Toxicon : official journal of the International Society on Toxinology

Gene expression analysis by ESTs sequencing of the Brazilian frog Phyllomedusa nordestina skin glands.

PMID 23159791


The subfamily Phyllomedusinae has attracted a great interest of many researchers mainly due to the high diversity of these frog species and plethora of pharmacological activities frequently observed for their skin secretions. Despite of this fact, mainly for new species, limited information is available regarding the molecular composition of these skin secretions and the cellular components involved in their production. Phyllomedusa nordestina is a recently described Brazilian frog species also popularly known as 'tree-frogs'. Aiming at contributing to the biological knowledge of this species, we show here the gene expression profile of this frog skin secretion using a global ESTs analysis of a cDNA library. The marked aspect of this analysis revealed a significant higher transcriptional level of the opioid peptide dermorphins in P. nordestina skin secretion than in Phyllomedusa hypochondrialis, which is its closest related species, belonging both to the same phylogenetic group. Precursors of bioactive peptides as dermaseptins, phylloseptins, tryptophyllins, and bradykinin-like peptideswere also found in this library. Transcripts encoding proteins related to ordinary cellular functions and pathways were also described. Some of them are chiefly involved in the production of the skin secretion. Taken together, the data reported here constitute a contribution to the characterization of the molecular diversity of gene-encoded polypeptides with potential possibility of pharmacological exploitation. The transcriptional composition of the skin secretion may also help to give the necessary support for the definition of P. nordestina as a new species, which actually relies basically on frog morphological characteristics and geographical distribution.