PLoS pathogens

Ubiquitously expressed Human Beta Defensin 1 (hBD1) forms bacteria-entrapping nets in a redox dependent mode of action.

PMID 28323883


Ever since the discovery of endogenous host defense antimicrobial peptides it has been discussed how these evolutionary conserved molecules avoid to induce resistance and to remain effective. Human ß-defensin 1 (hBD1) is an ubiquitously expressed endogenous antimicrobial peptide that exhibits qualitatively distinct activities between its oxidized and reduced forms. Here, we explore these antimicrobial mechanisms. Surprisingly, using electron microscopy we detected a so far unknown net-like structure surrounding bacteria, which were treated with the reduced but not the oxidized form of hBD1. A transmigration assay demonstrated that hBD1-derived nets capture bacteria and inhibit bacterial transmigration independent of bacterial killing. The presence of nets could completely prevent migration of hBD1 resistant pathogens and are stable in the presence of human duodenal secretion with a high amount of proteases. In contrast to HD6, cysteins are necessary for net formation. This redox-dependent function serves as an additional mechanism of action for hBD1 and differs from net formation by other defensins such as Paneth cell-derived human α-defensin 6 (HD6). While hBD1red and hBD1ox have distinct antimicrobial profiles and functions, only the reduced form provides additional host protection by entrapping bacteria in extracellular net structures preventing bacterial invasion. Better understanding of the modes of action of endogenous host peptides will help to find new antimicrobial strategies.

Related Materials

Product #



Molecular Formula

Add to Cart

Bis(1,3-dibutylbarbituric acid) trimethine oxonol, ≥95% (HPLC)