Amino Acids

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 677–685

Amphibian cathelicidin fills the evolutionary gap of cathelicidin in vertebrate

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00726-011-1116-7

Cite this article as:
Hao, X., Yang, H., Wei, L. et al. Amino Acids (2012) 43: 677. doi:10.1007/s00726-011-1116-7


Cathelicidins comprise a family of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) sharing a highly conserved cathelin domain, and play a central role in the innate defense against infection in most of vertebrates. But so far it has not yet been found in amphibians although a large number of other groups of AMPs have been identified. In the current work, the first amphibian cathelicidin (cathelicidin-AL) has been characterized from the frog skin of Amolops loloensis. Cathelicidin-AL (RRSRRGRGGGRRGGSGGRGGRGGGGRSGAGSSIAGVGSRGGGGGRHYA) is a cationic peptide containing 48 amino acid residues (aa) with 12 basic aa and no acidic aa. The chemical synthesized peptide efficiently killed bacteria and some fungal species including clinically isolated drug-resistance microorganisms. The cDNA encoding cathelicidin-AL precursor was cloned from the skin cDNA library of A. loloensis. As other cathelicidins, the precursor of cathelicidin-AL also contains highly conserved anionic cathelin domain of cysteine proteinase inhibitor followed by the AMP fragment at C-terminus. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that as connecting link, the amphibian cathelicidin predates reptilia but postdates fish cathelicidin. The peptide purification combined with gene cloning results confirms the presence of cathelicidin in amphibians and filled the evolutionary gap of cathelicidin in vertebrate, considering amphibians’ special niche as the animals bridging the evolutionary land-water gap.


Cathelicidin Amphibian Evolution Structure and function 

Supplementary material

726_2011_1116_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (25 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (JPEG 24 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xue Hao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hailong Yang
    • 1
    • 5
  • Ling Wei
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shilong Yang
    • 1
    • 5
  • Wenjuan Zhu
    • 4
  • Dongying Ma
    • 1
  • Haining Yu
    • 3
    • 4
  • Ren Lai
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Biotoxin Units of Key Laboratory of Animal Models and Human Disease Mechanisms, Kunming Institute of ZoologyChinese Academy of SciencesKunmingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Microbiological Engineering of Agricultural Environment, Ministry of AgricultureLife Sciences College of Nanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.College of Life Sciences, Hebei Normal UniversityShijiazhuangChina
  4. 4.School of Life Science and BiotechnologyDalian University of TechnologyDalianChina
  5. 5.Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina