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Histatins are antimicrobial proteins found in saliva.[1]


Histatins are antimicrobial and antifungal proteins, and have been found to play a role in wound-closure.[2][3] A significant source of histatins is found in the serous fluid secreted by Ebner's glands, salivary glands at the back of the tongue, and produced by Acinus cells.[4] Here they offer some early defense against incoming microbes.[5]

The three major histatins are 1, 3, and 5. Histatin 2 is a degradation product of histatin 1, and all other histatins are degradation products of histatin 3. Therefore there are only two genes, HTN1 and HTN3.

Histatin's antifungal properties has been seen with fungus such as Candida glabrata, Candida krusei, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and Cryptococcus neoformans.[6]

Histatins also precipitate tannins from solution - thus preventing alimentary adsorption.[7]


  1. ^ Histatins at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
  2. ^ http://eprints.nuim.ie/354/
  3. ^ abstract
  4. ^ Oppenheim, F. G.; Xu, T.; McMillian, F. M.; Levitz, S. M.; Diamond, R. D.; Offner, G. D.; Troxler, R. F. (1988-06-05). "Histatins, a novel family of histidine-rich proteins in human parotid secretion. Isolation, characterization, primary structure, and fungistatic effects on Candida albicans". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 263 (16): 7472–7477. ISSN 0021-9258. PMID 3286634.
  5. ^ Piludu M, Lantini MS et al. "Salivary histatins in human deep posterior lingual glands (of Ebner)". Arch Biol 2006 Nov; 51(11) PMID 16859632
  6. ^ Tsai, H.; Bobek, L. A. (1997-10-20). "Human salivary histatin-5 exerts potent fungicidal activity against Cryptococcus neoformans". Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta. 1336 (3): 367–369. ISSN 0006-3002. PMID 9367163.
  7. ^ Salivary proteins as a defense against dietary tannins. Shimada T. Journal of Chemical Ecology 2006 Jun;32(6):1149-63.