, Volume 154, Issue 4, pp 639-647

Expression of mouse beta-defensin-3 in MDCK cells and its anti-influenza-virus activity

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Influenza (flu) pandemics have presented a threat to human health in the past century. Because of outbreaks of avian flu in humans in some developing countries in recent years, humans are more eager to find a way to control flu. Mammalian beta-defensins (β-defensins) are associated primarily with mucosal and skin innate immunity. Previous studies have demonstrated antimicrobial properties of a variety of defensin peptides. We have identified the presence of mouse β-defensin 1, 2, and 3 genes (Mbd-1, 2, and 3) in trachea and lung tissues by RT-PCR before and after infection with influenza virus. We constructed a eukaryotic expression plasmid containing Mbd-3, pcDNA 3.1(+)/MBD-3, and the plasmid was introduced into Madin–Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells by transfection. The expression of Mbd-3 in MDCK cells was verified by immunofluorescence test, RT-PCR, and Western blot. The pcDNA 3.1(+)/MBD-3 plasmid was injected into mice to observe its effect against influenza A virus (IAV) in vivo. Mouse β-defensin genes could be expressed in trachea and lung tissues before IAV infection, but expression of Mbd-2 and Mbd-3 was increased significantly after IAV infection. The survival rate of mice with MBD-3 against IAV challenge was 71.43%, and MDCK cells with MBD-3 could clearly inhibit IAV replication. The results demonstrated that mouse β-defensins possess anti-influenza virus activity, suggesting that mouse β-defensins might be used as agents to prevent and treat influenza.