Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 97, Issue 8, pp 3395–3408 | Cite as

Human beta-defensin DEFB126 is capable of inhibiting LPS-mediated inflammation

  • Haiyan Liu
  • Heguo Yu
  • Yihua Gu
  • Aijie Xin
  • Yonglian Zhang
  • Hua DiaoEmail author
  • Donghai LinEmail author
Biotechnological products and process engineering


β-Defensins are cationic, antimicrobial peptides that participate in antimicrobial defense as well as the regulation of innate and adaptive immunity. Human β-defensin 126 (DEFB126) is a multifunctional glycoprotein consisting of a conserved β-defensin core and a unique long glycosylated peptide tail. The long glycosylated peptide tail has been proven to be critical for efficient transport of sperm in the female reproductive tract, preventing their immune recognition, and efficient delivery of capacitated sperm to the site of fertilization. However, the functions of the conserved β-defensin core remain to be fully elucidated. In the present work, the conserved β-defensin core of the DEFB126 was expressed to explore its potential antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities. The DEFB126 core peptide exhibited both high potency for binding and neutralizing lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in vitro, and potent anti-inflammatory ability by down-regulating the mRNA expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines including IL-α, IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α in a murine macrophage cell line RAW264.7. The treatment with the DEFB126 core peptide also led to correspondingly decreased secretion of IL-6 and TNF-α. The blockade of LPS-induced p42/44 and p38 MAPK signal pathway might contribute to the anti-inflammation effects of the DEFB126 core peptide. Furthermore, fluorescence-labeled DEFB126 could enter RAW 264.7 cells and reduce the production of LPS-stimulated inflammatory factors, implying that DEFB126 might also participate in intracellular regulation beyond its direct LPS neutralization. In summary, our results demonstrate that the DEFB 126 core peptide has critical functions in parallel to its C-terminal tail by showing LPS-binding activity, anti-inflammatory effects and intracellular regulatory function.


Defensin 126 LPS Anti-inflammatory Cytokines RAW264.7 



This study was supported by Natural Science Foundation of China (Project Nos. 31101030, 91129713, 31170717, 30900233). Professor Xiangfu Wu (Chinese Academy of Sciences, China) is greatly acknowledged for the provision of E. coli K12D31, professor Guanghua Huang (Chinese Academy of Sciences, China) for C. albicans and professor YuanKang Ye (Tongji Hospital, China) for S. aureus. We thank Dr. Jing Hou for improving the text (language) of this report.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that would prejudice the impartiality of this work.

Supplementary material

253_2012_4588_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (176 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 175 kb)

(MPG 19458 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life Science and TechnologyChina Pharmaceutical UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.NPFPC Key Laboratory of Contraceptives and DevicesShanghai Institute of Planned Parenthood ResearchShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Shanghai Key Laboratory for Molecular Andrology, State Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiChina
  4. 4.Key Laboratory for Chemical Biology of Fujian Province, College of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringXiamen UniversityXiamenChina

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