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Peptide defensin fights pathogens: animals

Defensins are naturally produced peptides that inhibit pathogen growth and degrade pathogen toxins by binding to the pathogens

“In addition to their bacterial membrane permeabilizing capacity, defensins have been shown to neutralize bacterial invasion by directly binding to bacterial toxins….Similar properties have been described for retrocyclins, a class of circular defensins found in non-human primates, which were shown to bind to the anthrax lethal factor with high affinity [66].” (de Leeuw and Lu 2007:69)
About the inspiring organism

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Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Development of nontoxic peptide antibiotics synthesizing defensins, especially for drug-resistant pathogens, therapeutic strategies that use the defensin strategy of neutralizing pathogenic bacterial invasion and bacterial toxins; stimulation of defensin production in vivo by ingesting vitamin D and other nutritional supplements; feeding wild birds and farmed poultry vitamin D and other products that stimulate the production of defensins to combat avian influenza and other viruses. SEE COMPANY POLYMEDIX IN CASE STUDIES

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Drug Development, Medicine, Human Health, Nutrition, Veterinary Medicine

Institute of Human Virology
Erik de Leeuw Wuyuan Lu
University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute
de Leeuw, E.; Lu, W. 2007. Human defensins: turning defense into offense?. Infectious Disorders Drug Targets. 7(1): 67-70.
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Zou, G.; De Leeuw, E.; Li, C.; Pazgier, M.; Li, C.; Zeng, P.; Lu, W-Y.; Lubkowski, J.; Lu, W. 2007. Toward understanding the cationicity of defensins. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 282(27): 19653-19665.
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