Defensin-lipid interactions in membrane targeting: mechanisms of action and opportunities for the development of antimicrobial and anticancer therapeutics
journal contributionposted on 2022-09-13, 06:00 authored by Matthew HeinMatthew Hein, Marc KvansakulMarc Kvansakul, Fung LayFung Lay, Thanh PhanThanh Phan, Mark HulettMark Hulett
Defensins are a class of host defence peptides (HDPs) that often harbour antimicrobial and anticancer activities, making them attractive candidates as novel therapeutics. In comparison with current antimicrobial and cancer treatments, defensins uniquely target specific membrane lipids via mechanisms distinct from other HDPs. Therefore, defensins could be potentially developed as therapeutics with increased selectivity and reduced susceptibility to the resistance mechanisms of tumour cells and infectious pathogens. In this review, we highlight recent advances in defensin research with a particular focus on membrane lipid-targeting in cancer and infection settings. In doing so, we discuss strategies to harness lipid-binding defensins for anticancer and anti-infective therapies.