Defense peptides secreted by helminth pathogens: Antimicrobial and/or immunomodulator molecules?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Frontiers in Immunology, 2012, 3 (AUG)
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Host defense peptides (HDPs) are an evolutionarily conserved component of the innate immune response found in all living species. They possess antimicrobial activities against a broad range of organisms including bacteria, fungi, eukaryotic parasites, and viruses. HDPs also have the ability to enhance immune responses by acting as immunomodulators. We discovered a new family of HDPs derived from pathogenic helminth (worms) that cause enormous disease in animals and humans worldwide. The discovery of these peptides was based on their similar biochemical and functional characteristics to the human defense peptide LL-37. We propose that these new peptides modulate the immune response via molecular mimicry of mammalian HDPs thus providing a mechanism behind the anti-inflammatory properties of helminth infections. © 2012 Cotton, Donnelly, Robinson, Dalton and Thivierge.
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