Delayed wound healing will result in the development of chronic wounds in some diseases, such as diabetes. Amphibian skins possess excellent wound-healing ability and represent a resource for prospective wound-healing promoting compounds. A potential wound-healing promoting peptide (CW49; amino acid sequence APFRMGICTTN) was identified from the frog skin of Odorrana grahami. It promotes wound healing in a murine model with a full-thickness dermal wound in both normal and diabetic animals. In addition to its strong angiogenic ability with respect to the upregulation of some angiogenic proteins, CW49 also showed a significant anti-inflammatory effect in diabetic wounds, which was very important for healing chronic wounds. CW49 had little effect on re-epithelialization, resulting in no significant effect on wound closure rate compared to a vehicle control. Altogether, this indicated that CW49 might accelerate diabetic wound healing by promoting angiogenesis and preventing any excessive inflammatory response. Considering its favorable traits as a small peptide that significantly promotes angiogenesis, CW49 might be an excellent candidate or template for the development of a drug for use in the treatment of diabetic wounds.
Although it is well known that wound healing proceeds incredibly quickly in urodele amphibians, such as newts and salamanders, little is known about skin-wound healing, and no bioactive/effector substance that contributes to wound healing has been identified from these animals. As a step toward understanding salamander wound healing and skin regeneration, a potential wound-healing-promoting peptide (tylotoin; KCVRQNNKRVCK) was identified from salamander skin of Tylototriton verrucosus. It shows comparable wound-healing-promoting ability (EC50=11.14 ?g/ml) with epidermal growth factor (EGF; NSDSECPLSHDGYCLHDGVCMYIEALDKYACNCVVGYIGERCQYRDLKWWELR) in a murine model of full-thickness dermal wound. Tylotoin directly enhances the motility and proliferation of keratinocytes, vascular endothelial cells, and fibroblasts, resulting in accelerated reepithelialization and granulation tissue formation in the wound site. Tylotoin also promotes the release of transforming growth factor ?1 (TGF-?1) and interleukin 6 (IL-6), which are essential in the wound healing response. Gene-encoded tylotoin secreted in salamander skin is possibly an effector molecule for skin wound healing. This study may facilitate understanding of the cellular and molecular events that underlie quick wound healing in salamanders.-Mu, L., Tang, J., Liu, H., Shen, C., Rong, M., Zhang, Z., Lai, R. A potential wound-healing-promoting peptide from salamander skin.
Vasotab TY is a KGD (Lys-Gly-Asp)-containing peptide identified from salivary glands of the horsefly of Tabanus yao. We have previously reported that vasotab TY showed a strong vasodilator activity. In the present study, vasotab TY was found to inhibit platelet aggregation effectively. It completely inhibited platelet aggregation induced by adenosine diphosphate (ADP) at the concentration of 9.6?g/ml. Vasotab TY significantly reduced thrombus weight in rat arteriovenous shunt model and inhibited thrombosis in carrageenan-induced mouse tail thrombosis model in vivo. Vasotab TY competitively bound to glycoprotein IIb/IIIa (GPIIb/IIIa) with eptifibatide, a well-known KGD-containing cyclic heptapeptide containing high specificity and high affinity for GPIIb/IIIa, suggesting that it is an antagonist of the fibrinogen receptor GPIIb/IIIa on the surface of platelet. The KGD motif in vasotab TY may facilitate the binding of it to GPIIb/IIIa. Vasotab TY showed a half-life of more than 1h in vivo. It showed little side effects including little bleeding, no hemolytic activity on human blood red cells and no cytotoxicity on human keratinocyte and THP-1 cells. Combined its vasodilator and platelet inhibitory functions, vasotab TY might be an excellent candidate for the development of clinical anti-thrombosis medicines.
Cutaneous wound healing is a dynamic, complex, and well-organized process that requires the orchestration of many different cell types and cellular processes. Transforming growth factor ?1 is an important factor that plays a key role during wound healing. Amphibian skin has been proven to possess excellent wound healing ability, whilst no bioactive substrate related to it has ever been identified. Here, a potential wound healing-promoting peptide (AH90, ATAWDFGPHGLLPIRPIRIRPLCG) was identified from the frog skin of Odorrana grahami. It showed potential wound healing-promoting activity in a murine model with full thickness dermal wound. AH90 promoted release of transforming growth factor ?1 through activation of nuclear factor-?B and c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase mitogen-activated protein kinases signaling pathways, while inhibitors of nuclear factor-?B and c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase inhibited the process. In addition, the effects of AH90 on Smads family proteins, key regulators in transforming growth factor ?1 signaling pathways, could also be inhibited by transforming growth factor ?1 antibody. Altogether, this indicated that AH90 promoted wound healing by inducing the release of transforming growth factor ?1. This current study may facilitate the understanding of effective factors involved in the wound repair of amphibians and the underlying mechanisms as well. Considering its favorable traits as a small peptide that greatly promoting generation of endogenous wound healing agents (transforming growth factor ?1) without mitogenic effects, AH90 might be an excellent template for the future development of novel wound-healing agents.
