Inactivation of frog virus 3 and channel catfish virus by esculentin-2P and ranatuerin-2P, two antimicrobial peptides isolated from frog skin.


While it is clear that some amphibian populations have recently experienced precipitous declines, the causes of those die-offs are complex and likely involve multiple variables. One theory suggests that environmental factors may trigger events that result in depressed immune function and increased susceptibility to infectious disease. Here we examine one aspect of innate immunity in amphibians and show that esculentin-2P (E2P) and ranatuerin-2P (R2P), two antimicrobial peptides isolated from Rana pipiens, inactivate frog virus 3, a potentially pathogenic iridovirus infecting anurans, and channel catfish herpesvirus. In contrast to mammalian antimicrobial peptides, E2P and R2P act within minutes, at temperatures as low as 0 degrees C, to inhibit viral infectivity. Moreover, these compounds appear to inactivate the virus directly and do not act by inhibiting replication in infected cells. This is the first report linking amphibian antimicrobial peptides with protection from an amphibian viral pathogen and suggests that these compounds may play a role in maintaining amphibian health.