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Abstract

ANTIMICROBIAL PHYTO-PEPTIDES: DISTRIBUTION, STRUCTURAL DIVERSITY AND MECHANISMS OF ACTION

Ibrahim Sani*, Jude Nwaogu, Joseph Ijeboimeh Obafemi, Fatima Bello, Abubakar Abdulhamid, Habiba Aminu, Amina Sulaiman and Yakubu Musa Yanah

ABSTRACT

In response to infection by a variety of pathogens, plants display upregulation of a set of genes associated with systemic acquired resistance. General resistance is accomplished by the generation of pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins. There are at least 17 families that have been detected and isolated which possess a wide range of defense-related properties, including antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-oxidative activity, as well as chitinase and proteinase inhibitory activities. Plants AMPs have been isolated from roots, seeds, flowers, stems, and leaves of a wide variety of plant species. The majority of plants antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are Cys-rich; a feature that enables the formation of multiple disulfide bonds that contribute to a compact structure and resistance to chemical and proteolytic degradation. AMPs have been demonstrated to inactivate prokaryotic cells by targeting a number of essential or metabolic processes at extracellular, plasma membrane, and/or intracellular sites. The main families of AMPs comprised; defensins, thionins, lipid transfer proteins, cyclotides, snakins, and heveinlike proteins, according to amino acid sequence homology. Most of the known plants AMPs act by formation of membrane pores, resulting in ion and metabolite leakage, depolarization, interruption of the respiratory processes, and cell death. Conventional antibiotics usually have a narrow spectrum, acting only on bacteria or fungi, whereas plant AMPs have a broad spectrum of activity displaying antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic, and anticancer activities. Plants AMPs have the ability to bypass the common resistance mechanisms that are reducing the effectiveness and safety of the conventional antibiotics. They can be used as a single antimicrobial due to their direct killing actions or as adjuvants with conventional antibiotics to obtain synergistic interactions. Hence, plants AMPs are potential therapeutic agents for many infectious diseases.

Keywords: Antimicrobial, Plants, Peptides, Proteins, AMPs, Antibiotics.


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