Conformational analysis of the frog skin peptide, plasticin-L1, and its effects on production of proinflammatory cytokines by macrophages

Mariano A. Scorciapino, Giorgia Manzo, Andrea C. Rinaldi, Roberta Sanna, Mariano Casu, Jelena M. Pantic, Miodrag L. Lukic, J. Michael Conlon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Plasticin-L1 (GLVNGLLSSVLGGGQGGGGLLGGIL) is a conformationally flexible glycine/leucine-rich peptide originally isolated from norepinephrine-stimulated skin secretions of the South-American Santa Fe frog Leptodactylus laticeps (Leptodactylidae). A nuclear magnetic resonance/molecular dynamics characterization of plasticin-L1 in the presence of dodecylphosphocholine (DPC) and DPC/sodium dodecylsulphate micelles as membrane-mimetic models showed that the peptide has affinity for both neutral and anionic membranes. The peptide adopts a stable helical conformation at the N-terminal region and a more disordered helix at the C-terminal region, separated by an unstructured loop wherein the highest number of glycines is localized. In both micelle environments, plasticin-L1 slowly inserts between the detergent head groups but always remains localized at the micelle/water interface. Plasticin-L1 lacks direct antimicrobial activity but stimulates cytokine production by macrophages. Incubation with plasticin-L1 (20 μg/mL) significantly (P < 0.05) increased the production of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β, IL-12, IL-23, and TNF-α from unstimulated peritoneal macrophages from both C57BL/6 and BALB/C mice. The peptide also increased IL-6 production by unstimulated (P < 0.01) and lipopolysaccharide-stimulated (P < 0.01) macrophages, whereas the effects on production of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 were not significant. These findings suggest that plasticin-L1 may play an immunomodulatory role in vivo by stimulating cytokine production from frog skin macrophages in response to microbial pathogens. This peptide may represent a template for the design of peptides with therapeutic applications as immunostimulatory agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7231-7241
Number of pages11
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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