Structural analysis of human beta-defensin-1 and its significance in urinary tract infection

Nephron. 2000 May;85(1):34-40. doi: 10.1159/000045627.


Human beta-defensin-1 (hBD-1) is a 36-amino-acid antimicrobial peptide that functions in the host innate defense. We developed a highly sensitive radioimmunoassay for hBD-1 and identified several hBD-1 peptides in human kidney, urine, and plasma by amino acid sequencing and mass spectrometry. Large quantities of hBD-1 peptides are produced in the kidney, are released into the tubular lumen as 47-amino-acid pro-hBD1, and then undergo proteolytic processing and generate multiple truncated forms. The respective urine and plasma concentrations of hBD-1 in patients with pyelonephritis are 48.1 +/- (SEM) 15.7 pmol/mg creatinine and 2.66 +/- 0.41 pmol/ml, 3.1-fold and 1.8-fold those of normal individuals. hBD-1 is thought to contribute to mucosal defense in the urinary tract. Our findings provide a better understanding of the biosynthesis of this peptide and its pathophysiological significance in infectious diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antibody Affinity
  • Defensins
  • Humans
  • Kidney / chemistry*
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Kidney / microbiology
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Fragments / blood
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry
  • Peptide Fragments / urine
  • Protein Sorting Signals / chemistry
  • Proteins / analysis*
  • Proteins / immunology
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Pyelonephritis / metabolism*
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Urinary Tract Infections / metabolism*
  • beta-Defensins*


  • DEFB1 protein, human
  • Defensins
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Protein Sorting Signals
  • Proteins
  • beta-Defensins