Cystic fibrosis, lung infections, and a human tracheal antimicrobial peptide (hTAP)

Young Hee Ko, Michael Delannoy, Peter L. Pedersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


In order to understand how lungs of healthy people, unlike those of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, are protected against bacterial infections such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the following three key findings were made. First, P. aeruginosa do not multiply when planted onto tracheal epithelial cells from healthy humans but do so profusely on cells from ΔF508 CF patients. Second, some bacteria bind, and gain entrance into CF cells, even at a physiological salt concentration (104 mM). Third, human tracheal epithelial cells express an ~4 kDa peptide (hTAP), which is known in its bovine form to exhibit bactericidal action against P. aeruginosa. A model is proposed depicting both how normal epithelial cells, in a first-line self defense mechanism, may be protected against bacterial infection and how this mechanism may fail during the initial stages of CF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-208
Number of pages9
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 24 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Antimicrobial peptide
  • CFTR
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Defensin
  • Lung infection
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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