Since the beginning of the 90s lots of cationic plant, cysteine-rich antimicrobial peptides (AMP) have been studied. However, Broekaert et al. (1995) only coined the term “plant defensin,” after comparison of a new class of plant antifungal peptides with known insect defensins. From there, many plant defensins have been reported and studies on this class of peptides encompass its activity toward microorganisms and molecular features of the mechanism of action against bacteria and fungi. Plant defensins also have been tested as biotechnological tools to improve crop production through fungi resistance generation in organisms genetically modified (OGM). Its low effective concentration towards fungi, ranging from 0.1 to 10 μM and its safety to mammals and birds makes them a better choice, in place of chemicals, to control fungi infection on crop fields. Herein, is a review of the history of plant defensins since their discovery at the beginning of 90s, following the advances on its structure conformation and mechanism of action towards microorganisms is reported. This review also points out some important topics, including: (i) the most studied plant defensins and their fungal targets; (ii) the molecular features of plant defensins and their relation with antifungal activity; (iii) the possibility of using plant defensin(s) genes to generate fungi resistant GM crops and biofungicides; and (iv) a brief discussion about the absence of products in the market containing plant antifungal defensins.
BackgroundAsian rust (Phakopsora pachyrhizi) is a common disease in Brazilian soybean fields and it is difficult to control. To identify a biochemical candidate with potential to combat this disease, a new chitinase-like xylanase inhibitor protein (XIP) from coffee (Coffea arabica) (CaclXIP) leaves was cloned into the pGAPZα-B vector for expression in Pichia pastoris.ResultsA cDNA encoding a chitinase-like xylanase inhibitor protein (XIP) from coffee (Coffea arabica) (CaclXIP), was isolated from leaves. The amino acid sequence predicts a (β/α)8 topology common to Class III Chitinases (glycoside hydrolase family 18 proteins; GH18), and shares similarity with other GH18 members, although it lacks the glutamic acid residue essential for catalysis, which is replaced by glutamine. CaclXIP was expressed as a recombinant protein in Pichia pastoris. Enzymatic assay showed that purified recombinant CaclXIP had only residual chitinolytic activity. However, it inhibited xylanases from Acrophialophora nainiana by approx. 60% when present at 12:1 (w/w) enzyme:inhibitor ratio. Additionally, CaclXIP at 1.5 μg/μL inhibited the germination of spores of Phakopsora pachyrhizi by 45%.ConclusionsOur data suggests that CaclXIP belongs to a class of naturally inactive chitinases that have evolved to act in plant cell defence as xylanase inhibitors. Its role on inhibiting germination of fungal spores makes it an eligible candidate gene for the control of Asian rust.
Africa, Asia, and Latin America are regions highly affected by endemic diseases, such as Leishmaniasis, Malaria, and Chagas’ disease. They are responsible for the death of 1000s of patients every year, as there is not yet a cure for them and the drugs used are inefficient against the pathogenic parasites. During the life cycle of some parasitic protozoa, insects become the most important host and disseminator of the diseases triggered by these microorganisms. As infected insects do not develop nocive symptoms, they can carry the parasites for long time inside their body, enabling their multiplication and life cycle completion. Eventually, parasites infect human beings after insect’s transmission through their saliva and/or feces. Hence, host insects and general arthropods, which developed a way to coexist with such parasites, are a promising source for the prospection of anti-parasitic compounds, as alternative methods for the treatment of protozoa-related diseases. Among the molecules already isolated and investigated, there are proteins and peptides with high activity against parasites, able to inhibit parasite activity in different stages of development. Although, studies are still taking their first steps, initial results show new perspectives on the treatment of parasitic diseases. Therefore, in this report, we describe about peptides from host insect sources with activity against the three most endemic parasites: Leishmania sp., Plasmodium sp., and Trypanosomes. Moreover, we discuss the future application insect peptides as anti-parasitic drugs and the use of non-hosts insect transcriptomes on the prospection of novel molecules for the treatment of parasitic neglected diseases.
Abstract:In recent years, a strong emphasis has been given in deciphering the function of genes unraveled by the completion of several genome sequencing projects. In plants, functional genomics has been massively used in order to search for gene products of agronomic relevance. As far as root-pathogen interactions are concerned, several genes are recognized to provide tolerance/resistance against potential invaders. However, very few proteins have been identified by using current proteomic approaches. One of the major drawbacks for the successful analysis of root proteomes is the inherent characteristics of this tissue, which include low volume content and high concentration of interfering substances such as pigments and phenolic compounds. The proteome analysis of plant-pathogen interactions provides important information about the global proteins expressed in roots in response to biotic stresses. Moreover, several pathogenic proteins superimpose the plant proteome and can be identified and used as targets for the control of viruses, bacteria, fungi and nematode pathogens. The present review focuses on advances in different proteomic strategies dedicated to the challenging analysis of plant defense proteins expressed during bacteria-, fungi-and nematode-root interactions. Recent developments, limitations of the current techniques, and technological perspectives for root proteomics aiming at the identification of resistance-related proteins are discussed.
