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formerly Central European Journal of Biology

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Antimicrobial peptides: an overview of a promising class of therapeutics

1Research & Development Unit, SpiderBiotech S.r.l., 10010, Colleretto Giacosa, Italy

© 2007 Versita Warsaw. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Citation Information: Open Life Sciences. Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 1–33, ISSN (Online) 2391-5412, DOI: 10.2478/s11535-007-0010-5, March 2007

Publication History

Published Online:


Antibiotic resistance is increasing at a rate that far exceeds the pace of new development of drugs. Antimicrobial peptides, both synthetic and from natural sources, have raised interest as pathogens become resistant against conventional antibiotics. Indeed, one of the major strengths of this class of molecules is their ability to kill multidrug-resistant bacteria. Antimicrobial peptides are relatively small (6 to 100 aminoacids), amphipathic molecules of variable length, sequence and structure with activity against a wide range of microorganisms including bacteria, protozoa, yeast, fungi, viruses and even tumor cells. They usually act through relatively non-specific mechanisms resulting in membranolytic activity but they can also stimulate the innate immune response. Several peptides have already entered pre-clinical and clinical trials for the treatment of catheter site infections, cystic fibrosis, acne, wound healing and patients undergoing stem cell transplantation. We review the advantages of these molecules in clinical applications, their disadvantages including their low in vivo stability, high costs of production and the strategies for their discovery and optimization.

Keywords: Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs); mode of action; therapeutic use; proteases stability; dendrimeric peptides

