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Keywords:

  • peptides;
  • antiinfectives;
  • biomimetics;
  • biotechnology;
  • cell biology;
  • cell culture;
  • drug resistance

Abstract

Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a growing concern in both nosocomial and community acquired infections. Resistance began to emerge as early as the 1950s. Much research has been dedicated to the improvement of existing classes of antibiotics. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are part of the innate immune system, and an important component of immune defense. They are produced by plants, animals, insects, and single celled organisms, and possess anti-microbial properties. As such, they are an ideal target for future antibiotic production. Bacteriocins are a subgroup of AMPs, produced by various bacteria. It has been shown that the production of chimeric peptides consisting of bacteriocins and pheromones can be targeted toward the killing of specific bacterial species. In contrast to the clonal, acquired adaptive immunity, endogenous peptide antibiotics provide a fast and energy-effective mechanism as front line defense. This review will provide an overview of AMPs and their potential for target-specific anti-infective therapy. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc. and the American Pharmacists Association J Pharm Sci 97:1060–1070, 2008