Supplementary Material for: Activity, Expression and Genetic Variation of Canine β-Defensin 103: A Multifunctional Antimicrobial Peptide in the Skin of Domestic Dogs

The skin functions as more than a physical barrier to infection. Epithelial cells of the skin can synthesize antimicrobial peptides, including defensins, which exhibit direct antimicrobial activity. Here we characterize the expression pattern, genetic variation and activity of the major β-defensin expressed in canine skin, canine β-defensin 103 (CBD103). The gene encoding CBD103 exhibits two forms of polymorphism: a common 3-basepair deletion allele and a gene copy-number variation. Golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers were the only breeds that encoded the variant allele of <i>CBD103,</i> termed <i>CBD103</i>Δ<i>G23</i>. Both these breeds also exhibited a <i>CBD103</i> gene copy-number polymorphism that ranged from 2 to 4 gene-copies per diploid genome. Recombinant CBD103 and CBD103ΔG23, as well as the human ortholog human β-defensin 3 (hBD3) and hBD3ΔG23, showed potent and comparable antimicrobial killing against both methicillin-susceptible and methicillin-resistant <i>Staphylococcus pseudintermedius</i>. Skin biopsy specimens from dogs with atopic dermatitis revealed <i>CBD103</i> expression levels similar to those in healthy controls and comparable at lesional and nonlesional sites. This expression pattern in dogs differs from the previously reported reduced expression of the human ortholog in atopic dermatitis. Overall, the similarities of CBD103 and its human ortholog reported here support the notion that the domestic dog may serve as a valuable model for studying β-defensin biology in the skin.