Cells of the hybrid striped bass fight fungal infection with peptides that punch hydrophilic holes in the cell membranes of the infectious microorganism.

Advanced lifeforms have faced the onslaught of parasitic microbial life for billions of years and have evolved numerous tools to prevent attack. Many fish, in particular, have diverse and highly developed strategies to fight infection. Some of these, including piscidin-2 found in hybrid striped bass, are effective against pathogenic fungi. They are thought to act by creating channels in the cell membrane allowing cell contents escape.

Piscidin-2 opening channels in cell membrane of a fungal species. Artist: Emily Harrington. Copyright: All rights reserved. See gallery for details.

Image: Emily Harrington /

Created by Emily Harrington of eh illustration, http://www.ehillustration.com. This work shall be and remain at all times the shared property of Emily Harrington and the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute, and Emily Harrington grants to the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute a non‑terminating, nonexclusive, non‑limiting right to use the materials for educational purposes. Any use by outside parties requires permission from Emily Harrington and can be requested from [email protected] or through the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute.

Last Updated August 18, 2016