Peptidomic analysis of norepinephrine-stimulated skin secretions of the Orinoco lime tree frog Sphaenorhynchus lacteus (Hylidae, Hylinae) revealed the presence of three structurally related host-defense peptides with limited sequence similarity to frenatin 2 from Litoria infrafrenata (Hylidae, Pelodryadinae) and frenatin 2D from Discoglossus sardus (Alytidae). Frenatin 2.1S (GLVGTLLGHIGKAILG.NH2) and frenatin 2.2S (GLVGTLLGHIGKAILS.NH2) are C-terminally α-amidated but frenatin 2.3S (GLVGTLLGHIGKAILG) is not. Frenatin 2.1S and 2.2S show potent bactericidal activity against clinical isolates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Staphylococcus epidermidis (MIC ≤16 μM) but are less active against a range of Gram-negative bacteria. Frenatin 2.1S (LC50 = 80 ± 6 μM) and 2.2S (LC50 = 75 ± 5 μM) are cytotoxic against non-small cell lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells but are less hemolytic against human erythrocytes (LC50 = 167 ± 8 μM for frenatin 2.1S and 169 ± 7 μM for 2.2S). Weak antimicrobial and cytotoxic potencies of frenatin 2.3S demonstrate the importance of C-terminal α-amidation for activity. Frenatin 2.1S and 2.2S significantly (P <0.05) increased production of proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-23 by lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated mouse peritoneal macrophages and frenatin 2.1S also enhanced production of TNF-α. Effects on IL-6 production were not significant. Frenatin 2.2S significantly downregulated production of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 by LPS-stimulated cells. The data support speculation that frenatins act on skin macrophages to produce a cytokine-mediated stimulation of the adaptive immune system in response to invasion by microorganisms. They may represent a template for the design of peptides with therapeutic applications as immunostimulatory agents.
Conlon, J. M., Mechkarska, M., Radosavljevic, G., Attoub, S., King, J. D., Lukic, M. L., & McClean, S. (2014). A family of antimicrobial and immunomodulatory peptides related to the frenatins from skin secretions of the Orinoco lime frog Sphaenorhynchus lacteus (Hylidae). Peptides, 56(0), 132 - 140. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.peptides.2014.03.020