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Defensins

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Defensins

(Science: biochemistry) family of small (30-35 residue) cysteine rich cationic proteins found in vertebrate phagocytes (notably the azurophil granules of neutrophils) and active against bacteria, fungi and enveloped viruses. Research hints that some members of this family display selectively cytotoxic effects towards host cancer cells.

May constitute up to 5% of the total protein. Insect defensins have some sequence homology with the vertebrate forms.