed by Amiche et al. (2008), the original nomenclature are in brackets
Table 6 Primary structures of distinctin and distinctin-like peptide from P. azurea
Species Name Sequence Digital abstract
P. distincta Distinctin Chain B NLVSGLIEARKYLEQLHRKLKNCKV
P. azurea Distinctin-like (ppdis-H1) NLVSALIEGRKYLKNVLKKLNRLKEKNKAKNSKENN Q17UZ0 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q17UZ0.html)
The bold residues are conserved
L. A. Calderon et al.
123
Micrococcus luteus. The Gram-negative bacteria: Pseudo-
monas aeruginosa,Rhizobium meliloti, and Salmonella
typhimuriu; and Gram-positive bacteria: Corynebacterium
glutamicum and Staphylococcus aureus show resistance to
phylloxin B1 (Pierre et al. 2000).
Plasticin
Plasticins are 23 long-residue GL-rich dermaseptin-related
peptides with very similar amino acid sequences, hydro-
phobicities, and amphipathicities, but differ in their PM
damaging properties and structuration (i.e., destabilized helix
states, b-hairpin, b-sheet, and disordered states) at anionic and
zwitterionic PM interfaces (El Amri et al. 2006). To date, two
plasticins were described in Phyllomedusa secretions
(Table 9): the cationic peptide plasticin-B1 (PTC-B1) from
P. bicolor, which was previously described with the name
PBN2 (Vanhoye et al. 2004), and plasticin-S1 (PTC-S1) from
P. sauvagii, which was previously described as dermaseptin-
S10 (Amiche et al. 2008).
Structural malleability of plasticins in aqueous solutions
and parameters governing their ability to fold within
b-hairpin-like structures were analyzed through CD and FTIR
spectroscopic studies completed by molecular dynamics
simulations in polar mimetic media (El Amri et al. 2006).
All plasticins present a turn region that does not always
result in folding into a b-hairpin-shaped conformation. Res-
idue at position 8 plays a major role in initiating the folding,
while position 12 is not critical (Bruston et al. 2007). Con-
formational stability has no major impact on antimicrobial
efficacy (Bruston et al. 2007). However, preformed b-hairpin
in solution may act as a conformational lock that prevents the
switch to a-helical structure (Bruston et al. 2007). This lock
lowers the antimicrobial efficiency and explains subtle dif-
ferences in potencies of the most active antimicrobial plas-
ticins (Bruston et al. 2007).
Fig. 2 Primary structure of distinctin from P. distincta
Table 7 Primary structures of phylloseptins from Phyllomedusa species
Species Phylloseptin
a
Abbreviation
a
Peptide Digital abstract
P. azurea AZ1 PLS-AZ1 (PS-2) FLSLIPHAINAVSTLVHHF-NH
2
P85881 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P85881.html)
AZ2 PLS-AZ2 (PS-7) FLSLIPHAINAVSAIAKHF-NH
2
P85882 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P85882.html)
AZ3 PLS-AZ3 (PS-8) FLSLLPTAINAVSALAKHF-NH
2
P85883 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P85883.html)
AZ4 PLS-AZ4 (PS-12) FLSLLPSIVSGAVSLAKKL-NH
2
Q17UY9 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q17UY9.html)
AZ5 PLS-AZ5 (PS-13) FLSLIPHAINAVGVHAKHF-NH
2
P84938 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84938.html)
AZ6 PLS-AZ6 (PS-14) FLSLIPAAISAVSALADHF-NH
2
P84939 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84939.html)
AZ7 PLS-AZ7 (PS-15) LLSLVPHAINAVSAIAKHF-NH
2
Q0VKG9 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q0VKG9.html)
P. bicolor B1 PLS-B1 (PBN-1) FLSLIPHIVSGVAALAKHL-NH
2
Q800R3 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q800R3.html)
P. burmeisteri BU1 PLS-BU1 (Bu-1) FLISIPYSASIGGTATLTGTA-NH
2
P86282 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P86282.html)
BU2 PLS-BU2 (Bu-2) FLLSLPHLASGLASLVLSK-NH
2
P86283 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P86283.html)
P. hypochondrialis H1 PLS-H1 (PS-1) FLSLIPHAINAVSAIAKHN-NH
2
P84566 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84566.html)
H2 PLS-H2 (PS-2) FLSLIPHAINAVSTLVHHF-NH
2
P84567 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84567.html)
