Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 87, Issue 4, pp 1221–1235 | Cite as

Proteins with antifungal properties and other medicinal applications from plants and mushrooms

  • Jack H. Wong
  • T. B. NgEmail author
  • Randy C. F. Cheung
  • X. J. Ye
  • H. X. WangEmail author
  • S. K. Lam
  • P. Lin
  • Y. S. Chan
  • Evandro F. Fang
  • Patrick H. K. Ngai
  • L. X. XiaEmail author
  • X. Y. Ye
  • Y. Jiang
  • F. Liu


Living organisms produce a myriad of molecules to protect themselves from fungal pathogens. This review focuses on antifungal proteins from plants and mushrooms, many of which are components of the human diet or have medicinal value. Plant antifungal proteins can be classified into different groups comprising chitinases and chitinase-like proteins, chitin-binding proteins, cyclophilin-like proteins, defensins and defensin-like proteins, deoxyribonucleases, embryo-abundant protein-like proteins, glucanases, lectins, lipid transfer proteins, peroxidases, protease inhibitors, ribonucleases, ribosome-inactivating proteins, storage 2S albumins, and thaumatin-like proteins. Some of the aforementioned antifungal proteins also exhibit mitogenic activity towards spleen cells, nitric oxide inducing activity toward macrophages, antiproliferative activity toward tumor cells, antibacterial activity, and inhibitory activity toward HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. In contrast to the large diversity of plant antifungal proteins, only a small number of mushroom antifungal proteins have been reported. Mushroom antifungal proteins are distinct from their plant counterparts in N-terminal sequence. Nevertheless, some of the mushroom antifungal proteins have been shown to inhibit HIV-1 reverse transcriptase activity and tumor cell proliferation.


Antifungal Medicinal Plants Mushrooms 



The award of a direct grant from the Medicine Panel, CUHK Research Committee is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jack H. Wong
    • 1
  • T. B. Ng
    • 1
    Email author
  • Randy C. F. Cheung
    • 1
  • X. J. Ye
    • 1
  • H. X. Wang
    • 2
    Email author
  • S. K. Lam
    • 1
  • P. Lin
    • 1
  • Y. S. Chan
    • 1
  • Evandro F. Fang
    • 1
  • Patrick H. K. Ngai
    • 3
  • L. X. Xia
    • 4
    Email author
  • X. Y. Ye
    • 5
  • Y. Jiang
    • 6
  • F. Liu
    • 6
  1. 1.The School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of MedicineThe Chinese University of Hong KongNew TerritoriesChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology, Department of MicrobiologyChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of ScienceThe Chinese University of Hong KongNew TerritoriesChina
  4. 4.College of MedicineShenzhen UniversityShenzhenChina
  5. 5.College of Biological Science and TechnologyFuzhou UniversityFuzhouChina
  6. 6.Department of Microbiology, College of Life SciencesNankai UniversityTianjinChina

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