Journal of dental research

Structural relationship between human salivary histatins.

PMID 2303595


Histatins are a group of electrophoretically distinct histidine-rich polypeptides with microbicidal activity found in human parotid and submandibular gland secretions. Recently, we have shown that histatins 1, 3, and 5 are homologous proteins that consist of 38, 32, and 24 amino acid residues, respectively, and that these polypeptides kill the pathogenic yeast, Candida albicans. We now describe the isolation and structural characterization of histatins 2, 4, 6, and 7-12, the remaining members of this group of polypeptides. Histatin 2 was found to be identical to the carboxyl terminal 26 residues of histatin 1; histatin 4 was found to be identical to the carboxyl terminal 20 residues of histatin 3; and histatin 6 was found to be identical to histatin 5, but contained an additional carboxyl terminal arginine residue. The amino acid sequences of histatins 7-12 formally correspond to residues 12-24, 13-24, 12-25, 13-25, 5-11, and 5-12, respectively, of histatin 3, but could also arise proteolytically from histatin 5 or 6. These results establish, for the first time, the complete structural relationships between all members of this group of microbicidal proteins in human parotid saliva. The relationship of histatins to one another is discussed in the context of their genetic origin, biosynthesis and secretion into the oral cavity, and potential as reagents in anti-candidal studies.