Peptide and protein pheromones in amphibians

Sakaé Kikuyama*, Kazutoshi Yamamoto, Takeo Iwata, Fumiyo Toyoda

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    61 Citations (Scopus)


    Purification, characterization and biological activity of urodele and anuran sex-pheromones were reviewed. Female-attracting pheromones obtained from the abdominal gland of Cynops pyrrhogaster and C. ensicauda males are peptides consisting of 10 amino acid residues being designated sodefrin and silefrin, respectively. Each pheromone attracted only conspecific females. Molecular cloning of cDNAs encoding sodefrin and silefrin revealed that both are generated from precursor proteins. Synthesis of these pheromones is regulated by prolactin (PRL) and androgen. Responsiveness of the female vomeronasal epithelium to sodefrin is enhanced by PRL and estrogen. The submandibular gland of the male terrestrial salamander, Plethodon jardani secretes a 22-kD proteinaceous pheromone that enhances female receptivity. It was revealed that every salamander synthesizes multiple isoforms of this pheromone, Plethodontid receptivity factor. The magnificent tree frog, Litoria splendida breed in an aquatic environment. The skin glands of the male secrete a female-attracting peptide pheromone, splendipherin, comprising 25 amino acid residues. The significance of the structure of the amphibian sex-pheromone as peptide and protein is discussed in terms of their species specificity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)69-74
    Number of pages6
    JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - B Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • Abdominal gland
    • Courtship behavior
    • Frog
    • Mating behavior
    • Newt
    • Salamander
    • Sex-pheromone
    • Skin gland

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry
    • Physiology


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