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Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry


ISSN (Print): 1568-0266
ISSN (Online): 1873-4294

Disulfide Bridges in Defensins

Author(s): Bing-Chuan Zhao, Hua-Can Lin, Dan Yang, Xiyang Ye and Zi-Gang Li

Volume 16 , Issue 2 , 2016

Page: [206 - 219] Pages: 14

DOI: 10.2174/1568026615666150701115911

Price: $65


Defensins are small cationic cysteine rich peptides, which usually contain 18-45 amino acids and possess amphiphilic properties. The term "defensin" was coined as the sequences of rabbit and human leukin/phagocytin molecules were first reported in 1985. Since then, various defensins were isolated and characterized from insects, plants and vertebrates. Using vertebrate defensins as examples, defensins are categorized into three sub-families based on their different patterns of intramolecular disulfide linkages: α defensins, β defensins, and θ defensins. During the past decades, continuous attentions were casted on various defensins for their broad activity against bacteria, fungi and viruses. In this review, we focus on the effect of characteristic intramolecular disulfide bonds on the antimicrobial activity of defensins. The disulfide bonds are important for holding the defensins in their three dimensional structures, while also contribute to their antimicrobial activity and chemotactic activity. This review summarizes the effects of disulfide bonds, their synthetic formation pathways and potential pharmaceutical applications.

Keywords: Antibiotics, β-hairpin structure, Chemotactic activity, Defensin, disulfide bond, structure-function relationship, Truncated peptide.

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