Review Article

Amino Acids

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 29-49

First online:

Antimicrobial peptides from Phyllomedusa frogs: from biomolecular diversity to potential nanotechnologic medical applications

  • Leonardo de Azevedo CalderonAffiliated withCentro de Estudos de Biomoléculas Aplicadas a Medicina “Professor Dr. José Roberto Giglio” (CEBio), Núcleo de Saúde (NUSAU), Universidade Federal de Rondônia (UNIR)Instituto de Pesquisas em Patologias Tropicais de Rondônia (IPEPATRO)
  • , Alexandre de Almeida E. SilvaAffiliated withInstituto de Pesquisas em Patologias Tropicais de Rondônia (IPEPATRO)Laboratório de Bioecologia de Insetos, Departamento de Biologia, Núcleo de Ciência e Tecnologia (NCT), Universidade Federal de Rondônia (UNIR)
  • , Pietro CiancagliniAffiliated withDepartamento de Química da Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP), Universidade de São Paulo (USP)
  • , Rodrigo Guerino StábeliAffiliated withCentro de Estudos de Biomoléculas Aplicadas a Medicina “Professor Dr. José Roberto Giglio” (CEBio), Núcleo de Saúde (NUSAU), Universidade Federal de Rondônia (UNIR)Fundação Oswaldo Cruz do Noroeste do Brasil, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Screening for new bioactive peptides in South American anurans has been pioneered in frogs of the genus Phyllomedusa. All frogs of this genus have venomous skin secretions, i.e., a complex mixture of bioactive peptides against potential predators and pathogens that presumably evolved in a scenario of predator–prey interaction and defense against microbial invasion. For every new anuran species studied new peptides are found, with homologies to hormones, neurotransmitters, antimicrobials, and several other peptides with unknown biological activity. From Vittorio Erspamer findings, this genus has been reported as a “treasure store” of bioactive peptides, and several groups focus their research on these species. From 1966 to 2009, more than 200 peptide sequences from different Phyllomedusa species were deposited in UniProt and other databases. During the last decade, the emergence of high-throughput molecular technologies involving de novo peptide sequencing via tandem mass spectrometry, cDNA cloning, pharmacological screening, and surface plasmon resonance applied to peptide discovery, led to fast structural data acquisition and the generation of peptide molecular libraries. Research groups on bioactive peptides in Brazil using these new technologies, accounted for the exponential increase of new molecules described in the last decade, much higher than in any previous decades. Recently, these secretions were also reported as a rich source of multiple antimicrobial peptides effective against multidrug resistant strains of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and virus, providing instructive lessons for the development of new and more efficient nanotechnological-based therapies for infectious diseases treatment. Therefore, novel drugs arising from the identification and analysis of bioactive peptides from South American anuran biodiversity have a promising future role on nanobiotechnology.


Phyllomedusa Bioprospection Antimicrobial peptide Dermaseptin Infection disease New drugs Nanobiotechnology