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Chunmei Wang, Fangzhou Chen, Han Hu, Wentao Li, Yang Wang, Pin Chen, Yingyu Liu, Xugang Ku, Qigai He, Huanchun Chen, and Feiqun Xue
Journal of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, 2014, Volume 24, Number 2, Page 120
Konstantin Andreev, Christopher Bianchi, Jonas S. Laursen, Linda Citterio, Line Hein-Kristensen, Lone Gram, Ivan Kuzmenko, Christian A. Olsen, and David Gidalevitz
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes, 2014, Volume 1838, Number 10, Page 2492
Santi M. Mandal, Anupam Roy, Ananta K. Ghosh, Tapas K. Hazra, Amit Basak, and Octavio L. Franco
Frontiers in Pharmacology, 2014, Volume 5
Martin Malmsten
Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences, 2014, Volume 119, Number 2, Page 199
M. P. Ali, Katsuhiko Yoshimatsu, Tomohiro Suzuki, Tatsuya Kato, and Enoch Y. Park
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 2014, Volume 98, Number 16, Page 6973
Rob C.A. Keller
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2011, Volume 12, Number 12, Page 5577
Lenka Monincová, Václav Veverka, Jiřina Slaninová, Miloš Buděšínský, Vladimír Fučík, Lucie Bednárová, Jakub Straka, and Václav Čeřovský
Journal of Peptide Science, 2014, Volume 20, Number 6, Page 375
Wanda Barzyk, Ewa Rogalska, and Katarzyna Więcław-Czapla
Biochemistry Research International, 2013, Volume 2013, Page 1
Lenka Monincová, Milos Buděšínský, Sabina Čujová, Václav Čeřovský, and Václav Veverka
ChemBioChem, 2014, Volume 15, Number 2, Page 301
Tania Kjellerup Lind, Paulina Zielińska, Hanna Pauliina Wacklin, Zofia Urbańczyk-Lipkowska, and Marité Cárdenas
ACS Nano, 2014, Volume 8, Number 1, Page 396
Sukhada Mohandas, H.D. Sowmya, A.K. Saxena, S. Meenakshi, R. Thilaka Rani, and Riaz Mahmood
Scientia Horticulturae, 2013, Volume 164, Page 392
Ana M. Bouchet, Nancy B. Iannucci, María B. Pastrian, Osvaldo Cascone, Nuno C. Santos, Edgardo A. Disalvo, and Axel Hollmann
Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 2014, Volume 114, Page 363
Frantz L. Jean-Francois, Jian Dai, Lu Yu, Alissa Myrick, Eric Rubin, Piotr G. Fajer, Likai Song, Huan-Xiang Zhou, and Timothy A. Cross
Journal of Molecular Biology, 2014, Volume 426, Number 2, Page 436
Gadzikano Munyuki, Graham E. Jackson, Gerhard A. Venter, Katalin E. Kövér, László Szilágyi, Marina Rautenbach, Barbara M. Spathelf, Bhaswati Bhattacharya, and David van der Spoel
Biochemistry, 2013, Volume 52, Number 44, Page 7798
Y. Gu, N. Dong, A. Shan, Q. Ma, J. Li, and B. Cheng
Acta Biochimica et Biophysica Sinica, 2013, Volume 45, Number 11, Page 904
Chakresh K. Jain, Raman Sethi, Vanashika Sharma, Ashwani Mathur, and Sanjeev K. Sharma
International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics, 2014, Volume 20, Number 1, Page 71
J. Michael Henderson and Ka Yee C. Lee
Current Opinion in Solid State and Materials Science, 2013, Volume 17, Number 4, Page 175
Wataru Aoki, Yohei Tatsukami, Nao Kitahara, Kazuma Matsui, Hironobu Morisaka, Kouichi Kuroda, and Mitsuyoshi Ueda
Journal of Proteomics, 2013, Volume 91, Page 417
Sandeep Lohan, Swaranjit S. Cameotra, and Gopal S. Bisht
Chemical Biology & Drug Design, 2013, Volume 82, Number 5, Page 557
Pei Yang, Fu-Gen Wu, and Zhan Chen
The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2013, Volume 117, Number 33, Page 17039
Indresh Kumar Maurya, Chaitanya Kumar Thota, Jyotsna Sharma, Santosh Genba Tupe, Preeti Chaudhary, Manoj Kumar Singh, Indu Shekhar Thakur, Mukund Deshpande, Rajendra Prasad, and Virander Singh Chauhan
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - General Subjects, 2013, Volume 1830, Number 11, Page 5193
Nina Bionda, Jean-Philippe Pitteloud, and Predrag Cudic
Future Medicinal Chemistry, 2013, Volume 5, Number 11, Page 1311
Di Wu, Yinghu Lu, Huoqing Huang, Lijuan Ma, Yuanyuan Che, Xiangdong Zha, Bin Yao, and Peilong Yang
Protein Expression and Purification, 2013, Volume 91, Number 1, Page 49
Géssika Silva Souza, Viviane Veiga do Nascimento, Laís Pessanha de Carvalho, Edésio José Tenório de Melo, Keysson Vieira Fernandes, Olga Lima Tavares Machado, Claudio Andres Retamal, Valdirene Moreira Gomes, and André de Oliveira Carvalho
