Collagen VI Contains Multiple Host Defense Peptides with Potent In Vivo Activity

J Immunol. 2018 Aug 1;201(3):1007-1020. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1700602. Epub 2018 Jun 20.


Collagen VI is a ubiquitous extracellular matrix component that forms extensive microfibrillar networks in most connective tissues. In this study, we describe for the first time, to our knowledge, that the collagen VI von Willebrand factor type A-like domains exhibit a broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria in human skin infections in vivo. In silico sequence and structural analysis of VWA domains revealed that they contain cationic and amphipathic peptide sequence motifs, which might explain the antimicrobial nature of collagen VI. In vitro and in vivo studies show that these peptides exhibited significant antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa through membrane disruption. Our findings shed new light on the role of collagen VI-derived peptides in innate host defense and provide templates for development of peptide-based antibacterial therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / immunology*
  • Bacteria / immunology
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology
  • Collagen Type VI / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology
  • Peptides / immunology*
  • Protein Domains / immunology
  • Skin / immunology
  • Skin / microbiology
  • Skin Diseases, Bacterial / immunology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Collagen Type VI
  • Peptides