The Mexican burrowing toad Rhinophrynus dorsalis is the sole extant representative of the Rhinophrynidae. United in the superfamily Pipoidea, the Rhinophrynidae is considered to be the sister-group to the extant Pipidae which comprises Hymenochirus, Pipa, Pseudhymenochirus and Xenopus. Cationic, α-helical host-defense peptides of the type found in Hymenochirus, Pseudhymenochirus, and Xenopus species (hymenochirins, pseudhymenochirins, magainins, and peptides related to PGLa, XPF, and CPF) were not detected in norepinephrine-stimulated skin secretions of R. dorsalis. Skin secretions of representatives of the genus Pipa also do not contain cationic α-helical host-defense peptides which suggests, as the most parsimonious hypothesis, that the ability to produce such peptides by frogs within the Pipidae family arose in the common ancestor of (Hymenochirus+Pseudhymenochirus)+Xenopus after divergence from the line of evolution leading to extant Pipa species. Peptidomic analysis of the R. dorsalis secretions led to the isolation of rhinophrynin-27, a proline-arginine-rich peptide with the primary structure ELRLPEIARPVPEVLPARLPLPALPRN, together with rhinophrynin-33 containing the C-terminal extension KMAKNQ. Rhinophrynin-27 shows limited structural similarity to the porcine multifunctional peptide PR-39 but it lacks antimicrobial and cytotoxic activities. Like PR-39, the peptide adopts a poly-l-proline helix but some changes in the circular dichroism spectrum were observed in the presence of anionic sodium dodecylsulfate micelles consistent with the stabilization of turn structures.
- Frog skin