We cloned a second human beta-defensin gene, HBD-2, and determined its gene structure and expression in inflamed tissue sections. The entire gene spanned about 2 kb with two small exons and one intron. Radiation hybrid studies confirmed the location on chromosome 8p, were consistent with the order HNP-1, HBD-1 and HBD-2, and located HBD-2 as the most centromeric of the genes. By three-color fluorescence in situ hybridization on both free chromatin fiber mapping and interphase mapping, HBD-1, HBD-2 and HNP-1 were mapped to chromosome 8p23. HBD-1 was within 40-100kb of HNP-1, while HBD-2 was about 500-600 kb from HBD-1, with the most likely order HNP-1, HBD-1, HBD-2. The expression of HBD-2 was locally regulated by inflammation. HBD-2 mRNA was markedly increased in the epidermis surrounding inflamed regions, but not detectable in adjacent non-inflamed areas, a distribution that was confirmed at the peptide level by immunostaining with HBD-2 antibody. The HBD-2 gene is the first member of the human defensin family that is locally inducible by inflammation.