Wound-healing represents a major health burden, such as diabetes-induced skin ulcers and burning. Many works are being tried to find ideal clinical wound-healing biomaterials. Especially, small molecules with low cost and function to promote production of endogenous wound healing agents (i.e. transforming growth factor beta, TGF-?) are excellent candidates. In this study, a small peptide (tiger17, c[WCKPKPKPRCH-NH2]) containing only 11 amino acid residues was designed and proved to be a potent wound healer. It showed strong wound healing-promoting activity in a murine model of full thickness dermal wound. Tiger17 exerted significant effects on three stages of wound healing progresses including (1) the induction of macrophages recruitment to wound site at inflammatory reaction stage; (2) the promotion of the migration and proliferation both keratinocytes and fibroblasts, leading to reepithelialization and granulation tissue formation; and (3) tissue remodeling phase, by promoting the release of transforming TGF-?1 and interleukin 6 (IL-6) in murine macrophages and activating mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) signaling pathways. Considering its easy production, store and transfer and function to promote production of endogenous wound healing agents (TGF-?), tiger17 might be an exciting biomaterial or template for the development of novel wound-healing agents.
Loss-of-function mutations in the human voltage-gated sodium channel NaV1.7 result in a congenital indifference to pain. Selective inhibitors of NaV1.7 are therefore likely to be powerful analgesics for treating a broad range of pain conditions. Herein we describe the identification of µ-SLPTX-Ssm6a, a unique 46-residue peptide from centipede venom that potently inhibits NaV1.7 with an IC50 of ?25 nM. µ-SLPTX-Ssm6a has more than 150-fold selectivity for NaV1.7 over all other human NaV subtypes, with the exception of NaV1.2, for which the selectivity is 32-fold. µ-SLPTX-Ssm6a contains three disulfide bonds with a unique connectivity pattern, and it has no significant sequence homology with any previously characterized peptide or protein. µ-SLPTX-Ssm6a proved to be a more potent analgesic than morphine in a rodent model of chemical-induced pain, and it was equipotent with morphine in rodent models of thermal and acid-induced pain. This study establishes µ-SPTX-Ssm6a as a promising lead molecule for the development of novel analgesics targeting NaV1.7, which might be suitable for treating a wide range of human pain pathologies.
Human ?-defensin 2 (HBD2) is a cysteine-rich cationic antimicrobial peptide known for its important role in innate immune system. Intensive studies have demonstrated its antimicrobial and chemotactic activities in vitro. In this study, ELISA analysis showed that HBD2 was significantly downregulated in sera of patients with hypertension. It relaxed vessel smooth muscle by acting on the major regulatory pathways, contributing to vessel smooth muscle contraction. Electrophysiology analysis indicated that HBD2 acted as an opener of large-conductance Ca(2+)-activated potassium (BKCa)-mSlo+h?1 channels and increased BKCa currents. Mutation analysis revealed that HBD2 activated BKCa-mSlo+h?1 channels via interacting with Leu41 and Gln43 of ?1-loop. In vivo experiments suggested that HBD2 at 4 × to 6 × of physiological concentration exerted hypotensive effect in monkeys significantly, whereas the selective blocker of BKCa channels, Paxilline, inhibited the effect. HBD2 is the first peptide opener of BKCa-mSlo+h?1 channels. It may be a novel regulator of blood pressure and provides a new therapeutic target for the treatment of hypertension. The HBD2 blockade of the BKCa channels may represent a new type of cross-talk between immune and cardiovascular systems.
