A mechanistic evaluation of human beta defensin 2 mediated protection of human skin barrier in vitro

Jennifer R. Shelley, Brian J. Mchugh, Jimi Wills, Julia R. Dorin, Richard Weller, David J. Clarke, Donald J. Davidson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The human skin barrier, a biological imperative, is impaired in inflammatory skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis (AD). Staphylococcus aureus is associated with AD lesions and contributes to pathological inflammation and further barrier impairment. S. aureus secretes extracellular proteases, such as V8 (or ‘SspA’), which cleave extracellular proteins to reduce skin barrier. Previous studies
demonstrated that the host defence peptide human beta-defensin 2 (HBD2) prevented V8-mediated damage. Here, the mechanism of HBD2-mediated barrier protection in vitro is examined. Application of exogenous HBD2 provided protection against V8, irrespective of timeline of application or native peptide folding, raising the prospect of simple peptide analogues as therapeutics. HBD2 treatment, in context of V8-mediated damage, modulated the proteomic/secretomic profiles of HaCaT cells, altering levels of specific extracellular matrix proteins, potentially recovering V8 damage. However, HBD2 alone did not substantially modulate cellular proteomic/secretomics profiles in the absence of damage, suggesting possible therapeutic targeting of lesion damage sites only. HBD2 did not show any direct protease inhibition or induce expression of known antiproteases, did not alter keratinocyte migration or proliferation, or form protective nanonet structures. These data validate the barrier-protective properties of HBD2 in vitro and establish key protein datasets for further targeted
mechanistic analyses.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2271
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2023


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