Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are molecules with antibacterial properties. They possess a unique sequence and structure that allows them to selectively bind to negatively charged bacterial cell membranes. This antimicrobial property allows AMPs to disrupt the integrity of bacterial cell membranes.
These molecules are essential for host defenses and have great potential as weapons against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In addition to their broad spectrum of activity, peptides also have the ability to modulate complex biological responses. The field of antimicrobial peptides is rapidly evolving and multidisciplinary. Here, leading investigators discuss recent developments in the field, as well as current research methodologies and laboratory protocols for isolation and characterization.
Antimicrobial peptides are naturally produced by commensal bacteria living on the epithelia of vertebrates. In fact, Staphylococcus epidermidis produces AMPs that have bactericidal activity against various skin pathogens. AMPs of this type are also found in the skin of many animals.