Panusin represents a new family of β-defensin-like peptides in invertebrates

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Beta_defensin have been solely found in vertebrates until β-defensin-like peptides were described as transcript isoforms in two species of Panulirus genus. They were considered as putative antimicrobials since their biological activity have not been demonstrated. Here we purified and characterized a defensin-like peptide from the hemocytes of spiny lobster P. argus, hereafter named panusin. Structurally, panusin presents a cysteine-stabilized α/β motif, and is prone to form homodimers. Biological activity of panusin showed broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, characterized for being strikingly salt-resistant. Panusin did not showed hemolytic activity but was demonstrated its binding capacity to different lipid membrane models, indicating amphipathicity of β-sheet core as driving force for its antimicrobial activity. Panusin is considered a new kind of arthropod defensin which share structural and biological features with beta-defensin from vertebrates. The presence of beta-defensin like peptides in crustacean might suggest the emergence of the evolutionary relationship of β-defensins from vertebrates.

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