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Defensin-lipid interactions in membrane targeting: mechanisms of action and opportunities for the development of antimicrobial and anticancer therapeutics

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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.

Funding

This work was supported by the Australian Research Council Discovery Grant DP190103591.

History

Publication Date

2022-01-11

Journal

Biochemical Society Transactions

Volume

50

Issue

1

Pagination

15p. (p. 423-437)

Publisher

Portland Press Limited

ISSN

0300-5127

Rights Statement

© 2022 The Author(s). This is an open access article published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society and distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY).

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