Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 63, Issue 11, pp 1294–1313 | Cite as

Human β-defensins

  • M. Pazgier
  • D. M. Hoover
  • D. Yang
  • W. Lu
  • J. Lubkowski
Review

Abstract.

The last decade led to the discovery and characterization of several human β-defensins. Analysis of genomic information indicates that the number of β-defensin-like molecules encoded by the human genome may number in the tens. Growing interest in β-defensins steadily enhances our knowledge about various aspects of their gene location, expression patterns and the transcription factors involved in their regulation in vivo. The hallmark property of β-defensins, their antimicrobial activity, is clearly only the tip of the iceberg in the extensive network of inter-relations within the immune system in which these peptides function. Structural studies of β-defensins provide the molecular basis for a better understanding of their properties, functions and their potential for practical applications. In this review, we present some recent advances in the studies of human β-defensins, with an emphasis on possible correlations between their structural and functional properties.

Keywords.

Human β-defensin innate and adaptive immunity antimicrobial and chemotactic activity β-defensin structure structure-function relationship 

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Pazgier
    • 1
  • D. M. Hoover
    • 2
  • D. Yang
    • 3
  • W. Lu
    • 4
  • J. Lubkowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Macromolecular Crystallography LaboratoryNational Cancer Institute at FrederickFrederickUSA
  2. 2.Center for Information Technology, Scientific Computing BranchNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Laboratory of Molecular Immunoregulation, Center for Cancer Research, Basic Research Program, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)-Frederick, Inc.National Cancer Institute at FrederickFrederickUSA
  4. 4.Institute of Human VirologyUniversity of Maryland Biotechnology InstituteBaltimoreUSA

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