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Insect Antimicrobial Peptides: Structures, Properties and Gene Regulation

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Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are part of the armament that insects have developed to fight off pathogens. Insect AMPs are typically cationic and often made of less than 100 amino acid residues. Although their structures are diverse, most of the AMPs can be assigned to a limited number of families. The most common structures are represented by peptides assuming a α-helical conformation in organic solutions or disulfide-stabilized β-sheets with or without α- helical domains present. The diverse activity spectrum of these peptides may indicate different modes of action. Genetic analysis in the Drosophila model evidenced that multiple signal transduction pathways are activating the genes coding AMPs.
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Keywords: antimicrobial peptides; cationic peptide; cecropin; defensin; innate defense; insect immunity; microbial infection; proline-rich

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Atheris Laboratories, Case Postale 314, CH-1233 Bernex, Geneva, Switzerland.

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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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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