Antibacterial activity of defensin PaDef from avocado fruit (Persea americana var. drymifolia) expressed in endothelial cells against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus

Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:986273. doi: 10.1155/2013/986273. Epub 2013 Nov 12.


Antimicrobial therapy is a useful tool to control infectious diseases in general and rising antibiotic resistant microorganisms in particular. Alternative strategies are desirable, and antimicrobial peptides (AMP) represent attractive control agents. Mexican avocado (Persea americana var. drymifolia) is used in traditional medicine; however, the AMP production has not been reported in this plant. We obtained a cDNA library from avocado fruit and clone PaDef was identified, which has a cDNA (249 bp) encoding a protein (78 aa) homologous with plant defensins (>80%). We expressed the defensin PaDef cDNA (pBME3) in the bovine endothelial cell line BVE-E6E7. Polyclonal and clonal populations were obtained and their activity was evaluated against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans. E. coli viability was inhibited with 100 μg/mL of total protein from clones (>55%). Also, S. aureus viability was inhibited from 50 μg/mL total protein (27-38%) but was more evident at 100 μg/mL (52-65%). This inhibition was higher than the effect showed by polyclonal population (~23%). Finally, we did not detect activity against C. albicans. These results are the first report that shows antimicrobial activity of a defensin produced by avocado and suggest that this AMP could be used in the control of pathogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / chemistry
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / genetics
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Candida albicans / drug effects
  • Cattle
  • Cell Line
  • DNA, Plant / genetics
  • Defensins / chemistry
  • Defensins / genetics
  • Defensins / pharmacology*
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects*
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Persea / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Medicinal / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • DNA, Plant
  • Defensins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins