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Proteolytic degradation and deactivation of amphibian skin peptides obtained by electrical stimulation of their dorsal glands

Samgina, Tatiana Yu., Tolpina, Miriam I., Hakalehto, Elias, Artemenko, Konstantin A., Bergquist, Jonas, Lebedev, Albert T.
Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry 2016 v.408 no.14 pp. 3761-3768
Rana, bioactive properties, drugs, electrical treatment, frogs, mass spectrometry, methanol, microorganisms, peptides, predators, proteolysis, secretion
Amphibians are among the oldest creatures on our planet. Their only defensive weapon efficient against microorganisms and predators involves their skin secretion. The wide range of biological activities of the peptides in the skin secretion of amphibians makes these compounds rather interesting for generation of prospective pharmaceuticals. The first step in studying these molecules requires their structures to be established. Mass spectrometry is the most powerful tool for this purpose. The sampling and sample preparation stages preceding mass spectrometry experiments appear to be rather crucial. The results obtained here demonstrate that these preparation procedures might lead to partial or complete loss of the bioactive peptides in the secretion. Five minutes in water was enough to completely destroy all of the bioactive peptides in the skin secretion of the marsh frog (Rana ridibunda); even immediate addition of methanol to the water solution of the peptides did not prevent partial destruction. Concerted effort should be directed towards development of the most efficient procedure to keep the secreted peptides intact.