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Kidney international

Ribonuclease 7, an antimicrobial peptide upregulated during infection, contributes to microbial defense of the human urinary tract.


PMID 23302724

Abstract

The mechanisms that maintain sterility in the urinary tract are incompletely understood; however, recent studies stress the importance of antimicrobial peptides in protecting the urinary tract from infection. Ribonuclease 7 (RNase 7), a potent antimicrobial peptide contributing to urinary tract sterility, is expressed by intercalated cells in the renal collecting tubules and is present in the urine at levels sufficient to kill bacteria at baseline. Here, we characterize the expression and function of RNase 7 in the human urinary tract during infection. Both quantitative real-time PCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbant assays demonstrated increases in RNASE7 expression in the kidney along with kidney and urinary RNase 7 peptide concentrations with infection. While immunostaining localized RNase 7 production to the intercalated cells of the collecting tubule during sterility, its expression during pyelonephritis was found to increase throughout the nephron but not in glomeruli or the interstitium. Recombinant RNase 7 exhibited antimicrobial activity against uropathogens at low micromolar concentrations by disrupting the microbial membrane as determined by atomic force microscopy. Thus, RNase 7 expression is increased in the urinary tract with infection and has antibacterial activity against uropathogens at micromolar concentrations.