Background: Urine is considered one of the biological fluids in which antimicrobial
peptides are secreted or expressed. Cow urine has not been investigated for the presence of these
peptides using MALDI-TOF-MS.
Objective: The aim of this study is to isolate, identify and assess the antimicrobial activity of
urinary antimicrobial peptides from healthy normal cycling cows.
Methods: We analyzed the urine sample using diafiltration, ion exchange chromatography, Reverse
Phase High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (RP-HPLC), acid urea polyacrylamide gel
electrophoresis (AU-PAGE) coupled with identification through Peptide Mass Fingerprinting
(PMF) by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDITOF-
MS). The in vitro antimicrobial effects of purified fractions were assessed using Radial
Diffusion Assay (RDA) and microtitre broth dilution assay against Gram-positive and Gramnegative
Results: Proteins corresponding to the peaks were identified using SWISSPROT protein database.
This study revealed constitutive expression of β-Defensin-1 (DEFB1), β-Defensin-4A (DFB4A),
Neutrophil Defensin-1 (DEF1), Neutrophil Defensin-3 (DEF3) in cow urine. The identified
peptides are cationic antimicrobial peptides of the defensin family. The purified fractions exhibited
antimicrobial effects in radial diffusion assay and MIC values in the range of 2.93-29.3 µM/L.
Conclusion: This study concludes that cow urine, previously unexplored with regard to
antimicrobial peptides, would be a promising source of highly potent AMPs and an effective
alternative to the resistant antibiotics.