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FEBS Lett. 2001 Aug 24;504(1-2):5-10.

Calcitermin, a novel antimicrobial peptide isolated from human airway secretions.

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Department of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


The human airways are protected from pathogenic colonization by a blanket of fluid impregnated with innate antimicrobial effector molecules. Among several previously uncharacterized components, we isolated a peptide that had activity primarily targeting Gram-negative bacteria. We named the peptide 'calcitermin' since its amino acid sequence and mass were equivalent to the 15 C-terminal residues of the S100 protein, calgranulin C. The antimicrobial activity of calcitermin was enhanced in acidic buffers (pH 5.4) and in the presence of micromolar concentrations of ZnCl(2). Analysis revealed a putative zinc-binding consensus sequence as well as an alpha-helical conformation in structure-promoting solvents.

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