Beta-defensins constitute an emerging family of cysteine-rich antimicrobial peptides, which are particularly prominent at mucosal epithelial sites in mammals. Here we report the identification of a novel beta-defensin from porcine tissues, porcine beta-defensin-1 (pBD-1). The cDNA sequence of pBD-1 encoded a 64 amino acid prepro-peptide, which contained the beta-defensin consensus sequence of six invariantly spaced cysteine residues. Northern blot analysis showed that pBD-1 was expressed abundantly in tongue epithelia and that the expression was regulated developmentally. Using RT-PCR, pBD-1 mRNA was detected throughout the respiratory and digestive tracts and also in thymus, spleen, lymph node, brain, liver, kidney, urinary bladder, testis, skin, heart, muscle, bone marrow, peripheral blood neutrophils, alveolar macrophages, and umbilical cord. The wide expression of pBD-1 suggests that this endogenous peptide antibiotic may contribute to both mucosal and systemic host defenses in pigs, which may have implications for the use of porcine tissues and organs in xenotransplantation.