Toad’s brain too contain potent germ-fighters

April 14th, 2011 - 6:12 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, April 14 (ANI): Scientists have long known that frog and toad skins contain hundreds of germ-fighting substances.

Now, a new study has revealed that the toad brains also may contain an abundance of antibacterial and antiviral substances that could inspire a new generation of medicines.

Ren Lai and colleagues point out that scientists know little about the germ-fighting proteins in amphibian brains, despite many studies showing that amphibians synthesize and secrete a remarkably diverse array of antimicrobial substances in their skin.

So they analyzed brains from the Giant Fire-Bellied Toad and the Small-webbed Bell Toad.

They discovered 79 different antimicrobial peptides, the components of proteins, including 59 that were totally new to science.

The diversity of the peptides “is, to our knowledge, the most extreme yet described for any animal brains,” they noted.

Some of the peptides showed strong antimicrobial activity, crippling or killing strains of staph bacteria, E. coli, and the fungus that causes yeast infections in humans.

The research is promising as it implies that the toad’s brain could turn out to be a valuable source of antiviral and anti bacterial drugs.

The finding is reported in ACS’s Journal of Proteome Research. (ANI)

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