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Mol Biol Rep. 2012 Dec;39(12):10957-70. doi: 10.1007/s11033-012-1997-x. Epub 2012 Oct 14.

Cathelicidins: family of antimicrobial peptides. A review.

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Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding in Jastrzębiec, Polish Academy of Sciences, 05-552, Magdalenka, Poland.


Cathelicidins are small, cationic, antimicrobial peptides found in humans and other species, including farm animals (cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, rabbits and in some species of fish). These proteolytically activated peptides are part of the innate immune system of many vertebrates. These peptides show a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity against bacteria, enveloped viruses and fungi. Apart from exerting direct antimicrobial effects, cathelicidins can also trigger specific defense responses in the host. Their roles in various pathophysiological conditions have been studied in mice and humans, but there are limited information about their expression sites and activities in livestock. The aim of the present review is to summarize current information about these antimicrobial peptides in farm animals, highlighting peptide expression sites, activities, and future applications for human and veterinary medicine.

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