Cathelicidins are small cationic antimicrobial peptides found in many species including primates, mammals, marsupials, birds and even more primitive vertebrates, such as the hagfish. Some animals encode multiple cathelicidins in their genome, whereas others have only one. This report identifies and characterizes feline cathelicidin (feCath) as the sole cathelicidin in domestic cats (Felis catus). Expression of feCath is predominantly found in the bone marrow, with lower levels of expression in the gastrointestinal tract and skin. By immunocytochemistry, feCath localizes to the cytoplasm of neutrophils in feline peripheral blood. Structurally, the mature feCath sequence is most similar to a subgroup of cathelicidins that form linear α-helices. feCath possesses antimicrobial activity against E. coli D31, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (IR715), Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (clinical isolate) similar to that of the human ortholog, LL-37. In contrast, feCath lacks the DNA binding activity seen with LL-37. Given its similarity in sequence, structure, tissue expression, and antimicrobial activity, the cathelicidin encoded by cats, feCath, belongs to the subgroup of linear cathelicidins found not only in humans, but also non-human primates, dogs, mice, and rats.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)