Identification of eNAP-1, an antimicrobial peptide from equine neutrophils

M. A. Couto, S. S L Harwig, James S Cullor, J. P. Hughes, R. I. Lehrer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Endogenous, cysteine-rich antimicrobial peptides known as defensins are prominent components of human, rabbit, and rat neutrophils, yet little is known about their occurrence in other mammalian species. Although we did not detect mature (i.e., processed) defensins in equine neutrophil granules, we found that these granules contained small amounts of other cysteine-rich peptides with antimicrobial activity. One of these, eNAP-1, was purified by a combination of gel permeation and reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography from acid extracts prepared from the cytoplasmic granules of equine neutrophils. The molecular mass of eNAP-1 was approximately 7.2 kDa, as determined by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis. Amino acid analysis revealed that eNAP-1 had an unusually high cysteine content and that it was relatively enriched in alanine, glycine, lysine, and proline residues. The partial (N-terminal) amino acid sequence of eNAP-1 was DVQCGEGHFCHDXQTCCRASQGGXACCPYSQGVCCADQRHCCPVGF. Thirty-six of these residues (78.3%) were identical to those of a recently cloned human neutrophil peptide of unknown function and belonging to the granulin family. Homologous peptides have also been noted in rat bone marrow cells and rat kidney epithelins. We tested the ability of eNAP-1 to kill several equine uterine pathogens. Streptococcus zooepidemicus was killed most effectively, sustaining a >99.8% decrease in CFU per milliliter after a 2-h exposure to 100 μg of eNAP-1 per ml (~15 μM). Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were somewhat less susceptible, manifesting 87.0 and 87.1% mean decreases in CFU per milliliter, respectively, after incubation for 2 h with 200 μg of eNAP-1 per ml. Klebsiella pneumoniae numbers were not significantly reduced after exposure to eNAP-1. These antimicrobial properties suggest that eNAP-1 may contribute to phagocyte-mediated host defense against equine infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3065-3071
Number of pages7
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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