Mouse beta-defensin 1 is a salt-sensitive antimicrobial peptide present in epithelia of the lung and urogenital tract

Infect Immun. 1998 Mar;66(3):1225-32. doi: 10.1128/IAI.66.3.1225-1232.1998.


One component of host defense at mucosal surfaces appears to be epithelium-derived peptides with antimicrobial activity called defensins. Human beta-defensin 1 (hBD-1) represents the first member of the beta-defensin family isolated from humans and has been implicated in the pathogenesis of cystic fibrosis. We describe in this report the isolation and characterization of a murine homolog of hBD-1 called mouse beta-defensin 1 (mBD-1). The predicted amino acid sequence shows the hallmark features of other known epithelial beta-defensins, including the ordered array of six cysteine residues. Analysis of a genomic clone of mBD-1 revealed two exons separated by a 15-kb intron. By use of fluorescence in situ hybridization, the mBD-1 gene was localized at the proximal portion of chromosome 8, the site where mouse alpha-defensins are found. Lysates from cells transfected with the mBD-1 cDNA showed antibacterial activity against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. mBD-1 transcripts were found in kidney, liver, and female reproductive organ tissues. In the airways, mBD-1 is expressed diffusely throughout the epithelial cells of the large proximal airways with less expression in the small distal airways and no expression in alveolar cells. The present study demonstrates that a beta-defensin potentially homologous to human beta-defensin 1 is present in the respiratory system and other mucosal surfaces in mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / analysis*
  • Base Sequence
  • Blood Proteins / analysis*
  • Blood Proteins / genetics
  • Blood Proteins / physiology
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Defensins
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Urogenital System / immunology*
  • beta-Defensins*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Blood Proteins
  • DEFB1 protein, human
  • Defensins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • beta-Defensins