The emergence of pathogenic bacteria and fungi resistant to commonly used antibiotics poses a serious threat to public health and necessitates novel treatment approaches in order to control infections. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are one of the central components of the system of innate immunity, and due to their non-specific and highly destructive mechanisms of killing, pathogens will develop resistance to AMPs at lower rates than to conventional antibiotics. Skin secretions of frogs from the family Pipidae are a rich source of AMPs which show potential for development into therapeutic agents.
Until recently, the only representatives of the Pipidae family frogs from which skin AMPs had been identified were the diploid frog Silurana tropicalis, the tetraploid frog Xenopus laevis and the octoploid frog Xenopus amieti. Therefore, this program of research was undertaken with the aim to isolate, purify and characterize AMPs with therapeutic potential from skin secretions of other polyploid species of African clawed frogs of the Pipidae family. One additional research line was to evaluate potential use of AMPs as markers to elucidate the taxonomic relationships and evolutionary history of these frog taxa. This research also investigated the effects that polyploidization and interspecies hybridization have had on the biochemical diversity of AMPs in frog skin secretions.
The potential of AMPs from skin secretions of frogs belonging to the Pipidae family has been summarised into three different avenues: 1. promising candidates for development into therapeutic valuable anti-infective agents; 2. reliable taxonomic and phylogenetic markers; and 3. tools to study the fate of duplicated genes in Xenopus and Silurana. Interspecies Xenopus hybrids are here proposed as a suitable model to perform future studies on the mode of inheritance of skin AMPs.
see thesis Milena Mechkarschka (click for link thesis)