Review

Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 65, Issue 13, pp 2069-2079

First online:

The mode of antifungal action of plant, insect and human defensins

  • A. M. AertsAffiliated withCentre of Microbial and Plant Genetics (CMPG), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
  • , I. E. J. A. FrançoisAffiliated withCentre of Microbial and Plant Genetics (CMPG), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
  • , B. P. A. CammueAffiliated withCentre of Microbial and Plant Genetics (CMPG), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Email author 
  • , K. ThevissenAffiliated withCentre of Microbial and Plant Genetics (CMPG), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

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Abstract.

Defensins are small (~ 5 kDa), basic, cysteine-rich antimicrobial peptides that fulfill an important role in the innate immunity of their host by combating pathogenic invading micro-organisms. Defensins can inhibit the growth or virulence of microorganisms directly or can do so indirectly by enhancing the host’s immune system. Because of their wide distribution in nature, defensins are believed to be ancient molecules with a common ancestor that arose more than a billion years ago. This review summarizes current knowledge concerning the mode of antifungal action of plant, insect and human defensins.

Keywords.

Mode of antifungal action defensin plant insect human