Production of active bovine tracheal antimicrobial peptide in milk of transgenic mice

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Nov 26;93(24):14118-21. doi: 10.1073/pnas.93.24.14118.


Tracheal antimicrobial peptide (TAP) is a member of the beta-defensin family of antibiotic peptides found in the tracheal mucosa of the cow. TAP gene expression in the bovine airway is inducible by lipopolysaccharide and inflammatory mediators, suggesting that it functions to protect the upper airway from infection. Limited availability of bovine TAP (bTAP) has precluded investigation of its potential utility in agriculture and medicine. To overcome this problem, transgenic mice expressing bTAP using an expression vector driven by control sequences from the murine whey acidic protein (WAP) gene have been generated. The WAP/bTAP transcript was detected in RNA isolated from mammary tissue of transgenic females. bTAP was purified to homogeneity from milk via acid precipitation, reverse-phase HPLC, and ion-exchange chromatography. This milk-derived bTAP had antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli. Amino-terminal peptide sequencing confirmed the identity of this material as a bTAP isoform. bTAP available from a mammary gland bioreactor will allow evaluation of bTAP for use as an antibiotic in agriculture and medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides*
  • Cattle
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cytotoxins / biosynthesis*
  • Cytotoxins / genetics
  • Cytotoxins / toxicity
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Milk / physiology*
  • Mucous Membrane / physiology
  • Peptide Biosynthesis*
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Peptides / genetics
  • Trachea / physiology
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Cytotoxins
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Peptides
  • tracheal antimicrobial peptide, bovine