From seeds of nigella sativa L. (Ranunculaceae), an endemic plant of Uzbekistan, two novel defensins named Ns-D1 and Ns-D2, were isolated and sequenced. The peptides differ by a single amino acid residue and show high sequence similarity to Raphanus sativus L. defensins Rs-AFP1 and Rs-AFP2. The Ns-D1 and Ns-D2 defensins display strong although divergent antifungal activity towards a number of phytopathogenic fungi. High antifungal activity of N. sativa defensins makes them promising candidates for engineering pathogen-resistant plants.
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