Umbilical cord blood-derived marrow stromal cells (UCB-MSCs) with high proliferation capacity and immunomodulatory properties are considered to be a good candidate for cell-based therapies. But until now, little work has been focused on the differentiation of UCB-MSCs. In this work, UCB-MSCs were demonstrated to be negative for CD34 and CD45 expression but positive for CD90 and CD105 expression. The gate values of UCB-MSCs for CD90 and CD105 were 99.3 and 98.6 %, respectively. Two weeks after treatment, the percentage of neuron-like cells differentiated from UCB-MSCs was increased to 84 ± 12 % in the experimental group [treated with olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs)-conditioned medium] and they were neuron-specific enolase positive; few neuron-like cells were found in the control group (without OECs-conditioned medium). Using whole-cell recording, sodium and potassium currents were recorded in UCB-MSCs after differentiation by OECs. Thus, human UCB-MSCs could be differentiated to neural cells by secreted secretion from OECs and exhibited electrophysiological properties similar to mature neurons after 2 weeks post-induction. These results imply that OECs can be used as a new strategy for stem cell differentiation and provide an alternative neurogenesis pathway for generating sufficient numbers of neural cells for cell therapy.
Defects in multiple coagulation factor deficiency protein 2 (MCFD2) are a cause of factor V and factor VIII combined deficiency type 2 (F5F8D). MCFD2 was also suggested to play an important role as an autocrine/paracrine factor in maintaining neural stem cell potential. The current work provided direct evidence that both amphibian and human MCFD2 can maintain stem cell pluripotency or stemness of rhesus monkey embryonic stem cells (rESCs) as basic fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2) does. In most cases, MCFD2 had identical effects on stem cells as FGF-2. We investigated the possible mechanism of MCFD2 to support stem cell pluripotency by highlighting the effects of MCFD2 and FGF-2 on several signaling pathways in rESCs, namely MAPK, TGF-?, Wnt, and Akt, and 3 core transcriptional factors (Oct4, Nanog, and Sox2). In addition, some features of signaling pathways (MAPK and Akt), which are different from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs), are found in rESCs, indicating that primate ESCs have unique signaling mechanisms. These results may shed light on the biological roles of MCFD2, the conserved protein family distributed in both vertebrates and invertebrates. The ability to support stem cell self-renewal may be the general function of the conserved protein family.
Bacteriophages, the viruses of eubacteria, have developed unique mechanisms to interact with their host bacteria. They have been viewed as potential antibacterial therapeutics. Mycobacteriophage-derived compounds may interact with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) and/or its components, such as the cord factor, trehalose-6,6-dimycolate (TDM), which is the most abundant glycolipid produced on the surface of MTB. TDM emulsion injected intravenously into mice induces lung immunopathology that mimics many aspects of MTB infection. Thus, TDM is an important target for anti-MTB agent development. On the basis of genomics information of mycobacteriophages, 200 peptides were synthesized. Their effects on MTB, their interactions with TDM, and anti-inflammatory activities were tested. One of them (PK34) showed MTB-killing activity with a minimal inhibitory concentration of 50 ?g/ml and TDM-binding ability. In a mouse model, PK34 showed comparable ability to clear MTB as rifampin did in vivo. It also exerted strong activity to inhibit MTB or TDM-induced inflammation in vivo. PK34 significantly inhibited inflammatory cytokines secretions by inactivating MAPK and PKB signals while it maintained certain proinflammatory cytokine production. It is possible to prospect for TDM-binding and/or anti-MTB peptides by mining the mycobacteriophages genome. In addition to its direct MTB-killing ability, PK34 might be a useful adjunct in the treatment of granulomatous inflammation occurring during mycobacterial infection or a template for developing antituberculosis (TB) agents because of its immunoregulative effects. As a TDM-binding peptide, PK34 may be a promising tool to study TDMs interactions with corresponding receptors and signal pathways.
The most important indoor allergens for humans are house dust mites (HDM). Fourteen Dermatophagoides farinae allergens (Der f 1-3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13-18, and 22) are reported although more than 30 allergens have been estimated in D. farinae. Seventeen allergens belonging to 12 different groups were identified by a procedure of proteomics combined with two-dimensional immunoblotting from D. farina extracts. Their sequences were determined by Edman degradation, mass spectrometry analysis, and cDNA cloning. Their allergenicities were assayed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay inhibition tests, immunoblots, basophil activation test, and skin prick tests. Eight of them are the first report as D. farinae allergens. The procedure of using a proteomic approach combined with a purely discovery approach using sera of patients with broad IgE reactivity profiles to mite allergens was an effective method to investigate a more complete repertoire of D. farinae allergens. The identification of eight new D. farinae allergens will be helpful for HDM allergy diagnosis and therapy, especially for patients without response for HDM major allergens. In addition, the current work significantly extendedthe repertoire of D. farinae allergens.
Antimicrobial peptides have been widely identified from amphibian skins except salamanders. A novel antimicrobial peptide (CFBD) was isolated and characterized from skin secretions of the salamander, Cynops fudingensis. The cDNA encoding CFBD precursor was cloned from the skin cDNA library of C. fudingensis. The precursor was composed of three domains: signal peptide of 17 residues, mature peptide of 41 residues and intervening propeptide of 3 residues. There are six cysteines in the sequence of mature CFBD peptide, which possibly form three disulfide-bridges. CFBD showed antimicrobial activities against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Candida albicans and Escherichia coli. This peptide could be classified into family of ?-defensin based on its seqeuence similarity with ?-defensins from other vertebrates. Evolution analysis indicated that CFBD was close to fish ?-defensin. As far as we know, CFBD is the first ?-defensin antimicrobial peptide from salamanders.
Main indoor allergens for humans are from house dust mites. There are more than 30 allergens in Dermatophagoides farinae but only fourteen allergens have been identified from this mite including Der f 1-3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13-18, and 22. A native allergen protein (Der f 24, 90 kDa) was purified from D. farinae by gel filtration and anionic exchange liquid chromatography combined with IgE immunodetection. Its primary structure was determined by Edman degradation, mass spectrometry analysis and cDNA cloning. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay inhibition tests (ELISA-IT), immunoblots, basophil activation test (BAT) and skin prick test (SPT) were performed to evaluate the allergenicity. It was identified as an alpha (?)-actinin containing a CaM-like domain with EF-hand motifs. Der f 24 reacted to sera from 85.4% (35/41) of patients on western blot analysis. It reduced ?20% sera IgE reactivity to D. farinae extracts on a competitive ELISA. Eighty percent (8/10) of patients with D. farinae allergy showed positive reactions to Der f 24 in skin prick test. The expression of CD63 on basophils from patients was up-regulated by Der f 24 by ?5.4-fold. Alpha-actinin was identified as a new type of house dust mite allergen. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of ?-actinin as an allergen.
A designed peptide named LZ1 with 15 amino acid residues containing strong antimicrobial activity against bacteria pathogens of acne vulgaris including Propionibacterium acnes, Staphylococcus epidermidis and S. aureus. Especially, it exerted strong anti-P. acnes ability. The minimal inhibitory concentration against three strains of P. acnes was only 0.6 µg/ml, which is 4 times lower than that of clindamycin. In experimental mice skin colonization model, LZ1 significantly reduced the number of P. acnes colonized on the ear, P. acnes-induced ear swelling, and inflammatory cell infiltration. It ameliorated inflammation induced by P. acnes by inhibiting the secretion of inflammatory factors including tumor necrosis factor-? (TNF-?) and interleukin (IL)-1?. LZ1 showed little cytotoxicity on human keratinocyte and hemolytic activity on human blood red cells. Furthermore, LZ1 was very stable in human plasma. Combined with its potential bactericidal and anti-inflammatory properties, simple structure and high stability, LZ1 might be an ideal candidate for the treatment of acne.
Huwentoxin-IV (HWTX-IV), a tetrodotoxin-sensitive (TTX-s) sodium channel antagonist, is found in the venom of the Chinese spider Ornithoctonus huwena. A naturally modified HWTX-IV (mHWTX-IV), having a molecular mass 18 Da lower than HWTX-IV, has also been isolated from the venom of the same spider. By a combination of enzymatic fragmentation and MS/MS de novo sequencing, mHWTX-IV has been shown to have the same amino acid sequence as that of HWTX-IV, except that the N-terminal glutamic acid replaced by pyroglutamic acid. mHWTX-IV inhibited tetrodotoxin-sensitive voltage-gated sodium channels of dorsal root ganglion neurons with an IC50 nearly equal to native HWTX-IV. mHWTX-IV showed the same activation and inactivation kinetics seen for native HWTX-IV. In contrast with HWTX-IV, which dissociates at moderate voltage depolarization voltages (+50 mV, 180000 ms), mHWTX-IV inhibition of TTX-sensitive sodium channels is not reversed by strong depolarization voltages (+200 mV, 500 ms). Recovery of Nav1.7current was voltage-dependent and was induced by extreme depolarization in the presence of HWTX-IV, but no obvious current was elicited after application of mHWTX-IV. Our data indicate that the N-terminal modification of HWTX-IV gives the peptide toxin a greater ability to trap the voltage sensor in the sodium channel. Loss of a negative charge, caused by cyclization at the N-terminus, is a possible reason why the modified toxin binds much stronger. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a pyroglutamic acid residue in a spider toxin; this modification seems to increase the trapping ability of the voltage sensor in the sodium channel.
With conserved structural scaffold and divergent electrophysiological functions, animal toxins are considered powerful tools for investigating the basic structure-function relationship of voltage-gated sodium channels. Jingzhaotoxin-III (?-TRTX-Cj1?) is a unique sodium channel gating modifier from the tarantula Chilobrachys jingzhao, because the toxin can selectively inhibit the activation of cardiac sodium channel but not neuronal subtypes. However, the molecular basis of JZTX-III interaction with sodium channels remains unknown. In this study, we showed that JZTX-III was efficiently expressed by the secretory pathway in yeast. Alanine-scanning analysis indicated that 2 acidic residues (Asp1, Glu3) and an exposed hydrophobic patch, formed by 4 Trp residues (residues 8, 9, 28 and 30), play important roles in the binding of JZTX-III to Nav1.5. JZTX-III docked to the Nav1.5 DIIS3-S4 linker. Mutations S799A, R800A, and L804A could additively reduce toxin sensitivity of Nav1.5. We also demonstrated that the unique Arg800, not emerging in other sodium channel subtypes, is responsible for JZTX-III selectively interacting with Nav1.5. The reverse mutation D816R in Nav1.7 greatly increased the sensitivity of the neuronal subtype to JZTX-III. Conversely, the mutation R800D in Nav1.5 decreased JZTX-IIIs IC?? by 72-fold. Therefore, our results indicated that JZTX-III is a site 4 toxin, but does not possess the same critical residues on sodium channels as other site 4 toxins. Our data also revealed the underlying mechanism for JZTX-III to be highly specific for the cardiac sodium channel.
Huwentoxin-I (HWTX-I) is a 33-residue peptide isolated from the venom of Ornithoctonus huwena and could inhibit TTX-sensitive voltage-gated sodium channels and N-type calcium channels in mammalian dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. However, the effects of HWTX-I on mammalian central neuronal and insect sodium channel subtypes remain unknown. In this study, we found that HWTX-I potently inhibited sodium channels in rat hippocampal and cockroach dorsal unpaired median (DUM) neurons with the IC(50) values of 66.1±5.2 and 4.80±0.58nM, respectively. Taken together with our previous work on DRG neurons (IC(50)?55nM), the order of sodium channel sensitivity to HWTX-I inhibition was insect central DUM?mammalian peripheral>mammalian central neurons. HWTX-I exhibited no effect on the steady-state activation and inactivation of sodium channels in rat hippocampal and cockroach DUM neurons.
Many gene-encoded neurotoxins with various functions have been discovered in fish, reptiles, and mammals. A novel 60-residue neurotoxin peptide (anntoxin) that inhibited tetrodotoxin-sensitive (TTX-S) voltage-gated sodium channel (VGSC) was purified and characterized from the skin secretions of the tree frog Hyla annectans (Jerdon). This is the first gene-encoded neurotoxin found in amphibians. The IC50 of anntoxin for the TTX-S channel was about 3.4 microM. Anntoxin shares sequence homology with Kunitz-type toxins but contains only two of three highly conserved cysteine bridges, which are typically found in these small, basic neurotoxin modules, i.e. snake dendrotoxins. Anntoxin showed an inhibitory ability against trypsin with an inhibitory constant (Ki) of 0.025 microM. Anntoxin was distributed in skin, brain, stomach, and liver with a concentration of 25, 7, 3, and 2 microg/g wet tissue, respectively. H. annectans lives on trees or other plants for its entire life cycle, and its skin contains the largest amount of anntoxin, which possibly helps defend against various aggressors or predators. A low dose of anntoxin was found to induce lethal toxicity for several potential predators, including the insect, snake, bird, and mouse. The tissue distribution and functional properties of the current toxin may provide insights into the ecological adaptation of tree-living amphibians.
