Plant defensins are a family of small, cysteine-rich and basic proteins. Proteins of the family constitute the major innate immune system of plants and insects. The most significant feature of the family is the conserved cysteine scaffold and one α-helix and a triple strand anti parallel β-sheet connected by the scaffold. Proteins of the family display anti-microbial and anti-fungal activities and a broad spectrum of biological functions. The proteins also demonstrate ultra stable proprieties even in extreme environments. In the past twenty years, patents on the proteins and their applications have increased as technologies have been developed. By utilizing protein engineering approach, medical applications of proteins of the family have been developed. By reviewing patents on proteins of the family, the application development trend of the protein family is traced. Currently, the development of proteins of the family is still in the initial and discovery stage. For their excellent physical and chemical proprieties, it is believed that application of the proteins in the biomedical area should have a high potential and the future of proteins of the plant defensin family.
Keywords: Defensin, scorpion venom, thionine, CSαβ motif, cysteine stabilized scaffold, cation peptide, pesticide, biocide, plant disease control, drug development
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