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Role of Antimicrobial Peptides in Plant Defense Mechanisms

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are short peptide sequences of about 50 amino acid residue which are considered as first line of defense in plants. These peptides contain 4-12 cysteine residues forming disulphide bonds which can make them exceptionally stable to chemical, thermal and enzymatic degradation. Antimicrobial peptides exhibit a broad-spectrum activity against pathogenic bacteria, fungi and also viruses. AMPs have a wide range of inhibitory affects against fungi, bacteria, viruses and nematodes. Despite their vast diversity, most AMPs work directly against microbes through a mechanism involving membrane disruption and pore formation, allowing efflux of essential ions and nutrients. Various antimicrobial peptides which contribute major role in plant defense mechanisms are Thionin, Defensin, Lipid Transfer Protein, Hevein, Knotting type peptides, Cyclopeptides, Snakins, Puroindolins etc. Antimicrobial peptides are highly efficient and safe hence beneficial for plant protection in agriculture.