De novo sequencing of peptides from the parotid secretion of the cane toad, Bufo marinus (Rhinella marina)

Lachlan D. Rash, Rodrigo A.V. Morales, Simone Vink, Paul F Alewood

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25 Citations (Scopus)


Amphibian skin secretions are well known as a rich source of bioactive peptides. However, little is known about the presence or role of peptides in the highly toxic, parotid secretion of the cane toad or giant toad, Bufo marinus (Rhinella marina), though small molecule bufadienolides, which act as potent cardiotoxins, have been described. In the current study we used RP-HPLC, MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry and tandem mass spectrometry to analyze and determine the first sequences of peptides from the parotid secretion of B. marinus. We show that peptides in the range of 900-2500 Da are indeed present, however in extremely low abundance. Despite the low abundance, the sequences of 14 peptides were determined, several of which match fragments of larger cellular proteins, yet none share substantial homology with defensive or anti-microbial peptides reported from frog skin secretions. We conclude that peptides are present in the parotid glands of B. marinus only in very low quantities and that they are likely to be breakdown products of proteins involved in cell maintenance. Given these results, we conclude that peptides are unlikely to contribute directly to the high toxicity of the cane toad.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-216
Number of pages9
JournalToxicon : official journal of the International Society on Toxinology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • De novo sequencing
  • Parotid secretion
  • Peptide
  • Rhinella marina

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