Human β-defensins

M. Pazgier, D. M. Hoover, D. Yang, W. Lu, J. Lubkowski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

433 Scopus citations


The last decade led to the discovery and characterization of several human β-defensins. Analysis of genomic information indicates that the number of β-defensin-like molecules encoded by the human genome may number in the tens. Growing interest in β-defensins steadily enhances our knowledge about various aspects of their gene location, expression patterns and the transcription factors involved in their regulation in vivo. The hallmark property of β-defensins, their antimicrobial activity, is clearly only the tip of the iceberg in the extensive network of inter-relations within the immune system in which these peptides function. Structural studies of β-defensins provide the molecular basis for a better understanding of their properties, functions and their potential for practical applications. In this review, we present some recent advances in the studies of human β-defensins, with an emphasis on possible correlations between their structural and functional properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1294-1313
Number of pages20
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Antimicrobial and chemotactic activity
  • Human β-defensin
  • Innate and adaptive immunity
  • Structure-function relationship
  • β-defensin structure


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