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Molecular mechanisms of antitumor effect of natural antimicrobial peptides

Abstract

In spite of all the advances in cancer treatment made in recent years, one of the main problems in this field that remains extremely urgent is the development of drug resistance to the chemotherapeutic agents currently in use due to clonal microevolution of tumor tissue. Numerous publications devoted to the study of cationic antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) as molecular factors of the innate immune system suggest that these compounds possess significant therapeutic potential and can be considered as candidates for the role of not only antimicrobial, but also next-generation anticancer drugs. AMPs are characterized by a variety of mechanisms of cytotoxic action that can lead to either necrosis or apoptosis of the target cells. These effects are based on the selective interaction with the membranes of tumor cells, which have a number of similarities, in structural and physiological aspects, with the microbial membranes. AMPs were found to be able to inhibit tumor growth by interrupting the formation of its vascular network. The antitumor effect of AMPs may also be enhanced by the modulation of host immune system, as previously observed for their antimicrobial effects. The described properties of AMPs give hope for the development of new drugs that will be able to overcome the resistance of tumor cells.

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Abbreviations

AMP:

antimicrobial peptides

MIC:

minimal inhibitory concentration

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Original Russian Text © S.V. Balandin, A.A. Emelianova, M.B. Kalashnikova, V.N. Kokryakov, O.V. Shamova, T.V. Ovchinnikova, 2016, published in Bioorganicheskaya Khimiya, 2016, Vol. 42, No. 6, pp. 633–648.

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Balandin, S.V., Emelianova, A.A., Kalashnikova, M.B. et al. Molecular mechanisms of antitumor effect of natural antimicrobial peptides. Russ J Bioorg Chem 42, 575–589 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1134/S1068162016060029

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Keywords

  • antimicrobial peptides
  • host defense peptides
  • innate immunity
  • peptide antibiotics
  • anticancer drugs
  • apoptosis
  • necrosis