Antimicrobial peptides are among the most ancient effectors of host defense. Intersecting lines of research demonstrate that life forms as diverse as plants, insects, and vertebrates employ antimicrobial peptides to kill or neutralize a wide variety of microbial species. Defensins, of which there are three structural sub-families, constitute a major category of host defense peptides in vertebrates. Presented here is a brief history of the emergence of the defensin field with an emphasis on the role of these peptides in mammalian innate immunity.
Keywords: Defensins, host defense, antimicrobial, peptides
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