Characterization of antimicrobial peptides in skin secretions from discrete populations of Lithobates chiricahuensis (Ranidae) from central and southern Arizona

J. Michael Conlon, Milena Mechkarska, Laurent Coquet, Thierry Jouenne, Jérôme Leprince, Hubert Vaudry, Jolanta Kolodziejek, Norbert Nowotny, Jay D. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


Populations of the Chiricahua leopard frog Lithobates chiricahuensis (Ranidae) occupying regions in southern Arizona (southern range) are morphologically distinct from those from the Mogollon Rim of central Arizona (northern range) and a comparison of DNA sequences of mitochondrial genes has suggested that they may represent separate species. Peptidomic analysis of norepinephrine-stimulated skin secretions has led to the identification of six peptides with antimicrobial activity in samples from specimens from both groups. The primary structure of the peptides (esculentin-2CHa, ranatuerin-2CHa, -CHb, and -CHc, and brevinin-1CHa and -CHb) isolated from both southern and northern range frogs are identical consistent with the proposal that the two populations are conspecific. However, palustrin-2CHa and the atypical brevinin-1CHc (FFPTIAG*****LTKLFCA ITKKC), containing a five amino acid residue deletion, were identified only in secretions from southern range specimens. Consequently, there is some support for the proposal that the two populations are closely related but separate species but this support is relatively weak. Esculentin-2CHa (GFSSIFRGVAKFASKGLG KDLAKLGVDLVACKISKQC) displayed the highest antimicrobial potency (MIC ≤ 10 μM) against a variety of microorganisms and was only moderately hemolytic (LC50 = 150 μM). Cladistic analysis based upon the primary structures of brevinin-1 peptides indicates a close phylogenetic relationship between L. chiricahuensis, L. onca, and L. yavapaiensis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)664-669
Number of pages6
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011



  • Antimicrobial peptide
  • Brevinin-1
  • Esculentin-2
  • Frog skin
  • Palustrin-2
  • Ranatuerin-2
  • Taxonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Physiology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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