The wolf spider Lycosa singoriensis is a hunting spider with a widespread distribution in northwest China. The venom gland of spiders, which is a very specialized secretory tissue, can secrete abundant and complex toxin components. To extensively examine the transcripts expressed in the venom glands of L. singoriensis, we generated 833 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from a directional cDNA library. Toxin-like sequences account for 69.1% of these ESTs, 17.3% are similar to cellular transcripts and 13.6% have no significant similarity to any known sequences. Here, we identified 223 novel toxin-like sequences, which can be classified into six different superfamilies; that means a novel potential source of ligands for varied ion channels was discovered. With the aid of Gene Ontology terms and homology to eukaryotic orthologous groups, the annotation of cellular transcripts revealed some cellular processes important for the toxin secretion of venom glands including protein synthesis, protein folding, tuned post-translational processing and trafficking, etc.
Jingzhaotoxin-34 (JZTX-34) is a 35-residue polypeptide from the venom of Chinese tarantula Chilobrachys jingzhao. Our previous work reported its full-length cDNA sequence encoding a precursor with 87 residues. In this study we report the protein expression and biological function characterization. The toxin was efficiently expressed by the secretary pathway in yeast. Under whole-cell patch-clamp mode, the expressed JZTX-34 was able to inhibit tetrodotoxin-sensitive (TTX-S) sodium currents (IC(50) approximately 85 nM) while having no significant effects on tetrodotoxin-resistant (TTX-R) sodium currents on rat dorsal root ganglion neurons. The inhibition of TTX-S sodium channels was completely reversed by strong depolarization (+120 mV). Toxin treatment altered neither channel activation and inactivation kinetics nor recovery rate from inactivation. However, it is interesting to note that in contrast to huwentoxin-IV, a recently identified receptor site-4 toxin from Ornithoctonus huwena venom, 100 nM JZTX-34 caused a negative shift of steady-state inactivation curve of TTX-S sodium channels by approximately 10 mV. The results indicated that JZTX-34 might inhibit mammalian sensory neuronal sodium channels through a mechanism similar to HWTX-IV by trapping the IIS4 voltage sensor in the resting conformation, but their binding sites should not overlay completely.
Antimicrobial peptide diversity has been found in some amphibians. The diversity of antimicrobial peptides may have resulted from the diversity of microorganisms encountered by amphibians. Peptidomics and genomics analyses were used to study antimicrobial peptide diversity in the skin secretions of the torrent frog, Amolops jingdongensis. Thirty-one antimicrobial peptides belonging to nine groups were identified in the skin secretions of this frog. Among them, there are two novel antimicrobial groups (jingdongin-1 and -2) with unique structural motifs. The other seven groups belong to known antimicrobial peptide families, namely brevinin-1, brevinin-2, odorranain-F, esculentin-2, temporin, amolopin-3, and ranacyclin. Combined with previous reports, more than 13 antimicrobial peptide groups have been identified from the genus Amolops. Most of these antimicrobial peptide groups are also found in amphibians belonging to the genus Rana or Odorrana which suggests a possible evolutionary connection among Amolops, Rana, and Odorrana. Two novel antimicrobial groups (jingdongin-1 and -2) were synthesized and their antimicrobial activities were assayed. Some of them showed strong antimicrobial abilities against microorganisms including Gram-negative and -positive bacteria, and fungi. The extreme diversity of antimicrobial peptides in the Amolops amphibians was demonstrated. In addition, several novel peptide templates were provided for antimicrobial agent design.
Centipedes are excellent predatory arthropods that inject venom to kill or immobilize their prey. Although centipedes have long been known to be venomous, their venoms remain largely unexplored. The chemical components responsible for centipede predation and the functional mechanisms are unknown. Twenty-six neurotoxin-like peptides belonging to ten groups were identified from the centipede venoms, Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans L. Koch by peptidomics combined with transcriptome analysis, revealing the diversity of neurotoxins. These neurotoxins each contain two to four intramolecular disulfide bridges, and in most cases the disulfide framework is different from that found in neurotoxins from the venoms of spiders, scorpions, marine cone snails, sea anemones, and snakes (5S animals). Several neurotoxins contain potential insecticidal abilities, and they are found to act on voltage-gated sodium, potassium, and calcium channels, respectively. Although these neurotoxins are functionally similar to the disulfide-rich neurotoxins found in the venoms of 5S animals in that they modulate the activity of voltage-gated ion channels, in almost all cases the primary structures of the centipede venom peptides are unique. This represents an interesting case of convergent evolution in which different venomous animals have evolved different molecular strategies for targeting the same ion channels in prey and predators. Moreover, the high level of biochemical diversity revealed in this study suggests that centipede venoms might be attractive subjects for prospecting and screening for peptide candidates with potential pharmaceutical or agrochemical applications.
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