crocodile antibiotics

dalex at nexus.microimm.mcgill.ca dalex at nexus.microimm.mcgill.ca
Tue Jun 13 17:03:28 EST 2000


Hello Netters,

I didn't see the show, but it sounds like they're talking about 
defensins: antimicrobial peptides that are found in frog skin,
and presumable crocodile skin.
(actually, there pretty much everywhere, the current issue of
Am J Physiol Cell Physiol indicates similar compounds are found in
venoms (bee, scorpion, jumper ant, wolf spider)
skin secretions (frog, carp), and cells of the immune system)

Polymyxin-type antibiotics are also related to these compounds.
They act by forming holes in cells.
Basically, a bunch (6 or 12?) of these helical peptides assemble in 
a lipid membrane to form a pore. Enough pores = cell death.

No crocodile tears,

David.


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