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Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2006 Aug;28(2):132-7. Epub 2006 Jun 21.

Antimicrobial activities of human beta-defensins against Bacillus species.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutics, Box 100494, University of Florida, 1600 SW Archer Road, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.


Natural defences in the human body function to protect us from numerous environmental toxins and exposure to potential harmful biological agents. An important frontline defence is antimicrobial peptides. These peptides occur at environmental interfaces and serve to limit bacterial invasion. There has been little work comparing specific peptides as potential antimicrobial compounds. In this study, we evaluated the antimicrobial activity of peptides from the human beta-defensin (HBD) family against four species of Bacillus, chosen as models for Bacillus anthracis, a potential bioweapon. The impact of peptide concentration, sequence and protein binding was evaluated on their biological activity. The results indicated that HBD-3 was the most biologically active against Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus licheniformis, whilst HBD-2 was found to be most active against Bacillus cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis. Moreover, the antimicrobial activity of the peptides was directly related to peptide concentration and indirectly related to albumin concentration (i.e. protein binding).

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