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Frogs skin gives researchers the hop on bacteria

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Skin secretions found in Australian frogs may hold the key to designing powerful new antibiotics that are not prone to bacterial resistance in humans, say researchers.


Antimicrobial peptides (small proteins) found in skin secretions are used by frogs to help fight bacterial infections.

Scientists working at the University of Melbourne and at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) are studying this naturally occurring process at the atomic level and hope it could lead to an alternative to commonly used antibiotics for fighting hospital-acquired infections like Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA).

Using a time-of-flight neutron reflectometer housed at ANSTO’s OPAL reactor named Platypus, Post Doctoral Research Fellow Dr Anton Le Brun and a research team from Melbourne University led by Professor Frances Separovic are observing the action of antimicrobial peptides from Australian tree frogs in model bacterial membranes.

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