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Antimicrobial proteins: from old proteins, new tricks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Val Smith, Elisabeth Dyrynda

School/Research organisations


This review describes the main types of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) synthesised by crustaceans, primarily those identified in shrimp, crayfish, crab and lobster. It includes an overview of their range of microbicidal activities and the current landscape of our understanding of their gene expression patterns in different body tissues. It further summarises how their expression might change following various types of immune challenges. Included in the review are proteins or protein fragments that have antimicrobial properties but are more usually associated with other biological functions, or are derived from such proteins. It discusses how these unconventional AMPs might be generated at, or delivered to, sites of infection and how they might contribute to crustacean host defence in vivo. It also highlights recent work that is starting to reveal the extent of multi-functionality displayed by some decapod AMPs, particularly their participation in other aspects of host protection. Examples of such activities include proteinase inhibition, phagocytosis, antiviral activity and haematopoiesis.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-398
JournalMolecular Immunology
Issue numberIssue 2, Part B
Early online date29 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • Antibacterials, Penaeidins, Crustins, Anti-lipopolysaccharide factors, Lyzosyme, Histones, Shrimp, Crabs, Crayfish, Phagocytosis, ETosis, Haemotapoiesis

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