Small cationic peptides that are an important component, in most species, of early innate and induced defenses against invading microbes. In animals they are found on mucosal surfaces, within phagocytic granules, and on the surface of the body. They are also found in insects and plants. Among others, this group includes the DEFENSINS, protegrins, tachyplesins, and thionins. They displace DIVALENT CATIONS from phosphate groups of MEMBRANE LIPIDS leading to disruption of the membrane.
The relating of causes to the effects they produce. Causes are termed necessary when they must always precede an effect and sufficient when they initiate or produce an effect. Any of several factors may be associated with the potential disease causation or outcome, including predisposing factors, enabling factors, precipitating factors, reinforcing factors, and risk factors.