H3 PLS-H3 (PS-3) FLSLIPHAINAVSALANHG-NH
2
P84568 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84568.html)
H4 PLS-H4 (PS-6) --SLIPHAINAVSAIAKHF-NH
2
P84571 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84571.html)
H5 PLS-H5 (PS-7) FLSLIPHAINAVSAIAKHF-NH
2
P84572 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84572.html)
H6 PLS-H5 (PS-8) FLSLLPTAINAVSALAKHF-NH
2
Q0VZ41 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q0VZ41.html)
H7 PLS-H6 (PS-9) FLGLLPSIVSGAVSLVKKLG-NH
2
Q0VZ38 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q0VZ38.html)
H8 PLS-H7 (PS-10) FLSLLPSLVSGAVSLVKKL-NH
2
Q0VZ39 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q0VZ39.html)
H9 PLS-H8 (PS-11) FLSLLPSLVSGAVSLVKIL-NH
2
Q0VZ40 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q0VZ40.html)
P. oreades O1 PLS-O1 (PS-4) FLSLIPHAINAVSTLVHHSG-NH
2
P84569 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84569.html)
O2 PLS-O2 (PS-5) FLSLIPHAINAVSAIAKHS-NH
2
P84570 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84570.html)
P. tarsius T1 PLS-T1 (PStar 01) FLSLIPKIAGGIASLVKNL-NH
2
P84929 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84929.html)
T2 PLS-T2 (PStar 02) FLSLIPHIATGIAALAKHL-NH
2
P84930 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84930.html)
T3 PLS-T3 (PStar 03) FFSMIPKIATGIASLVKNL-NH
2
P84931 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P84931.html)
P. tomopterna TO1 PLS-TO1 (PS-8) FLSLIPHAINAVSALAKHF-NH
2
P85447 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P85447.html)
The bold residues are conserved
a
The peptides are named according to the nomenclature proposed by Amiche et al. (2008), the original nomenclature are in brackets
Antimicrobial peptides from Phyllomedusa frogs
123
The antimicrobial activity spectrum of PTC-B1 includes
strains of Gram-negative bacteria: Clostridium perfringens,
Escherichia coli,Enterobacter cloacae,Klebsiella pneu-
moniae,Listeria monocytogenes,Neisseria meningitidis,
Pseudomonas aeruginosa,Salmonella enteritidis, and
Vibrio cholerae; Gram-positive bacteria: Bacillus megate-
rium,Salmonella typhimurium,Staphylococcus aureus,
Staphylococcus haemolyticus, and Streptococcus pneumo-
niae; and Fungi: Candida albicans and Saccaromyces
cerevisiae (Vanhoye et al. 2004). Haemolysis was not
detected (Vanhoye et al. 2004). The Gram-positive bacteria
Burkholderia cepacia is resistant to PTC-B1 (Vanhoye
et al. 2004). Without C-terminus amidation of PTC-B1,
antimicrobial activity ceases, except for Staphylococcus
aureus and S. haemolyticus that are more affected by PTC-
B1 40-48 folds than the PTC-B1 amide. Hemolytic activity
was recorded (Vanhoye et al. 2004), supporting data from
Matsuzaki (2009) in that the reduction of the peptide
positive net charge reduces its antimicrobial activity.
Skin polypeptide YY
Related peptides that belong to the Neuro Peptide Y (NPY)
family (36 residues length) which also include peptide YY
(PYY), the tetrapod pancreatic polypeptide (PP), and the fish
pancreatic peptide Y (PY) have been found in various verte-
brate groups (Lazarus and Attila 1993;Cerda
´-Reverter and
Larhammar 2000). These peptides integrate a variety of
important regulatory functions, e.g., sympathetic vascular
control, central regulation of endocrine and autonomic func-
tion, food intake, circadian rhythm, histamine release from
isolated mast cells, and increase of intracellular Ca
2?
in many
cell types (Yasuhara et al. 1981).
In Phyllomedusa, the only peptide pharmacologically
and structurally related to NPY described was the skin
polypeptide YY (SPYY) (Mor et al. 1994a). SPYY was
purified from acetic extracts of Phyllomedusa bicolor skin
(Mor et al. 1994b), exhibiting 94% of similarity with PYY
from the frog Rana ridibunda (Conlon et al. 1992) and 86%
of similarity with human PYY (Kohri et al. 1993)
(Table 10). The primary structures of the two frog NPYs
are highly conserved presenting only two amino acid
substitutions (positions 7 and 18) (Table 10).
Besides the NPY–RP primary structures similarity, other
common features are the C-terminal amidation and the
tertiary structure, known as the PP-fold (Erspamer et al.
1962). The PP-fold consists of two antiparallel helices: an
N-terminal polyproline helix spanning residues 1–14 and
a long amphipathic C-terminal a-helix.
As other peptide hormones of the amphipathic helix
class with PM disordering or disruptive properties, such as
glucagon (Jones et al. 1978), SPYY also shows PM lysing
activity against pathogenic microbes. SPYY shows antibi-
otic activity against strains of Gram-negative bacteria:
Aerornonas caviae and Escherichia coli; Gram-positive
bacteria: Enterococcus faecalis and Nocardia brasiliensis;
Fungi: Arthroderma simii,Aspergillus fumigatus,A. niger,
Microsporum canis, and Tricophyton rubrum; and Proto-
zoa: Leishmania major promastigotes. Reversibility of
inhibition was not reported for any strain (Vouldoukis et al.
1996).
Therapeutic peptide antibiotics
One of the greatest accomplishments of modern medicine
was the development of antibiotic therapies for potentially
fatal infections by multidrug-resistant pathogenic micro-
organisms. Unfortunately, in the past two decades, the
discovery and development of novel antibiotics decreased
while pathogen resistance to those currently available
increased (Li et al. 2006).
Table 8 Primary structures of phylloxins from Phyllomedusa species
Species Phylloxin Abbreviation Sequence Digital abstract
P. bicolor B1 PLX-B1 GWMSKIASGIGTFLSGMQQ-NH
2
P81565 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P81565.html)
P. sauvagii S1 PLX-S1 GWMSKIASGIGTFLSGVQQ Q5DVA6 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q5DVA6.html)
The bold residues are conserved
Table 9 Primary structures of plasticins from Phyllomedusa species
Species Plasticin
a
Abbreviation
a
Sequence Digital abstract
P. bicolor B1 PTC-B1 (PBN2) GLVTSLIKGAGKLLGGLFGSVTG-NH
2
Q800R4 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q800R4.html)
P. sauvagii S1 PTC-S1 (DS 10) GLVSDLLSTVTGLLGNLGGGGLKKI Q1EN14 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/Q1EN14.html)
The bold residues are conserved
a
The peptides are named according to the nomenclature proposed by Amiche et al. (2008), the original nomenclature are in brackets
L. A. Calderon et al.
123
The emergence and rapid spread of extremely multire-
sistant pathogenic microorganisms, the increased use of
immunosuppressive therapies, and the association with
HIV co-infection present a serious public health problem
with worrisome mortality and morbidity rates (e.g., Cryp-
tococcus,Cryptosporidium, and Leishmania) (Abu-Raddad
et al. 2006; Pukkila-Worley and Mylonakis 2008; Rivas
et al. 2009; Vaara 2009). Limited therapeutic options
against these pathogens stimulated the prospection of new
bioactive molecules from the biodiversity as a source for
more efficient (low toxicity and major potency) mecha-
nisms of microorganism killing (Calderon et al. 2009a;
Vaara 2009). This information is important to subsidize the
development of new chemicals with structural character-
istics for large-scale production by the pharmaceutical
industry at a feasible cost. The sources from the biodi-
versity, such as the skin of several frogs’ species, e.g., as
Phyllomedusa and other vertebrate and invertebrate ani-
mals, plants, and microorganisms, have proved to be an
inexorable source of antimicrobial molecules, with a broad
spectra of activity (Calderon et al. 2009a), in which the
AMPs have highlights in their potential therapeutical
application (Hancock 1997; Hancock and Lehrer 1998;
Koczulla and Bals 2003; Gomes et al. 2007). During the
last 40 years of antimicrobial peptides research, lots of
information were generated, with insights about key issues
of the peptide antimicrobial potency and selectivity,
allowing the development of synthetic rational designed
peptides with improved antimicrobial activity (Andra
¨et al.
2007) and less toxicity to mammalian cells (Hawrami et al.
2008) by the application of site-directed mutation, combi-
natorial chemistry, and chemical synthesis techniques
(Hilpert et al. 2006; Edwards 2007; Andra
¨et al. 2007). In
order to develop new peptide antibiotics, synthetic changed
peptides were designed including: improvement of positive
charge, decreasing-induced resistance in bacteria (Zasloff
2002; Andreu and Rivas 1998; Hancock and Lehrer 1998;
van’t et al. 2001; Moellering 2003; Yeaman and Yount
2003); lower molecular mass by reduced number of amino
acid residues (Hancock 1997; Boman 2003; Perron et al.
2006; Peschel and Sahl 2006; Bisht et al. 2007; Haug et al.
2007); and insertion of unnatural amino acids (Edwards
2007). All peptide modifications might offer significant
advantages over native AMPs as therapeutical agents
(Rotem and Mor 2009).
According to Marr et al. (2006), therapeutic peptide
antibiotics will have advantages over conventional antibi-
otics due their diverse potential applications, such as single
antimicrobials, in combination with other antibiotics for a
synergistic effect, or as immunomodulatory and/or endo-
toxin-neutralizing compounds (Zasloff 2002). In particular,
the most potent agents have unusually broad spectra of
activity against most Gram-negative and Gram-positive
bacteria, and also to fungi and even a variety of viruses.
Although the potency of these AMPs against the more
susceptible pathogens is generally less than certain con-
ventional antibiotics, one of their advantages is their
ability to kill multidrug-resistant bacteria at similar con-
centrations (Marr et al. 2006). Compared with conventional
antibiotics, these bacteria-killing peptides are extremely
rapid and attack multiple bacterial cellular targets (Brogden
2005).
Despite their obligatory interaction with the PM, some
peptides are able to perforate PMs at their minimal inhi-
bition concentration (MIC), a number of peptides translo-
cate across the PM and affect cytoplasmic processes,
including inhibition of macromolecular synthesis, particu-
lar enzymes or cell division, or the stimulation of autolysis
(Marr et al. 2006). Minimal inhibitory concentrations and
minimal bactericidal concentrations often coincide (less
than a two-fold difference), indicating that killing is gen-
erally bactericidal, a highly desirable mode of action (Marr
et al. 2006). Furthermore, peptides are not hindered by the
resistance mechanisms that occur with currently used
antibiotics (Zhang et al. 2005). Indeed, killing can occur
synergistically with other peptides and conventional anti-
biotics, helping overcome some barriers that resistant
bacteria have against currently used antibiotics (Marr et al.
2006).
Nanobiotechnological application of Phyllomedusa
AMPs
In recent years, significant efforts were devoted to the
development of nanotechnological tools capable of
Table 10 Primary structures of polypeptide YY from Phyllomedusa bicolor,Rana ridibunda, and human
Species Name Sequence Digital abstract
P. bicolor Skin polypeptide YY (SPYY) YPPKPESPGEDASPEEMNKYLTALRHYINLVTRQRY-NH
2
a
P80952 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P80952.html)
R. ridibunda Peptide YY-like (PYY) YPPKPENPGEDASPEEMTKYLTALRHYINLVTRQRY-NH
2
P29204 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P29204.html)
H. sapiens Peptide YY (PYY) YPIKPEAPGEDASPEELNRYYASLRHYLNLVTRQRY-NH
2
P10082 (http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P10082.html)
The bold residues are conserved
a
The C-terminal amidation given is based on similarity and not on experimental findings
Antimicrobial peptides from Phyllomedusa frogs
123
enhancing the assembly and immobilization of biomole-
cules in a synergistic way in biomedical devices (Huguenin
et al. 2005; Siqueira et al. 2006; Zucolotto et al. 2006;
Zampa et al. 2007; Zucolotto et al. 2007). Nanotechnology
focuses on formulating therapeutic agents in biocompatible
nanocomposites, such as nanoparticles, nanocapsules,
micellar systems, and conjugates. As these systems are
often polymeric and submicron sized, they have multifac-
eted advantages in drug delivery.
The structural and physico-chemical properties of the
AMPs, such as the presence of a a-helix structure and
distribution of positive charges along the chain, allowed
their use as active material in the development of bio-
nanostructures with potential application on therapeutics
by the pharmaceutical industry and diagnosis (Zampa et al.
2009). These structures include cationic nanoparticles,
formed by the conjugation of cholesterol and AMPs, able
to cross the blood–brain barrier for treatment of fatal
Cryptococcal meningitis in patients with late-stage HIV
infection (Wang et al. 2010); nanostructured thin films with
immobilized AMPs as an agent intended to combat and
prevent infection and formation of Staphylococcus biofilm
(slimelike communities) related implant failure (Shukla
et al. 2009); or as sensor elements for detection of Leish-
mania cells using cyclic voltammetry (Zampa et al. 2009).