Plant defensins are antifungal peptides produced by the innate immune system plants developed to circumvent fungal infection. The defensin Drr230a, originally isolated from pea, has been previously shown to be active against various entomopathogenic and phytopathogenic fungi. In the present study, the activity of a yeast-expressed recombinant Drr230a protein (rDrr230a) was tested against impacting soybean and cotton fungi. First, the gene was subcloned into the yeast expression vector pPICZαA and expressed in Pichia pastoris. Resulting rDrr230a exhibited in vitro activity against fungal growth and spore germination of Fusarium tucumaniae, which causes soybean sudden death syndrome, and against Colletotrichum gossypii var. cephalosporioides, which causes cotton ramulosis. The rDrr230a IC50 corresponding to inhibition of fungal growth of F. tucumaniae and C. gossypii var. cephalosporioides was 7.67 and 0.84 µM, respectively, demonstrating moderate activity against F. tucumaniae and high potency against C. gossypii var. cephalosporioides. Additionally, rDrr230a at 25 ng/µl (3.83 µM) resulted in 100 % inhibition of spore germination of both fungi, demonstrating that rDrr230a affects fungal development since spore germination. Moreover, rDrr230a at 3 µg/µl (460.12 µM) inhibited 100 % of in vitro spore germination of the obligatory biotrophic fungus Phakopsora pachyrhizi, which causes Asian soybean rust. Interestingly, rDrr230a substantially decreased the severity of Asian rust, as demonstrated by in planta assay. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a plant defensin active against an obligatory biotrophic phytopathogenic fungus. Results revealed the potential of rDrr230a as a candidate to be used in plant genetic engineering to control relevant cotton and soybean fungal diseases.
Laryngeal cancer is a significant disease worldwide, which presents an increasing incidence. Two contrasting ideas of the immune system role during cancer development are accepted: (1) it fights tumor cells, and (2) it aids tumor progression. Thus, there is no clear understanding about the immune response in laryngeal cancer. Furthermore, since tobacco is the main cause of laryngeal cancer and it contains various carcinogenic components, including metallic elements, these may play a role on cancer development. Plasmas of patients with laryngeal cancer and of healthy smokers were evaluated by 2D gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. Proteins were detected on every gel around pH 4.0-10.0 from molecular mass of 10-60 kDa. Few differences were found among cancer and control patients. However, three spots gathered between pI 7.3 and 7.6 with different molecular masses appeared exclusively in cancer profiles. From ten spots identified, six correspond to immune system components, including the three differential ones. The latter were observed only in cancer patients. The presence of several trace elements in the identified proteins was determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, where chromium was increased in all proteins analyzed from patients with cancer. This study reinforces the importance of the immune response as target in the understanding and treatment of laryngeal cancer and the possibility that chromium is important in the carcinogenic progress.
O human papillomavirus (HPV) é considerado o agente infeccioso de transmissão sexual mais comum em todo o mundo. Relacionado ao câncer de colo de útero e causador das verrugas genitais é o terceiro tipo de câncer mais letal no Brasil. Devido o início sexual precoce e o aumento a exposição ao vírus, foi identificada a necessidade de prevenção a nível primário. Assim, vacinas contra alguns subtipos do HPV foram desenvolvidas como forma profilática. O Governo do Distrito Federal (GDF) incluiu em 2013 a campanha de vacinação, em esquema de três doses, para imunizar meninas entre 11 a 13 anos. O objetivo da campanha era que 100% do público alvo fosse imunizado. Esta pesquisa teve como objetivo analisar a taxa de iniciação, conclusão e abstenção do público alvo da campanha a fim de avaliar o alcance e a eficiência do programa de vacinação proposto pelas autoridades competentes. Com caráter quantitativo e descritivo, esta pesquisa utilizou registros feitos pela Vigilância Epidemiológica num colégio localizado no Gama-DF. Observou-se no estudo que das meninas que aderiram à campanha apenas 72,5% concluíram o esquema vacinal, taxa inferior a ambiciosa meta estipulada pelo GDF e tampouco, em comparação, à estipulada pelo Ministério da Saúde, que iniciara a campanha em âmbito nacional em 2014.
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