The Cascades frog Rana cascadae belongs to the Amerana (or Rana boylii) group that includes six additional species from western North America (R. aurora, R. boylii, R. draytonii, R. luteiventris, R. muscosa, and R. pretiosa). R. cascadae is particularly susceptible to pathogenic microorganisms in the environment and populations have declined precipitously in parts of its range so that the protection afforded by dermal antimicrobial peptides may be crucial to survival of the species. Peptidomic analysis of norepinephrine-stimulated skin secretions led to the identification of six peptides with differential cytolytic activities that were present in high abundance. Structural characterization showed that they belonged to the ranatuerin-2 (one peptide), brevinin-1 (one peptide), and temporin (four peptides) families. Ranatuerin-2CSa (GILSSFKGVAKGVAKDLAGKLLETLKCKITGC) and brevinin-1CSa (FLPILAGLAAKIVPKLFCLATKKC) showed broad spectrum antibacterial activity (MIC ≤ 32 μM against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus) but only brevinin-1CSa was strongly hemolytic against human erythrocytes (LC50 = 5 μM). The taxonomy of ranid frogs is currently in a considerable state of flux. The ranatuerin-2 gene is expressed in all members of the Amerana group studied to-date and cladistic analysis based upon a comparison of the amino acid sequences of this peptide indicates that R. cascadae, R. muscosa and R. aurora form a clade that is distinct from one containing R. draytonii, R. boylii, and R. luteiventris. This conclusion is consistent with previous analyses based upon comparisons of the nucleotide sequences of mitochondrial genes.
- Frog skin
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience