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Molecules 2014, 19(8), 12280-12303; doi:10.3390/molecules190812280

Antifungal Plant Defensins: Mechanisms of Action and Production

1
Centre of Microbial and Plant Genetics, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 20, Heverlee 3001, Belgium
2
Department of Plant Systems Biology, VIB, Technologiepark 927, Ghent 9052, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 July 2014 / Revised: 29 July 2014 / Accepted: 4 August 2014 / Published: 14 August 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptide Chemistry)
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Abstract

Plant defensins are small, cysteine-rich peptides that possess biological activity towards a broad range of organisms. Their activity is primarily directed against fungi, but bactericidal and insecticidal actions have also been reported. The mode of action of various antifungal plant defensins has been studied extensively during the last decades and several of their fungal targets have been identified to date. This review summarizes the mechanism of action of well-characterized antifungal plant defensins, including RsAFP2, MsDef1, MtDef4, NaD1 and Psd1, and points out the variety by which antifungal plant defensins affect microbial cell viability. Furthermore, this review summarizes production routes for plant defensins, either via heterologous expression or chemical synthesis. As plant defensins are generally considered non-toxic for plant and mammalian cells, they are regarded as attractive candidates for further development into novel antimicrobial agents. View Full-Text
Keywords: mechanism of action; antimicrobial peptide; plant defensin; RsAFP2; NaD1; MsDef1; MtDef4; Psd1; heterologous protein expression; chemical protein synthesis mechanism of action; antimicrobial peptide; plant defensin; RsAFP2; NaD1; MsDef1; MtDef4; Psd1; heterologous protein expression; chemical protein synthesis
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Vriens, K.; Cammue, B.P.A.; Thevissen, K. Antifungal Plant Defensins: Mechanisms of Action and Production. Molecules 2014, 19, 12280-12303.

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