Experimental Parasitology, 2013, Volume 135, Number 1, Page 116
Justyna Jarczak, Ewa M. Kościuczuk, Paweł Lisowski, Nina Strzałkowska, Artur Jóźwik, Jarosław Horbańczuk, Józef Krzyżewski, Lech Zwierzchowski, and Emilia Bagnicka
Human Immunology, 2013, Volume 74, Number 9, Page 1069
Nina Bionda, Renee M. Fleeman, Lindsey N. Shaw, and Predrag Cudic
ChemMedChem, 2013, Volume 8, Number 8, Page 1394
E. R. Chaithanya, Rosamma Philip, Naveen Sathyan, P. R. Anil Kumar, Sherine Sonia Cubelio, and I. S. Bright Singh
Probiotics and Antimicrobial Proteins, 2013, Volume 5, Number 3, Page 187
Zahra Mohammadi, Ameneh Sazgarnia, Omid Rajabi, Samaneh Soudmand, Habibollah Esmaily, and Hamid Reza Sadeghi
Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy, 2013, Volume 10, Number 4, Page 382
Jia Zhou, Yong-Ming Lu, Li-Qun Deng, Zhong-Zhen Zhou, and Wen-Hua Chen
Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 2013, Volume 23, Number 11, Page 3145
Sabína Čujová, Jiřina Slaninová, Lenka Monincová, Vladimír Fučík, Lucie Bednárová, Jitka Štokrová, Oldřich Hovorka, Zdeněk Voburka, Jakub Straka, and Václav Čeřovský
Amino Acids, 2013, Volume 45, Number 1, Page 143
Xuan Xiao, Pu Wang, Wei-Zhong Lin, Jian-Hua Jia, and Kuo-Chen Chou
Analytical Biochemistry, 2013, Volume 436, Number 2, Page 168
Ana Badea, François Eudes, Andre Laroche, Rob Graf, Ketan Doshi, Eric Amundsen, Denise Nilsson, and Byron Puchalski
Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 2013, Volume 93, Number 2, Page 199
Lei Xing, Wanghui Xu, Bihong Zhou, Yilu Chen, and Zhanglin Lin
Protein Expression and Purification, 2013, Volume 88, Number 2, Page 248
Pei Yang, Fu-Gen Wu, and Zhan Chen
The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2013, Volume 117, Number 7, Page 3358
G. J. Mitchell, K. Wiesenfeld, D. C. Nelson, and J. S. Weitz
Journal of The Royal Society Interface, 2013, Volume 10, Number 80, Page 20120892
Kenichi Kuroda and Gregory A. Caputo
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology, 2013, Volume 5, Number 1, Page 49
Camaron R. Hole, Hoang Bui, Floyd L. Wormley, and Karen L. Wozniak
Scientific Reports, 2012, Volume 2
H.C. Korting, C. Schöllmann, M. Stauss-Grabo, and M. Schäfer-Korting
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2012, Volume 25, Number 6, Page 323
Wataru Aoki, Nao Kitahara, Natsuko Miura, Hironobu Morisaka, Kouichi Kuroda, and Mitsuyoshi Ueda
Chemical Biology & Drug Design, 2012, Volume 80, Number 5, Page 725
Veronika Tørfoss, Johan Isaksson, Dominik Ausbacher, Bjørn-Olav Brandsdal, Gøril E. Flaten, Trude Anderssen, Cristiane de A. Cavalcanti-Jacobsen, Martina Havelkova, Leonard T. Nguyen, Hans J. Vogel, and Morten B. Strøm
Journal of Peptide Science, 2012, Volume 18, Number 10, Page 609
Letícia Stephan Tavares, João Vitor Rettore, Renata Mendes Freitas, William Farias Porto, Ana Paula do Nascimento Duque, Júnya de Lacorte Singulani, Osmar Nascimento Silva, Michelle de Lima Detoni, Eveline Gomes Vasconcelos, Simoni Campos Dias, Octávio Luiz Franco, and Marcelo de Oliveira Santos
Peptides, 2012, Volume 37, Number 2, Page 294
Dominik Ausbacher, Gunbjørg Svineng, Terkel Hansen, and Morten B. Strøm
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes, 2012, Volume 1818, Number 11, Page 2917
Leonardo Baldassarre, Francesco Pinnen, Catia Cornacchia, Erika Fornasari, Luigina Cellini, Marina Baffoni, and Ivana Cacciatore
Journal of Peptide Science, 2012, Volume 18, Number 9, Page 567
Sarah R. Dennison, Timothy J. Snape, and David A. Phoenix
European Biophysics Journal, 2012, Volume 41, Number 8, Page 687
Claudia U. Hjørringgaard, Brian S. Vad, Vladimir V. Matchkov, Søren B. Nielsen, Thomas Vosegaard, Niels Chr. Nielsen, Daniel E. Otzen, and Troels Skrydstrup
The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 2012, Volume 116, Number 26, Page 7652
Wataru Aoki, Kouichi Kuroda, and Mitsuyoshi Ueda
Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering, 2012, Volume 114, Number 4, Page 365
Jian Feng Li, Jie Zhang, Xing Zhou Xu, Yang Yang Han, Xian Wei Cui, Yu Qing Chen, and Shuang Quan Zhang
Amino Acids, 2012, Volume 42, Number 6, Page 2393
Mukesh Pasupuleti, Artur Schmidtchen, and Martin Malmsten
