Gene expression of AvBD6-10 in broiler chickens is independent of AvBD6, 9, and 10 peptide potency

Catherine A Mowbray, Sherko S Niranji, Kevin Cadwell, Richard A. Bailey, Kellie A Watson, Judith Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Avian β-defensin (AvBD) gene cluster contains fourteen genes; within this, two groups (AvBD6/7 and AvBD8 -10) encode charged peptides of >+5 (AvBD6/7), indicative of potent microbial killing activities, and ≤+4 (AvBD8-10), suggestive of reduced antimicrobial activities. Chicken broiler gut tissues are constantly exposed to microbes in the form of commensal bacteria. This study examined whether tissue expression patterns of AvBD6-10 reflected microbial exposure and the encoded peptides a functional antimicrobial hierarchy. Gut AvBD6-10 gene expression was observed in hatch to day 21 birds, although the AvBD8-10 profiles were eclipsed by those detected in the liver and kidney tissues. In vitro challenges of chicken CHCC-OU2 cells using the gut commensal Lactobacillus johnsonii (104 CFU) did not significantly affect AvBD8-10 gene expression patterns, although upregulation (P < 0.05) of IL-Iβ gene expression was observed. Similarly, in response to Bacteriodes doreii, IL-Iβ and IL-6 gene upregulation were detected (P < 0.05), but AvBD10 gene expression remained unaffected. These data suggested that AvBD8-10 gene expression was not induced by commensal gut bacteria. Bacterial time-kill assays employing recombinant (r)AvBD6, 9 and 10 peptides (0.5μM - 12μM), indicated an antimicrobial hierarchy, linked to charge, of AvBD6 > AvBD9 > AvBD10 against Escherichia coli, but AvBD10 > AvBD9 > AvBD6 using Enterococcus faecalis. rAvBD10, selected due to its reduced cationic charge was, using CHCC-OU2 cells, investigated for cell proliferation and wound healing properties, but none were observed. These data suggest that in healthy broiler chicken tissues AvBD6/7 and AvBD8-10 gene expression profiles are independent of the in vitro antimicrobial hierarchies of the encoded AvBD6, 9 and 10 peptides.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Early online date18 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


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