Issue Date: April 24, 2017
Frog mucus peptide kills flu virus
The slimy mucus that coats the skin of an Indian frog contains peptides that destroy the H1 influenza virus, according to a team of researchers led by Joshy Jacob of Emory University. One of these flu-killing peptides appears to be harmless to human cells, making it a promising antiviral candidate to fight the flu (Immunity 2017, DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2017.03.018). The slimy surface of Hydrophylax bahuvistara and other amphibians could become a siren call for researchers searching for antimicrobial compounds. The mucus contains many molecules that protect the animals against bacterial and viral pathogens, and the slime is relatively easy to isolate: Researchers need to just give the frogs a small electric shock, collect the released mucus, and let the amphibians hop away. Jacob’s team focused on one 23-amino-acid peptide, which the researchers named urumin after a deadly whip sword found in the same region as the frog’s native habitat. Most antiviral drugs interfere in a biological process such as replication or infection; urumin appears to smash the viral capsid to smithereens.
- Chemical & Engineering News
- ISSN 0009-2347
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