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Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2001 Mar;8(2):370-5.

Rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) mucosal antimicrobial peptides are close homologues of human molecules.

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Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik I, Hospital of the University of Munich, Campus Grosshadern, Schwerpunkt Pneumologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Marchioninstr. 15, 81377 Munich, Germany.


One component of host defense at mucosal surfaces appears to be epithelium-derived antimicrobial peptides. Molecules of the defensin and cathelicidin families have been studied in several species, including human and mouse. We describe in this report the identification and characterization of rhesus monkey homologues of human mucosal antimicrobial peptides. Using reverse transcriptase PCR methodology, we cloned the cDNAs of rhesus monkey beta-defensin 1 and 2 (rhBD-1 and rhBD-2) and rhesus monkey LL-37/CAP-18 (rhLL-37/rhCAP-18). The predicted amino acid sequences showed a high degree of homology to the human molecules. The expression of the monkey antimicrobial peptides was analyzed using immunohistochemistry with three polyclonal antibodies to the human molecules. As in humans, rhesus monkey antimicrobial peptides are expressed in epithelia of various organs. The present study demonstrates that beta-defensins and cathelicidins of rhesus monkeys are close homologues to the human molecules and indicate that nonhuman primates represent valid model organisms to study innate immune functions.

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