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Tool Developments for Structure-Function Studies of Host Defense Peptides

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Antimicrobial peptides, or host defense peptides, are universal signaling and effector molecules in host defense and innate immunity. This article highlights various tools developed for cathelicidins and defensins, ranging from peptide identification, production, and structural biology, including the eight databases for antimicrobial peptides. Novel peptides can be identified from natural sources at both gene and protein levels. Solid-phase synthesis and bacterial expression are the two important methods for peptide production. Three-dimensional structures of antimicrobial peptides, primarily determined by solution NMR techniques, are essential for an in-depth understanding of the mode of action. The introduction of octanoyl phosphatidylglycerol as a bacterial membrane-mimetic model provides new insights into peptide-lipid interactions. The incorporation of structure and activity data into the antimicrobial peptide database ( will lead to an integrated understanding of these peptides via structural bioinformatics.

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Keywords: Antimicrobial peptides; NMR; cathelicidins; database; defensins; structural bioinformatics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Eppley Institute, Room ECI3018A, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 986805 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-6805, USA.

Publication date: 01 January 2007

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  • Protein & Peptide Letters publishes short papers in all important aspects of protein and peptide research, including structural studies, recombinant expression, function, synthesis, enzymology, immunology, molecular modeling, drug design etc. Manuscripts must have a significant element of novelty, timeliness and urgency that merit rapid publication. Reports of crystallisation, and preliminary structure determinations of biologically important proteins are acceptable. Purely theoretical papers are also acceptable provided they provide new insight into the principles of protein/peptide structure and function.
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