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Defensins and cystein rich peptides: two types of antimicrobial peptides in marine molluscs

Author(s): G Arenas Díaz

Journal: Invertebrate Survival Journal
ISSN 1824-307X

Volume: 7;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 157;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: defensins | cystein rich peptides | antimicrobial peptides | innate immunity | marine molluscs

This review focuses on defensins and cystein rich peptides, which are the most abundant natural antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) described in molluscs. These are compact peptides, 3-5 kDa in molecular mass, cationic and amphipatic; the presence of at least six cysteine residues forming three or four disulfide bridges is their prime structural characteristic. A 3-D structural characterization of these molecules has been included in recent investigations, using currently-available techniques. AMPs have been purified from hemocytes, epithelial tissue and plasma as well as cloned and chemically synthesized. Their antibacterial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and fungi has been shown; only a synthetic mytilin fragment has displayed activity against viruses.
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