Study unravels mystery of antimicrobial frog secretions

ScienceDaily | 4/23/2019 | Staff
urbanpatrioturbanpatriot (Posted by) Level 4
Their findings were published on February 20, 2019 in ACS Applied Bio Materials.

The Bombina variegata frog, also known as Yellow Bellied Toad, inhabits the forests, grasslands, wetland, and aquatic habitats across Central Europe. Their skin secretions contain antimicrobial agents -- called Bominin H2 and H4 -- that play a key role in protecting the species against infection.

Bombinin - H2 - H4 - Peptides - AMPs

Bombinin H2 and H4 are antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) -- or host defense peptides -- that play an important function in immune response. They have attracted attention for their ability to inhibit Leishmaniasis -- a highly infectious and potentially fatal tropical disease that has affected an estimated 20 million people worldwide, with 1.3 million new cases and 20,000 to 30,000 deaths reported each year.

H4 is an isomer of H2 -- they share the same formula but the atoms in the molecule are arranged differently -- with H4 having a naturally occuring D-amino acid at the end of the molecular chain. In terms of its antimicrobial properties, H4 is more potent than H2, but until now, the reason has remained an unsolved biological mystery.

Acids - Images - Acids - Nature - L

"D- and L-amino acids are mirror images of each other, and most amino acids in nature have L structure," explains Ryuji Kawano, Associate Professor in the Department of Biotechnology and Life Science at TUAT and co-author of the study. "A few proteins are modified to have D-amino acids. The role of having D-amino acids is not fully understood in case of the frog."

In order to gain a better understanding of the molecular mechanism that drives the antimicrobial activity of Bombinin H2 and H4 peptides and what makes H4 more effective than H2 in this regard, the authors conducted electrophysiological experiments on a lipid bilayer membrane that replicated the lipid membrane surrounding cells or microorganisms The...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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