Defensins in the News

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Last updated: 2nd June 2010

Defensins in the News
Source: Science Daily
Genetics of coat colour in dogs may help explain human stress and weight
A beta defensin in dogs has been found by Dr Gregory Barsh's lab in Stanford to affect the dogs' coat colour and therefore to be part of the melanocortin pathway. This suggests that defensins have additional as yet unknown functions that are unrelated to immune defense. The report has been published in the Nov 30th 2007 issue of Science.
31st Oct 2007

Source: Growfish
New peptide antibiotic - American Oyster Defensin (AOD)
The new antimicrobial peptide "American oyster defensin" (AOD) may protect against bacteria in Crassostrea virginica, a species that is native to North Carolina and important economically to Atlantic and Gulf Coast fisheries.
1st Dec 2005

Source: Georgetown University Medical Center
New Class of Antibiotics, Effective Against Drug-Resistant Bacteria, Discovered in Fungi
A peptide identified in a fungus found in northern European pine forests possesses as much power as penicillin as well as vancomycin, according to an international team of researchers.
12th Oct 2005

Source: EurekAlert
Researchers discover how compounds prevent viruses from entering cells
Compounds called defensins - known to prevent viruses from entering cells--appear to do so by preventing the virus from merging to cells' outer membrane, according to a study by researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, both of the National Institutes of Health, and the University of California at Los Angeles.
15th Sep 2005

Source: EurekAlert
Defensins neutralize anthrax toxin
The anthrax attacks in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 in the USA have illustrated the high potential of anthrax for misuse in bio-terrorism. Dissemination of anthrax by letters led to the death of 5 people and chemotherapeutic treatment of 30,000 individuals.
15th Mar 2005

Source: EurekAlert
Defensins ward off HIV in two ways
The body attempts to protect itself from HIV infection via the innate immune system. Defensins are proteins found in cells, which have been shown to have anti-HIV activity. However, the mechanism by which the defensins control HIV infection has not been known. Appearing online on February 17 in advance of publication in the March 1 print edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Theresa Chang and colleagues from Mount Sinai School of Medicine analyze how alpha-defensin-1, in particular, inhibits HIV infection in CD4+ T cells. CD4 + T cells are white blood cells that have molecules called CD4 on their exterior. They help orchestrate the body's response to viruses and therefore play important roles in the immune system.
17th Feb 2005

Source: ABC
Drugs from Duckbills?
The venom from the unique Australian Platypus may one day be used to make drugs for treating human disease. Dr Allan Torres from the University of Sydney has for the first time described a three-dimensional molecular structure derived from the venom, which comes from a spur on the male's hind leg.
6th Aug 1999