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J Immunol Methods. 1991 Mar 21;137(2):167-73.

Ultrasensitive assays for endogenous antimicrobial polypeptides.

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Department of Medicine, UCLA Center for the Health Sciences 90024.


We developed two sensitive methods for identifying antimicrobial molecules in leukocytes and other tissues. One method uses a gel overlay technique and was designed to identify antimicrobial polypeptides in samples subjected to polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The other, a radial diffusion assay, allows multiple fractions obtained by chromatographic procedures to be tested for antimicrobial activity conveniently. When we used E. coli ML-35p or Salmonella typhimurium 14028S as test organisms in the radial diffusion assay, we routinely detected 5-10 ng of rabbit defensin NP-1 in 5 microliters of sample. With minor modifications, both methods can be applied to other organisms, including Gram-positive bacteria, several Candida species and Cryptococcus neoformans.

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