The use of the AMPs through nanotechnological inno-
vation approach could provide an entirely novel way to
treat and prevent infection and new systems for the
detection and identification of infectious parasites.
Final considerations
The Phyllomedusa skin is an abundant source of peptides
that show a broad spectrum of activities, including anti-
microbial, neuroactive, and smooth muscle activity. From
the first Phyllomedusa peptide isolated and characterized to
date, more than 200 peptides from Phyllomedusa species
have had their primary structure characterized, and several
of them had its biological activities evaluated, mainly in
the last 10 years. Until then, many efforts have been car-
ried out in order to use the AMPs in the development of
new infection-fighting drugs applicable to new treatments
of nosocomial infections and multidrug-resistant infections
(Amiche et al. 2000), due to the skill of the AMPs
to kill drug resistant strains of Gram-positive bacteria,
Gram-negative bacteria, yeast, protozoa, and viruses, by
a mechanism unlikely to induce antibiotic-resistance.
The development of new antimicrobials based on AMPs
hold promises to medicine at the end of the classical
antibiotic age by the emergence of the multidrug-resistant
microorganisms.
Even with the expected advantages in the use of AMPs
as antibiotics, several impediments to therapeutic peptides
arise. According to Marr et al. (2006), the main problems at
the present moment are the cost of manufacturing peptides,
which is economically unfeasible for the amounts of AMPs
needed compared to other antibiotics, preventing the
widespread clinical use of AMPs as a common antibiotic,
and the shortage of studies thoroughly examining systemic
peptide pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic issues,
including peptide aggregation problems, the in vivo half-
life of peptides (and particularly their susceptibility to
mammalian proteases), and the required dosing frequency.
Due to the specific characteristics of the AMPs, that
differentiate them from other antibiotics, the development
of new strategies for the therapeutic use of AMPs in
medicine are necessary in order to reduce the amount of
AMPs necessary to promote the therapeutic infection
suppression effect, including the addition of striking
affinity to specific targets, efficiency at very low concen-
trations and negligible toxicity. In this way, nanotechnol-
ogy has become an efficient and viable alternative to
promote the therapeutic application of AMPs. Nanotech-
nology could provide new ways to use lower amounts of
AMPs with extreme efficiency in the infection suppression,
by improving the cell, tissue, or organ’s specific biodis-
tribution and increasing AMP potency by the association
with nanotechnological structures. It is expected that in the
forthcoming years nanotechnology will promote the
emergence of new products for control and prevention of
multidrug-resistance microbe infection arising from the
identification and analysis of AMPs from South American
frog biodiversity.
Acknowledgments The authors are grateful to the Ministry of
Science and Technology (MCT), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvi-
mento Cientı
´fico e Tecnolo
´gico (CNPq), Financiadora de Estudos e
Projetos (FINEP), Fundac¸a
˜o de Tecnologia do Acre (FUNTAC/
FDCT), Coordenac¸a
˜o de Aperfeic¸oamento de Nı
´vel Superior
(CAPES) – Projeto NanoBiotec, Secretary of Development of the
Rondonia State (PRONEX/CNPq) for financial support and Priscila
Cerviglieri for linguistic advice.
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Antimicrobial peptides from Phyllomedusa frogs
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... Considering the wide array of bioactive peptides present in their skin, Phyllomedusinae frogs have contributed to the study of skin peptides with potential biological actions, such as antimicrobial, antinociceptive, hormonal and neural activities [23,24]. The skin secretion of animals from the genus Phyllomedusa contains several bioactive peptides, including dermorphins, phylloseptins, dermaseptins, medusins and phyllokinins, and more than 20 different peptides have already been Data were collected during 60-sec rota-rod sessions the day before drug tests (pre-exposure) and at minutes 0, 30, 60 and 90 after treatments. ...
