Reduction Impairs the Antibacterial Activity but Benefits the LPS Neutralization Ability of Human Enteric Defensin 5

Sci Rep. 2016 Mar 10;6:22875. doi: 10.1038/srep22875.


Oxidized human defensin 5 (HD5OX), a Paneth cell-secreted antibacterial peptide with three characteristic disulfide bonds, protects the host from invasion by morbigenous microbes in the small intestine. HD5OX can be reduced by thioredoxin (Trx) in vitro, while the biochemical properties of the reduced linear peptide, HD5RED, remain unclear. Here, we first confirm that HD5RED does exist in vivo. Furthermore, we reveal that the recruitment of HD5RED to the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria and to the anionic lipid A is lower than that of HD5OX, and HD5RED is less efficient in penetrating bacterial outer and inner membranes and inducing membrane depolarization, which confers an attenuated antibacterial activity to HD5RED. However, due to its higher structural flexibility, the binding of HD5RED to bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is markedly stronger than that of HD5OX. Consequently, HD5RED is more effective in suppressing the production of the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-α in LPS-stimulated macrophages by blocking the interaction between LPS and LPS-binding protein, thus suggesting that HD5RED might act as a scavenger to neutralize LPS in the gut. This study provides insights into the antibacterial and immunoregulatory effects of HD5RED and expands the known repertoire of the enteric defensins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Proteins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Body Fluids / chemistry
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Ileum / chemistry
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Protein Binding
  • Salmonella typhimurium / drug effects
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • alpha-Defensins / chemistry
  • alpha-Defensins / metabolism*
  • alpha-Defensins / pharmacology


  • Acute-Phase Proteins
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • alpha-Defensins
  • lipopolysaccharide-binding protein