Critical Reviews in Biotechnology, 2012, Volume 32, Number 2, Page 143
Nina Bionda, Maciej Stawikowski, Roma Stawikowska, Maré Cudic, Fabian López-Vallejo, Daniela Treitl, José Medina-Franco, and Predrag Cudic
ChemMedChem, 2012, Volume 7, Number 5, Page 871
Viness Pillay, Angus R. Hibbins, Yahya E. Choonara, Lisa C. du Toit, Pradeep Kumar, and Valence M. K. Ndesendo
International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics, 2012, Volume 18, Number 3, Page 259
Thomas Etzerodt, Jonas R. Henriksen, Palle Rasmussen, Mads H. Clausen, and Thomas L. Andresen
Biophysical Journal, 2011, Volume 100, Number 2, Page 399
Hubert Chapuis, Jiřina Slaninová, Lucie Bednárová, Lenka Monincová, Miloš Buděšínský, and Václav Čeřovský
Amino Acids, 2012, Volume 43, Number 5, Page 2047
Garry Laverty, Sean P. Gorman, and Brendan F. Gilmore
Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, 2012, Volume 100A, Number 7, Page 1803
Anna Kurek, Paulina Nadkowska, Sylwia Pliszka, and Krystyna I. Wolska
Phytomedicine, 2012, Volume 19, Number 6, Page 515
Fang Wang, Luoheng Qin, Christopher J. Pace, Patrick Wong, Ryan Malonis, and Jianmin Gao
ChemBioChem, 2012, Volume 13, Number 1, Page 51
V. Seshadri Sundararajan, M. N. Gabere, A. Pretorius, S. Adam, A. Christoffels, M. Lehvaslaiho, J. A. C. Archer, and V. B. Bajic
Nucleic Acids Research, 2012, Volume 40, Number D1, Page D1108
Sergei A. Svarovsky and Maria J. Gonzalez-Moa
ACS Combinatorial Science, 2011, Volume 13, Number 6, Page 634
Sarah R. Dennison, Leslie H.G. Morton, Frederick Harris, and David A. Phoenix
Chemistry and Physics of Lipids, 2008, Volume 151, Number 2, Page 92
Sung-Hee Lee, Seo-Jin Kim, Yoo-Sup Lee, Min-Dong Song, Ick-Hee Kim, and Hyung-Sik Won
Regulatory Peptides, 2011, Volume 166, Number 1-3, Page 36
Lenka Monincová, Jiřina Slaninová, Vladimír Fučík, Oldřich Hovorka, Zdeněk Voburka, Lucie Bednárová, Petr Maloň, Jitka Štokrová, and Václav Čeřovský
Amino Acids, 2012, Volume 43, Number 2, Page 751
David I. Fernandez, Marc-Antoine Sani, John D. Gehman, Kyung-Soo Hahm, and Frances Separovic
European Biophysics Journal, 2011, Volume 40, Number 4, Page 471
K. Ramanathan and Rao Sethumadhavan
Interdisciplinary Sciences: Computational Life Sciences, 2011, Volume 3, Number 3, Page 182
Frederick Harris, Sarah R. Dennison, Jaipaul Singh, and David A. Phoenix
Medicinal Research Reviews, 2013, Volume 33, Number 1, Page 190
Mauricio Arias, Sergio Orduz, and Victor V. Lemeshko
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes, 2009, Volume 1788, Number 2, Page 532
Guofeng Ye, Anju Gupta, Robert DeLuca, Keykavous Parang, and Geoffrey D. Bothun
Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 2010, Volume 76, Number 1, Page 76
Michela Bruschi, Giovanna Pirri, Andrea Giuliani, Silvia Fabiole Nicoletto, Izabela Baster, Mariano Andrea Scorciapino, Mariano Casu, and Andrea C. Rinaldi
Peptides, 2010, Volume 31, Number 8, Page 1459
Emilie Duval, Céline Zatylny, Mathieu Laurencin, Michèle Baudy-Floc’h, and Joël Henry
Peptides, 2009, Volume 30, Number 9, Page 1608
Daniela Comegna, Monica Benincasa, Renato Gennaro, Irene Izzo, and Francesco De Riccardis
Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 2010, Volume 18, Number 5, Page 2010
Carole Fortin, Debbie Ehrmann Feldman, Farida Cheriet, and Hubert Labelle
Disability and Rehabilitation, 2011, Volume 33, Number 5, Page 367
Sigmund V. Sperstad, Tor Haug, Hans-Matti Blencke, Olaf B. Styrvold, Chun Li, and Klara Stensvåg
Biotechnology Advances, 2011, Volume 29, Number 5, Page 519
Sonia S. Yoon and Jun Sun
Gastroenterology Research and Practice, 2011, Volume 2011, Page 1
John A Robinson
Current Opinion in Chemical Biology, 2011, Volume 15, Number 3, Page 379
Andrea Giuliani and Andrea C. Rinaldi
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 2011, Volume 68, Number 13, Page 2255
S. A. Okorochenkov, G. A. Zheltukhina, and V. E. Nebol’sin
Biochemistry (Moscow) Supplement Series B: Biomedical Chemistry, 2011, Volume 5, Number 2, Page 95
Ahmad Arouri, Margitta Dathe, and Alfred Blume
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes, 2009, Volume 1788, Number 3, Page 650
