Antimicrobial peptides are present in immune and host defense cells of the human respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts.
ABSTRACT Previous studies have implicated antimicrobial peptides in the host defense of the mammalian intestinal and respiratory tract. The aim of the present study has been to characterize further the expression of these molecules in non-epithelial cells of the human pulmonary and digestive systems by detailed immunohistochemical analysis of the small and large bowel and of the large airways and lung parenchyma. Additionally, cells obtained from bronchoalveolar lavage were analyzed by fluorescent activated cell sorting and immunostaining of cytospin preparations. hBD-1, hBD-2, and LL-37 were detected in lymphocytes and macrophages in the large airways, lung parenchyma, duodenum, and colon. Lymphocytes positive for the peptides revealed a staining pattern and distribution that largely matched that of CD3-positive and CD8-positive T-cells. Macrophages with positive staining for the antimicrobial peptides also stained positively for CD68 and CD74. In view of the morphology of the LL-37-positive and hBD-2-positive mucosal lymphocytes, they are probably also B-cells. Thus, antimicrobial peptides of the defensin and cathelicidin families are present in a variety of non-epithelial cells of mucosal organs. These findings confirm that antimicrobial peptides have multiple functions in the biology of the mucosa of these organs.
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ABSTRACT: PR-39, a proline/arginine-rich peptide antibiotic, has been purified from pig intestine and later shown to originate in the bone marrow. Intending to isolate a clone for a human counterpart to PR-39, we synthesized a PCR probe derived from the PR-39 gene. However, when this probe was used to screen a human bone marrow cDNA library, eight clones were obtained with information for another putative human peptide antibiotic, designated FALL-39 after the first four residues. FALL-39 is a 39-residue peptide lacking cysteine and tryptophan. All human peptide antibiotics previously isolated (or predicted) belong to the defensin family and contain three disulfide bridges. The clone for prepro-FALL-39 encodes a cathelin-like precursor protein with 170 amino acid residues. We have postulated a dibasic processing site for the mature FALL-39 and chemically synthesized the putative peptide. In basal medium E, synthetic FALL-39 was highly active against Escherichia coli and Bacillus megaterium. Residues 13-34 in FALL-39 can be predicted to form a perfect amphiphatic helix, and CD spectra showed that medium E induced 30% helix formation in FALL-39. RNA blot analyses disclosed that the gene for FALL-39 is expressed mainly in human bone marrow and testis.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/1995; 92(1):195-9. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Innate immunity serves as a first line defense in vertebrate organisms by providing an initial barrier to microorganisms and triggering antigen-specific responses. Antimicrobial peptides are thought to be effectors of innate immunity through their antibiotic activity and direct killing of microorganisms. Evidence to support this hypothesis in vertebrates is indirect, based on expression profiles and in vitro assays using purified peptides. Here we investigated the function of antimicrobial peptides in vivo using mice deficient in an antimicrobial peptide, mouse beta-defensin-1 (mBD-1). We find that loss of mBD-1 results in delayed clearance of Haemophilus influenzae from lung. These data demonstrate directly that antimicrobial peptides of vertebrates provide an initial block to bacteria at epithelial surfaces.Infection and Immunity 07/2002; 70(6):3068-72. · 4.07 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Multicellular organisms live, by and large, harmoniously with microbes. The cornea of the eye of an animal is almost always free of signs of infection. The insect flourishes without lymphocytes or antibodies. A plant seed germinates successfully in the midst of soil microbes. How is this accomplished? Both animals and plants possess potent, broad-spectrum antimicrobial peptides, which they use to fend off a wide range of microbes, including bacteria, fungi, viruses and protozoa. What sorts of molecules are they? How are they employed by animals in their defence? As our need for new antibiotics becomes more pressing, could we design anti-infective drugs based on the design principles these molecules teach us?Nature 02/2002; 415(6870):389-95. · 38.60 Impact Factor