Plant Defensins from a Petunia

Plant Defensins from a Petunia

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Credit: KENNETH EWARD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Defensins are present in the most innocuous of places: the defensins pictured come from the flower of the petunia. Plants assume a more active role in their own defense from pathogens and herbivores than is commonly realized. One means they have at their disposal is a class of molecules known as defensins. Defensins are small proteins common to both plants and animals which protect against microbial attack by quickly punching holes in the cell membranes of pathogenic organisms. They have even been found to deter plant-eating insects. The image is a digital computer model based on real molecules. Magnification: 40 million times at 5''x7'' print size.

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Keywords: cationic proteins, computer model, defensin, defensins, digital model, molecule models, pathogen, petunia, petunia defensin, plant

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