Evidence of Positively Selected Sites in Mammalian a-Defensins

Lynn, David J. and Lloyd, Andrew T. and Fares, Mario A. and O'Farrelly, Cliona (2004) Evidence of Positively Selected Sites in Mammalian a-Defensins. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 21 (5). pp. 819-827.

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Defensins are a family of mammalian antimicrobial peptides that exhibit variable activity against a panel of microbes, including bacteria, fungi, and enveloped viruses. We have employed a maximum-likelihood approach to detect evidence of positive selection (adaptive evolution) in the evolution of these important molecules of the innate immune response. We have identified 14 amino acid sites that are predicted to be subject to positive selection. Furthermore, we show that all these sites are located in the mature antimicrobial peptide and not in the prepropeptide region of the molecule, implying that they are of functional importance. These results suggest that mammalian a-defensins have been under selective pressure to evolve in response to potentially infectious challenges by fast-evolving microbes.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Adaptive evolution, antimicrobial peptide, a-defensin.
Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Biology
Item ID: 320
Depositing User: Dr. Mario Fares
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2008
Journal or Publication Title: Molecular Biology and Evolution
Publisher: Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution
Refereed: Yes

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