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Anionic Antimicrobial Peptides from Eukaryotic Organisms and their Mechanisms of Action

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Anionic antimicrobial peptides (AAMPs) are important components of the innate immune system and here, we review recent research into these peptides. As examples, we refer to two major families of AAMPs: those that adopt cysteine stabilized β-sheet structure, such as plant cyclotides, and those that are encrypted in larger proteins, such as bovine kappacins. This review shows that AAMPs use a diverse range of antimicrobial mechanisms, which in some cases, such as ovine SAAPs, involves translocation across the membrane to utilize intracellular sites of antimicrobial action. In other cases, the membrane itself is the major site of action for AAMPs as in the case of cyclotides, which permeabilize membranes via pore formation, and human β-defensins, which induce the disintegration of membranes via carpet-type mechanisms prior to action against intracellular targets. These AAMPs show the potential for development as antiviral agents, insecticides, topical biocides, fertility control agents, therapeutically useful antibiotics, decontaminants food preservatives and agents against dental and periodontal diseases.

Keywords: Anionic antimicrobial peptides; Cationic antimicrobial peptides; Daptomycin; Human blue-sensitive opsin; Lactalbumin; Staphylococcus aureus; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Streptomyces roseosporous; cyclotides; encrypted antimicrobials; food proteins; kappacins; lactoglobulin; surfactant-associated antimicrobial peptides; β-defensins

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-05-01

More about this publication?
  • Current Chemical Biology aims to publish full-length and mini reviews on exciting new developments at the chemistry-biology interface, covering topics relating to Chemical Synthesis, Science at Chemistry-Biology Interface and Chemical Mechanisms of Biological Systems.

    Current Chemical Biology covers the following areas: Chemical Synthesis (Syntheses of biologically important macromolecules including proteins, polypeptides, oligonucleotides, oligosaccharides etc.; Asymmetric synthesis; Combinatorial synthesis; Diversity-oriented synthesis; Template-directed synthesis; Biomimetic synthesis; Solid phase biomolecular synthesis; Synthesis of small biomolecules: amino acids, peptides, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleosides; and Natural product synthesis).

    Science at Chemistry-Biology Interface (Chemical informatics; Macromolecular catalysts and receptors; Enzymatic synthesis; Biosynthetic engineering; Combinatorial biosynthesis; Plant cell based chemistry; Bacterial and viral cell based chemistry; Chemistry of cellular processes in plants/animals; Receptor chemistry; Cell signaling chemistry; Drug design through understanding of disease processes; Synthetic biology; New high throughput screening techniques; Small molecular array fabrication; Chemical genomics; Chemical and biological approaches to carbohydrates proteins and nucleic acids design; Chemical and biological regulation of biosynthetic pathways; and Unnatural biomolecular analogs).
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