Note to users. If you're seeing this message, it means that your browser cannot find this page's style/presentation instructions -- or possibly that you are using a browser that does not support current Web standards. Find out more about why this message is appearing, and what you can do to make your experience of our site the best it can be.


Sci. Signal., 1 June 2010
Vol. 3, Issue 124, p. ec166
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3124ec166]


Immunology Defining Defensins’ Mode of Action

Valda Vinson

Science, AAAS, Washington, DC 20005, USA

Defensins are antimicrobial host defense peptides that play a role in innate immunity. Many such peptides act by disrupting the bacterial membrane. However, Schneider et al. now show that the fungal defensin plectasin targets cell wall biosynthesis. Biochemical studies identified Lipid II as the cellular target of plectasin, and the residues involved in complex formation were identified using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and computational modeling. Initial studies identified two defensins from invertebrates that also target Lipid II. Plectasin is active against some drug-resistant Gram-positive bacteria, and its action against a validated target makes it a promising lead for further drug development.

T. Schneider, T. Kruse, R. Wimmer, I. Wiedemann, V. Sass, U. Pag, A. Jansen, A. K. Nielsen, P. H. Mygind, D. S. Raventós, S. Neve, B. Ravn, A. M. J. J. Bonvin, L. De Maria, A. S. Andersen, L. K. Gammelgaard, H.-G. Sahl, H.-H. Kristensen, Plectasin, a fungal defensin, targets the bacterial cell wall precursor Lipid II. Science 328, 1168–1172 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]

Citation: V. Vinson, Defining Defensins’ Mode of Action. Sci. Signal. 3, ec166 (2010).

To Advertise     Find Products

Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882