David W. Hoskin and Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes, 2008, Volume 1778, Number 2, Page 357
Hua Pan, Neelesh R. Soman, Paul H. Schlesinger, Gregory M. Lanza, and Samuel A. Wickline
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology, 2011, Volume 3, Number 3, Page 318
Hyung-Sik Won, Su-Jin Kang, Wahn-Soo Choi, and Bong-Jin Lee
Molecules and Cells, 2011, Volume 31, Number 1, Page 49
K. Ramanathan, V. Shanthi, R. Rajasekaran, C. Sudandiradoss, C. George Priya Doss, and Rao Sethumadhavan
International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics, 2011, Volume 17, Number 1, Page 31
Chiara Calugi, Andrea Trabocchi, and Antonio Guarna
Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Patents, 2011, Volume 21, Number 3, Page 381
Jiřina Slaninová, Helena Putnová, Lenka Borovičková, Pavel Šácha, Václav Čeřovský, Lenka Monincová, and Vladimír Fučík
Open Life Sciences, 2011, Volume 6, Number 2
Troels Godballe, Line L. Nilsson, Pernille D. Petersen, and Håvard Jenssen
Chemical Biology & Drug Design, 2011, Volume 77, Number 2, Page 107
Jacek Lipkowski
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 2010, Volume 12, Number 42, Page 13874
Yanhua Su, Kai Zhang, and Hermann J. Schluesener
Archivum Immunologiae et Therapiae Experimentalis, 2010, Volume 58, Number 5, Page 365
S. P. Liu, L. Zhou, R. Lakshminarayanan, and R. W. Beuerman
International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics, 2010, Volume 16, Number 3, Page 199
Krystyna Wolska, Anna Grudniak, Beata Fiecek, Anna Kraczkiewicz-Dowjat, and Anna Kurek
Open Life Sciences, 2010, Volume 5, Number 5
Mohamed Hajji, Kemel Jellouli, Noomen Hmidet, Rafik Balti, Alya Sellami-Kamoun, and Moncef Nasri
Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology, 2010, Volume 37, Number 8, Page 805
Lenka Monincová, Miloš Buděšínský, Jiřina Slaninová, Oldřich Hovorka, Josef Cvačka, Zdeněk Voburka, Vladimír Fučík, Lenka Borovičková, Lucie Bednárová, Jakub Straka, and Václav Čeřovský
Amino Acids, 2010, Volume 39, Number 3, Page 763
S. Thomas, S. Karnik, R. S. Barai, V. K. Jayaraman, and S. Idicula-Thomas
Nucleic Acids Research, 2010, Volume 38, Number Database, Page D774
Wenli Huang, Li Lu, Ximing Shao, Chengkang Tang, and Xiaojun Zhao
Biotechnology Letters, 2010, Volume 32, Number 4, Page 463
Yibing Huang, Jinfeng Huang, and Yuxin Chen
Protein & Cell, 2010, Volume 1, Number 2, Page 143
Nezha Badi, Loïc Auvray, and Philippe Guégan
Advanced Materials, 2009, Volume 21, Number 40, Page 4054
Analette I. Lopez, Rose Y. Reins, Alison M. McDermott, Barbara W. Trautner, and Chengzhi Cai
Molecular BioSystems, 2009, Volume 5, Number 10, Page 1148
Neelesh R. Soman, Steven L. Baldwin, Grace Hu, Jon N. Marsh, Gregory M. Lanza, John E. Heuser, Jeffrey M. Arbeit, Samuel A. Wickline, and Paul H. Schlesinger
Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2009, Volume 119, Number 9, Page 2830
Adriaan Willem Tuin, Dimitrios Konstantinos Palachanis, Annelies Buizert, Gijsbert Marnix Grotenbreg, Emile Spalburg, Albert J. de Neeling, Roos H. Mars-Groenendijk, Daan Noort, Gijsbert A. van der Marel, Herman S. Overkleeft, and Mark Overhand
European Journal of Organic Chemistry, 2009, Volume 2009, Number 25, Page 4231
Giovanna Pirri, Andrea Giuliani, Silvia Nicoletto, Lorena Pizzuto, and Andrea Rinaldi
Open Life Sciences, 2009, Volume 4, Number 3
Ryan W. Davis, Dulce C. Arango, Howland D. T. Jones, Mark H. Van Benthem, David M. Haaland, Susan M. Brozik, and Michael B. Sinclair
Journal of Peptide Science, 2009, Volume 15, Number 8, Page 511
P. C. F. Oyston, M. A. Fox, S. J. Richards, and G. C. Clark
Journal of Medical Microbiology, 2009, Volume 58, Number 8, Page 977
Gabriela Seydlová and Jaroslava Svobodová
Open Medicine, 2008, Volume 3, Number 2
Arnaud Marquette, A. James Mason, and Burkhard Bechinger
Journal of Peptide Science, 2008, Volume 14, Number 4, Page 488
Kristy M. DiVittorio, W. Matthew Leevy, Edward J. O'Neil, James R. Johnson, Sergei Vakulenko, Joshua D. Morris, Kristine D. Rosek, Nathan Serazin, Sarah Hilkert, Scott Hurley, Manuel Marquez, and Bradley D. Smith
ChemBioChem, 2008, Volume 9, Number 2, Page 286

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