We have purified and determined the amino acid sequence of cryptdin-1, a murine Paneth cell defensin. The peptide corresponds to a previously characterized mRNA that accumulates to high abundance during postnatal ontogeny of the small bowel. Acid-extracted intestinal protein was fractionated by cation-exchange chromatography and fractions were assayed for antimicrobial activity. One peak of anti-Salmonella activity contained a putative defensin, based on its predicted electrophoretic migration in acid-urea PAGE. The peptide was purified to homogeneity by RP-HPLC and sequenced. These studies demonstrate defensin expression in non-myeloid tissue. The N-terminal extension of cryptdin-1 is a unique structural feature of this novel epithelial defensin.