... In the present study, however, P. rohdei extract did not affect baseline locomotor activity and, contrary to that observed with the skin extract from other species from the Phyllomedusinae subfamily, SEPr had antinociceptive activity in all pain models evaluated in our study. Considering the wide array of bioactive peptides present in their skin, Phyllomedusinae frogs have contributed to the study of skin peptides with potential biological actions, such as antimicrobial, antinociceptive, hormonal and neural activities [23,24]. The skin secretion of animals from the genus Phyllomedusa contains several bioactive peptides, including dermorphins, phylloseptins, dermaseptins, medusins and phyllokinins, and more than 20 different peptides have already been described in the skin secretion of the P. rohdei species [23]. ...
... Considering the wide array of bioactive peptides present in their skin, Phyllomedusinae frogs have contributed to the study of skin peptides with potential biological actions, such as antimicrobial, antinociceptive, hormonal and neural activities [23,24]. The skin secretion of animals from the genus Phyllomedusa contains several bioactive peptides, including dermorphins, phylloseptins, dermaseptins, medusins and phyllokinins, and more than 20 different peptides have already been described in the skin secretion of the P. rohdei species [23]. Thus, the analgesic effects of P. rohdei could be mediated by opioidergic activity from the peptides present in the animals' skin, and some of the peptides isolated from amphibians seem to exert their effects through interaction with opioid receptors [23]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Pain is a distressful experience that can have a major impact on an individual’s quality of life. The need for new and better analgesics has been further intensified in light of the current opioid epidemic. Substances obtained from amphibians have been shown to contain bioactive peptides that exert analgesic effects. The genus Phyllomedusa represents an important source of peptides and bioactive components. The aim of this study was to investigate the antinociceptive effects of the skin secretion of Phyllomedusa rohdei in rodent models of pain. The crude skin extract of P. rohdei was tested in different pain models: acetic acid-induced writhing test (mice), formalin test (rats), Von Frey electronic test for hypernociception induced by PGE2 (rats), and hot plate test (mice). Motor-impairing effects were tested using the rota-rod test. The results showed that the skin extract of P. rohdei exerted antinociceptive effects in all pain models tested. Particularly, the highest dose tested of the skin extract decreased acetic acid-induced writhing by 93%, completely blocked formalin-induced nociception both during the acute and inflammatory phases of the test, PGE2-induced hypernociception by 73% and increased latency to paw withdrawal in the hot plate test by 300%. The effects observed in the hot plate test were reversed by pretreatment with selective µ and κ, but not δ, opioid receptor antagonists, indicating a mechanism of action dependent on µ and κ opioid receptors. The results were not influenced by sedative effects. Further studies remain necessary to reveal the specific compounds involved in the antinociceptive effects of P. rohdei skin extract as a new therapeutic tool in pain management.
... Considering the wide array of bioactive peptides present in their skin, Phyllomedusinae frogs have contributed to the study of skin peptides with potential biological actions, such as antimicrobial, antinociceptive, hormonal and neural activities [23,24]. The skin secretion of animals from the genus Phyllomedusa contains several bioactive peptides, including dermorphins, phylloseptins, dermaseptins, medusins and phyllokinins, and more than 20 different peptides have already been Data were collected during 60-sec rota-rod sessions the day before drug tests (pre-exposure) and at minutes 0, 30, 60 and 90 after treatments. ...
... In the present study, however, P. rohdei extract did not affect baseline locomotor activity and, contrary to that observed with the skin extract from other species from the Phyllomedusinae subfamily, SEPr had antinociceptive activity in all pain models evaluated in our study. Considering the wide array of bioactive peptides present in their skin, Phyllomedusinae frogs have contributed to the study of skin peptides with potential biological actions, such as antimicrobial, antinociceptive, hormonal and neural activities [23,24]. The skin secretion of animals from the genus Phyllomedusa contains several bioactive peptides, including dermorphins, phylloseptins, dermaseptins, medusins and phyllokinins, and more than 20 different peptides have already been described in the skin secretion of the P. rohdei species [23]. ...
... Considering the wide array of bioactive peptides present in their skin, Phyllomedusinae frogs have contributed to the study of skin peptides with potential biological actions, such as antimicrobial, antinociceptive, hormonal and neural activities [23,24]. The skin secretion of animals from the genus Phyllomedusa contains several bioactive peptides, including dermorphins, phylloseptins, dermaseptins, medusins and phyllokinins, and more than 20 different peptides have already been described in the skin secretion of the P. rohdei species [23]. Thus, the analgesic effects of P. rohdei could be mediated by opioidergic activity from the peptides present in the animals' skin, and some of the peptides isolated from amphibians seem to exert their effects through interaction with opioid receptors [23]. ...