A member of the cathelicidin family of antimicrobial peptides is produced in the upper airway of the chinchilla and its mRNA expression is altered by common viral and bacterial co-pathogens of otitis media

Glen McGillivary, William C. Ray, Charles L Bevins, Robert S. Munson, Lauren O. Bakaletz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations


Cationic antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), a component of the innate immune system, play a major role in defense of mucosal surfaces against a wide spectrum of microorganisms such as viral and bacterial co-pathogens of the polymicrobial disease otitis media (OM). To further understand the role of AMPs in OM, we cloned a cDNA encoding a cathelicidin homolog (cCRAMP) from upper respiratory tract (URT) mucosae of the chinchilla, the predominant host used to model experimental OM. Recombinant cCRAMP exhibited alpha-helical secondary structure and killed the three main bacterial pathogens of OM. In situ hybridization showed cCRAMP mRNA production in epithelium of the chinchilla Eustachian tube and RT-PCR was used to amplify cCRAMP mRNA from several other tissues of the chinchilla URT. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis of chinchilla middle ear epithelial cells (CMEEs) incubated with either viral (influenza A virus, adenovirus, or RSV) or bacterial (nontypeable H. influenzae, M. catarrhalis, or S. pneumoniae) pathogens associated with OM demonstrated distinct microbe-specific patterns of altered expression. Collectively, these data showed that viruses and bacteria modulate AMP messages in the URT, which likely contributes to the disease course of OM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2446-2458
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Immunology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes



  • Antimicrobial peptide
  • Cathelicidin
  • M. catarrhalis
  • NTHI
  • RSV
  • S. pneumoniae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology

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