Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 99, Issue 5, pp 2023–2040 | Cite as

Antimicrobial peptides: an alternative for innovative medicines?

  • João Pinto da Costa
  • Marta Cova
  • Rita Ferreira
  • Rui Vitorino
Mini-Review

Abstract

Antimicrobial peptides are small molecules with activity against bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses, bacteria, and even tumor cells that make these molecules attractive as therapeutic agents. Due to the alarming increase of antimicrobial resistance, interest in alternative antimicrobial agents has led to the exploitation of antimicrobial peptides, both synthetic and from natural sources. Thus, many peptide-based drugs are currently commercially available for the treatment of numerous ailments, such as hepatitis C, myeloma, skin infections, and diabetes. Initial barriers are being increasingly overcome with the development of cost-effective, more stable peptides. Herein, we review the available strategies for their synthesis, bioinformatics tools for the rational design of antimicrobial peptides with enhanced therapeutic indices, hurdles and shortcomings limiting the large-scale production of AMPs, as well as the challenges that the pharmaceutical industry faces on their use as therapeutic agents.

Keywords

Salivary peptide Antitumoral Synthesis Bioinformatics 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT, Portugal), European Union, QREN, FEDER, and COMPETE for funding the QOPNA research unit (project PEst-C/QUI/UI0062/2013), research project (PTDC/EXPL/BBB-BEP/0317/2012; QREN (FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-027554), and to CENTRO-07-ST24-FEDER-002034 (co-financiated by QREN, Mais Centro-Programa Operacional Regional do Centro e União Europeia/ Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • João Pinto da Costa
    • 1
  • Marta Cova
    • 1
  • Rita Ferreira
    • 1
  • Rui Vitorino
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Mass Spectrometry Centre, QOPNA, Department of ChemistryUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.Institute for Research in Biomedicine – iBiMED, Health Sciences ProgramUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal

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