The Power of Frogs

Bomina maxima: Giant Fire-bellied Toad

Arielle C. found this article from Medical News Today. Here’s Arielle to tell us about it:

Frog and toad skins are known for their abundance of germ-fighting substances.  In this article, Ren Lai was the lead researcher in learning more about the brains of the Giant Fire-Bellied Toad and the Small-webbed Bell Toad.  Lai published an article in ACS’s Journal of Proteome Research stating that toad brains may contain a lot of antibacterial and antiviral substances.  This means there is potential for new medicines to be created.  In previous research there hasn’t been many studies have not looked at the germ-fighting proteins in the toad’s brains.

The team of researches found 79 different antimicrobial peptides, and 59 of them were completely new to science.  They even said that to the best of their knowledge, ‘the diversity of the peptides are the most extreme yet for any animal brain.’  Some of the peptides they found were able to damage and even kill some strains for Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus, and the fungus that causes yeast infections in humans.  These finding suggest that there is potential for development of new antibacterial and antiviral drugs.


About ycpmicro

My name is David Singleton, and I am an Associate Professor of Microbiology at York College of Pennsylvania. My main course is BIO230, a course taken by allied-health students at YCP. Views on this site are my own.

Posted on April 18, 2011, in Guest Post, Microbes in the News and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I agree with there finding they have the potential of developing new antibacterial and antiviral drugs. the reason why is because theses antimicrobial peptides are potent and demonstrate therapeutic agents which also demostrate to kill gram positive and gram negative. so this could make new antibacterial and antiviral drugs but it can also make them harmful for cells.

  2. I am glad that this study is out. These antimicrobial peptides could possibly treat resistant strains of Stap, E. coli, and other bacteria. Who knows of all the possibilities with these new found peptides. Of course, more research will need to be done to see the exact effects of the peptides on bacterial infections in humans, so no serious harm is done to us.

  3. I would imagine that purification of these peptides from frogs will be laborious. The biochemical preparation will need large amounts of starting material (many frogs) to yield sufficient amounts to chemically identify it. Consequently, I think it will be unlikely that we will see “frog farms” to make these compounds. It would likely be much more fruitful to either 1) synthesize these compounds in the laboratory (e.g. like a synthetic antimicrobial,) or 2) use genetic engineering to make bacteria synthesize these compounds for us. In this blog posting from last semester, I described a research finding where bacteria were being used to make erythromycin, an antibiotic normally made by a fungus. Engineering the bacterium to make this compound turned out to be a really tough endeavor though!

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