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J Biol Chem. 2000 Feb 18;275(7):4549-54.

Isolation, structural characterization, and bioactivity of a novel neuromedin U analog from the defensive skin secretion of the Australasian tree frog, Litoria caerulea.

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Natural Drug Discovery Laboratory, Clinical Medicine, The Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast, BT12 6BJ, Northern Ireland.


We report the isolation of a novel bioactive peptide, neuromedin U-23 (NmU-23), from the defensive skin secretion of the Australasian tree frog, Litoria caerulea. The primary structure of the peptide was established by a combination of microsequencing, mass spectroscopy and site-directed antiserum immunoreactivity as SDEEVQVPGGVISNGYFLFRPRN-amide (M(r) 2580.6). A synthetic replicate of frog NmU-23 displaced monoradioiodinated rat NmU-23 from uterine membranes in a dose-dependent fashion indistinguishable from nonisotopically labeled rat NmU-23. In a rat uterine smooth muscle strip preparation, synthetic frog NmU-23 produced dose-dependent contractions identical to porcine NmU-25. However, in a preparation of human urinary bladder muscle strip, the synthetic frog peptide was more potent than porcine NmU-25 in eliciting contraction and produced desensitization of the preparation to the latter peptide. This report demonstrates that the defensive skin secretion of a frog contains a novel peptide exhibiting a high degree of primary structural similarity to the endogenous vertebrate peptide, NmU, and that this frog skin analog displays biological activity in mammalian tissues.

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