Original Article

The Journal of Antibiotics (2016) 69, 783–790; doi:10.1038/ja.2016.16; published online 6 April 2016

Frog skin cultures secrete anti-yellow fever compounds

Carolina Muñoz-Camargo1, Margarita Correa Méndez1, Vivian Salazar1, Johanna Moscoso1, Diana Narváez1, Maria Mercedes Torres1, Franz Kaston Florez2, Helena Groot1 and Eduardo Mitrani3

  1. 1Laboratory of Human Genetics, Department of Biological Sciences, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia
  2. 2Fundación Nativa, Bogotá, Colombia
  3. 3Institute of Life Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Givat Ram, Jerusalem, Israel

Correspondence: H Groot, Laboratory of Human Genetics, Department of Biological Sciences, Universidad de los Andes, Cr. 1 Nº 18A-10 Building M1- 2 floor, Bogotá 110321, Colombia. E-mail: hgroot@uniandes.edu.co

Received 20 May 2015; Revised 11 January 2016; Accepted 20 January 2016
Advance online publication 6 April 2016



There is an urgent need to develop novel antimicrobial substances. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are considered as promising candidates for future therapeutic use. Because of the re-emergence of the Flavivirus infection, and particularly the yellow fever virus (YFV), we have compared the antiviral activities from skin secretions of seven different frog species against YFV (strain 17D). Secretions from Sphaenorhynchus lacteus, Cryptobatrachus boulongeri and Leptodactylus fuscus displayed the more powerful activities. S. lacteus was found to inhibit viral lysis of Vero E6 cells even at the highest viral concentration evaluated of 10 LD50. We also report the identification of a novel frenatin-related peptide from S. lacteus and found that this peptide—on its own—can lead to 35% protection against YVF, while displaying no cytotoxicity against somatic cells even at fivefold higher concentrations. These results are attractive and support the need for continued exploration of new sources of AMPs from frog skin secretions such as those described here in the development of new compounds for the treatment of infectious diseases in general and specific viral infections in particular.