Plant host defense peptides (HDPs), also known as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), are regarded as one of the most prevalent barriers elaborated by plants to combat various infective agents. Among the multiple classes of HDPs, the Snakin class attracts special concern, as they carry 12 cysteine residues, being the foremost cysteine-rich peptides of the plant HDPs. Also, their cysteines are present at very highly conserved positions and arranged in an extremely similar way among different members. Like other plant HDPs, Snakins have been shown to exhibit strong antifungal and antibacterial activity against a wide range of plant pathogens. Moreover, they display diversified biological activities in many aspects of plant growth and the development process. This review is devoted to present the general characters of the Snakin class of plant HDPs, as well as the individual features of different Snakin family members. Specifically, the sequence properties, spatial structures, distributions, expression patterns and biological activities of Snakins are described. In addition, further detailed classification of the Snakin family members, along with their possible mode of action and potential applications in the field of agronomy and pathology are discussed.
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