Conformational analysis and in vitro immunomodulatory and insulinotropic properties of the frog skin host-defense peptide rhinophrynin-27 and selected analogs

MA Scorciapino, Paola Carta, JM Pantic, Miodrag L. Lukic, Aleksandra Lukic, Vishal Musale, Yasser Abdel-Wahab, JM Conlon

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The study investigates conformational analysis and the in vitro cytokine-mediated immunomodulatory and insulin-releasing activities of rhinophrynin-27 (ELRLPEIARPVPEVLPARLPLPALPRN; RP-27), a proline-arginine-rich peptide first isolated from skin secretions of the Mexican burrowing toad Rhinophrynus dorsalis (Rhinophrynidae). In both water and 50% trifluoroethanol-water, the peptide adopts a polyproline type II helical conformation with a high degree of deviation from the canonical collagen-like folding and a pronounced bend in the molecule at the Glu13 residue. Incubation of mouse peritoneal cells with RP-27 significantly (P < 0.05) inhibited production of the proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IL-1β and stimulated production of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. The peptide significantly (P < 0.01) stimulated release of insulin from BRINBD11 rat clonal β-cells at concentrations ≥ 1 nM while maintaining the integrity of the plasma membrane and also stimulated insulin release from isolated mouse islets at a concentration of 10-6 M. Increasing the cationicity of RP-27 by substituting glutamic acid residues in the peptide by arginine and increasing hydrophobicity by substituting alanine residues by tryptophan did not result in analogues with increased activity with respect to cytokine production and insulin release. The combination of immunosuppressive and insulinotropic activities together with very low cytotoxicity suggests that RP-27 may represent a template for the development of an agent for use in anti-inflammatory and Type 2 diabetes therapies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-206
Number of pages9
Early online date19 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2019



  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Cytokine
  • Frog skin
  • Insulin release
  • Rhinophrynin-27
  • Type 2 diabetes

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