Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 65, Issue 3, pp 445–454 | Cite as

The Penicillium chrysogenum antifungal protein PAF, a promising tool for the development of new antifungal therapies and fungal cell biology studies

Review

Abstract.

In recent years the interest in antimicrobial proteins and peptides and their mode of action has been rapidly increasing due to their potential to prevent and combat microbial infections in all areas of life. A detailed knowledge about the function of such proteins is the most important requirement to consider them for future application. Our research in recent years has been focused on the low molecular weight, cysteine-rich and cationic antifungal protein PAF from Penicillium chrysogenum, which inhibits the growth of opportunistic zoo-pathogens including Aspergillus fumigatus, numerous plant-pathogenic fungi and the model organism Aspergillus nidulans. So far, the experimental results indicate that PAF elicits hyperpolarization of the plasma membrane and the activation of ion channels, followed by an increase in reactive oxygen species in the cell and the induction of an apoptosis-like phenotype. Detailed knowledge about the molecular mechanism of action of antifungal proteins such as PAF contributes to the development of new antimicrobial strategies that are urgently needed.

Keywords.

Antifungal protein Penicillium chrysogenum growth inhibition endocytosis heterotrimeric G-protein signaling plasma membrane hyperpolarization oxidative stress programmed cell death 

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Copyright information

© Birkhaueser 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biocenter, Division of Molecular BiologyInnsbruck Medical UniversityInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.Department of Microbial Biotechnology and Cell BiologyUniversity of DebrecenDebrecenHungary

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