Plant defensins : defense, development and application
Plant defensins are small, highly stable, cysteine-rich peptides that constitute a part of the innate immune system primarily directed against fungal pathogens. Biological activities reported for plant defensins include antifungal activity, antibacterial activity, proteinase inhibitory activity, and insect amylase inhibitory activity. Plant defensins have been shown to inhibit infectious diseases of humans and to induce apoptosis in a human pathogen. Transgenic plants overexpressing defensins are strongly resistant to fungal pathogens. Based on recent studies, some plant defensins are not merely toxic to microbes but also have roles in regulating plant growth and development.