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Antimicrobial peptides in frog poisons constitute a molecular toxin delivery system against predators

Authors
  • Raaymakers, Constantijn
  • Verbrugghe, Elin
  • Hernot, Sophie
  • Hellebuyck, Tom
  • Betti, Cecilia
  • Peleman, Cindy
  • Claeys, Myriam
  • Bert, Wim
  • Caveliers, Vicky
  • Ballet, Steven
  • Martel, An
  • Pasmans, Frank
  • Roelants, Kim
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2017
Source
Ghent University Institutional Archive
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown
External links

Abstract

Animals using toxic peptides and proteins for predation or defense typically depend on specialized morphological structures, like fangs, spines, or a stinger, for effective intoxication. Here we show that amphibian poisons instead incorporate their own molecular system for toxin delivery to attacking predators. Skin-secreted peptides, generally considered part of the amphibian immune system, permeabilize oral epithelial tissue and enable fast access of cosecreted toxins to the predator's bloodstream and organs. This absorption-enhancing system exists in at least three distantly related frog lineages and is likely to be a widespread adaptation, determining the outcome of predator-prey encounters in hundreds of species.

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