Skin secretions of some frogs may help protect them from drug-resistant microbes via novel antimicrobial peptides.

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"Skin secretions from many species of anurans (frogs and toads) are a rich source of peptides with broad-spectrum antimicrobial activities that may be developed into agents with therapeutic potential, particularly for topical applications." (Conlon & Sonnevend 2010:3)

"Scientistsreported that frog skin contains natural substances that could be the basis for a powerful new genre of antibiotics

"Michael Conlon, Ph.D., who reported on the research, noted that the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria, which have the ability to shrug off conventional antibiotics, is a growing problem worldwide. As a result, patients need new types of antibiotics to replace drugs that no longer work.

"'Frog skin is an excellent potential source of such antibiotic agents,' said Conlon, a biochemist at the United Arab Emirates University in Al-Ain, Abu Dhabi Emirate. 'They've been around 300 million years, so they've had plenty of time to learn how to defend themselves against disease-causing microbes in the environment. Their own environment includes polluted waterways where strong defenses against pathogens are a must.'

"The scientists are currently screening skin secretions from more than 6,000 species of frogs for antibiotic activity. So far, they have purified and determined the chemical structure of barely 200, leaving a potential bonanza of antibiotic substances awaiting discovery

"One substance isolated from the skin secretions of the Foothill Yellow-legged Frog — a species once common in California and Oregon but now facing extinction — shows promise for killing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria. MRSA is a 'superbug,' infamous for causing deadly outbreaks of infection among hospitalized patients. Now it is occurring in settings outside hospitals, including schools, nursing homes, and day care centers.

"The skin of the mink frog, likewise, contains secretions that show promise for fighting 'Iraqibacter,' caused by multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumanni.

"Some of the substances could make their way into clinical trials within the next five years, Conlon predicted." (EurekAlert! 2010)

Journal article
Antimicrobial Peptides in Frog Skin SecretionsMethods in Molecular BiologyJanuary 21, 2010
J. Michael Conlon, Agnes Sonnevend

Frog skin may provide 'kiss of death' for antibiotic-resistant germs

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Mink FrogRana septentrionalisSpecies

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