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Purification, primary structure, and antimicrobial activities of a guinea pig neutrophil defensin.

Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


A broad-spectrum antimicrobial peptide present in guinea pig neutrophils was isolated, characterized biochemically, and assessed for microbicidal range and potency in vitro. The guinea pig neutrophil peptide (GPNP) was purified to homogeneity from a granule-rich subcellular fraction of peritoneal exudate neutrophils by gel filtration and reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography. GPNP was microbicidal for selected bacterial, fungal, and viral test organisms at concentrations in the microgram per milliliter range. Composition and primary structure analyses revealed that GPNP was homologous to a recently characterized family of antimicrobial peptides, termed defensins, isolated from rabbit and human neutrophils. The entire amino acid sequence of GPNP was determined, revealing that 8 of 31 residues were among those invariant in six rabbit and three human defensin peptides. The conserved sequence included six disulfide-linked cysteine residues, a common structural feature of defensins. The sequence of GPNP also included three nonconservative substitutions in positions otherwise invariant in the human and rabbit peptides. Characterization of GPNP provides new insight into structural features which may be essential for the broad-spectrum antimicrobial activities of defensins.

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