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Peptide design for antimicrobial and immunomodulatory applications

Authors

  • Evan F. Haney,

    1. Centre for Microbial Diseases and Immunity Research, University of British Columbia, 2259 Lower Mall Research Station, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4
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  • Robert E. W. Hancock

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Microbial Diseases and Immunity Research, University of British Columbia, 2259 Lower Mall Research Station, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4
    • Correspondence to: Robert E. W. Hancock, Centre for Microbial Diseases and Immunity Research, University of British Columbia, 2259 Lower Mall Research Station, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4; e-mail: bob@hancocklab.com

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  • This article was originally published online as an accepted preprint. The “Published Online” date corresponds to the preprint version. You can request a copy of the preprint by emailing the Biopolymers editorial office at biopolymers@wiley.com

ABSTRACT

The increasing threat of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria and the dwindling supply of antibiotics available to combat these infections poses a significant threat to human health throughout the world. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have long been touted as the next generation of antibiotics capable of filling the anti-infective void. Unfortunately, peptide-based antibiotics have yet to realize their potential as novel pharmaceuticals, in spite of the immense number of known AMP sequences and our improved understanding of their antibacterial mechanism of action. Recently, the immunomodulatory properties of certain AMPs have become appreciated. The ability of small synthetic peptides to protect against infection in vivo has demonstrated that modulation of the innate immune response is an effective strategy to further develop peptides as novel anti-infectives. This review focuses on the screening methods that have been used to assess novel peptide sequences for their antibacterial and immunomodulatory properties. It will also examine how we have progressed in our ability to identify and optimize peptides with desired biological characteristics and enhanced therapeutic potential. In addition, the current challenges to the development of peptides as anti-infectives are examined and the strategies being used to overcome these issues are discussed. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers (Pept Sci) 100: 572–583, 2013.

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