Hundreds of antimicrobial peptides has been described in the last two decades. They serve as natural first-line of defense against invasive microbial infection acting alone or synergistically with other innate-immunity defense molecules to combat infection and to control resident microbial population. Isolated from a broad range of both simple and complex organisms, they are generally, short (less than 50 amino acids residues), amphipatic and positively charged. Having as main target the bacterial membranes, although intracellular targets of antimicrobial peptides have been also described, these peptides possess a remarkably low toxicity against normal mammalian cells. Today, due the increased bacterial resistance against antibiotics, the extensive use of antibiotics in the infection treatments, together with the expanding number of immuno-compromised patients at risk of invasive infections this new natural agents that protects against infections may represents a solution for the need of safe and effective antimicrobial agents. However, technical difficulties and high production costs have made the pharmaceutical industry reluctant to invest much effort in the development of antibiotic peptide therapeutics so far. Here we describe the mechanism of action of these intriguing molecules as well their perspectives as new antimicrobial agents. PDFFulltextXMLReferencesCitation
How to cite this article
Antonio Di Giulio and Hongxia Zhao, 2006. Antimicrobial Peptides: Basic Mechanisms of Action and Emerging Pharmacological Interest. Asian Journal of Biochemistry, 1: 28-40.