PloS one

Anti-bacterial activity of recombinant human β-defensin-3 secreted in the milk of transgenic goats produced by somatic cell nuclear transfer.

PMID 23799010


The present study was conducted to determine whether recombinant human β-defensin-3 (rHBD3) in the milk of transgenic goats has an anti-bacterial activity against Escherichia coli (E. coli), Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Streptococcus agalactiae (S. agalactiae) that could cause mastitis. A HBD3 mammary-specific expression vector was transfected by electroporation into goat fetal fibroblasts which were used to produce fourteen healthy transgenic goats by somatic cell nuclear transfer. The expression level of rHBD3 in the milk of the six transgenic goats ranged from 98 to 121 µg/ml at 15 days of lactation, and was maintained at 90-111 µg/ml during the following 2 months. Milk samples from transgenic goats showed an obvious inhibitory activity against E. coli, S. aureus and S. agalactiae in vitro. The minimal inhibitory concentrations of rHBD3 in milk against E. coli, S. aureus and S. agalactiae were 9.5-10.5, 21.8-23.0 and 17.3-18.5 µg/mL, respectively, which was similar to those of the HBD3 standard (P>0.05). The in vivo anti-bacterial activities of rHBD3 in milk were examined by intramammary infusion of viable bacterial inoculums. We observed that 9/10 and 8/10 glands of non-transgenic goats infused with S. aureus and E. coli became infected. The mean numbers of viable bacteria went up to 2.9×10(3) and 95.4×10(3) CFU/ml at 48 h after infusion, respectively; the mean somatic cell counts (SCC) in infected glands reached up to 260.4×10(5) and 622.2×10(5) cells/ml, which were significantly higher than the SCC in uninfected goat glands. In contrast, no bacteria was presented in glands of transgenic goats and PBS-infused controls, and the SSC did not significantly change throughout the period. Moreover, the compositions and protein profiles of milk from transgenic and non-transgenic goats were identical. The present study demonstrated that HBD3 were an effective anti-bacterial protein to enhance the mastitis resistance of dairy animals.