Expression of chicken LEAP-2 in the reproductive organs and embryos and in response to Salmonella enterica infection. Michailidis G et al. In recent years host antimicrobial peptides and proteins have been recognised as key mediators of the innate immune response in many vertebrate species, providing the first line of defense against potential pathogens. In chickens a number of cationic antimicrobial peptides have been recently identified. However, although these peptides have been studied extensively in the avian gastrointestinal tract, little is known about their function in the chicken reproductive organs and embryos. Chicken Liver Expressed Antimicrobial Peptide-2 (cLEAP-2) has been previously reported to function in protecting birds against microbial attack. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of cLEAP-2 gene in the chicken reproductive organs, as well as in chicken embryos during embryonic development, and to determine whether cLEAP-2 expression in the chicken reproductive organs was constitutive or induced as a response to Salmonella enteritidis infection. RNA was extracted from ovary, oviduct, testis and epididymis of sexually mature healthy and Salmonella infected birds, as well as from chicken embryos until day ten of embryonic development. Expression analysis data revealed that cLEAP-2 was expressed in the chicken ovary, testis and epididymis as well as in embryos during early embryonic development. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis revealed that cLEAP-2 expression was constitutive in the chicken epididymis, but was significantly up regulated in the chicken gonads, following Salmonella infection. In addition, expression of cLEAP-2 during chicken embryogenesis appeared to be developmentally regulated. These data provide evidence to suggest a key role of cLEAP-2 in the protection of the chicken reproductive organs and the developing embryos from Salmonella colonization.